This is a means of permanently marking or scarring the skin by burning it with hot metal. This was used historically as a means of identifying people’s slaves and, of course, cattle. Although some people find the slavery connection offensive many African Americans are reclaiming this method of body modification by choosing brands that identify them as members of gang or brotherhood. They have also risen in prominance in college fraternities. In the UK branding is still a legal grey area and there are no legitimate ways to get a brand other than by doing it yourself. It is available on the UK underground scene and may become more widely available in the future if the authorities are prepared to consider it as a legitimate form of artistic expression.

A recent brand on a friend of ours can be seen here along with its progress through the healing stages. We will try to get a new picture every week. This brand was done using a cautery pen. Others are performed by the ‘Strike’ method (the way cattle used to be done with a red hot piece of metal). All brands spead during healing and this should be borne in mind if you are considering getting one done. The depth of the burn also affects the spread and the final scar.