Skin types, genetics and ethnic backgrounds play a big part in how our skin naturally heals. As everyone is different, some people do not scar as much as others, even when they have been diligent in their aftercare. Aftercare for a good brand is the opposite of what is done for a fresh piercing, as you do want the branding to keloid. A keloid is formed when the body produces more skin cells than it needs, causing a dense, fibrous, raised scar tissue. A brand also takes much longer time to heal. It may look scary for a while, appearing differently at different phases, such as: the scabby phase - looks like a bad cut or burn (for some reason), and the bright red phase – looks bright red or pink and continues to get pinker, most often becoming slightly lighter than your normal skin pigment.
New brands normally heal in 4-10 months but the initial healing is often done within a month or two depending on the site, aftercare, skin type, etc. There are two main thoughts regarding the aftercare of branding - leave it alone and it will heal, or irritate it more to increase the amount of scar tissue. Both can be right. If the initial strikes or cuts are well done, the body generally heals a wound fairly consistent in shape. Persons who are not normally prone to keloiding, may also find that the amount of raised scarring is limited. Irritating the wound (picking the scabs, rubbing with a toothbrush or using chemical and exfoliant formulas) will greatly increase the amount of scarring, however it can also lead to inconsistent and uneven scarring.
The outcome from branding will vary from person to person, as it is an organic modification, rather than an exact one like tattoos or piercing. Again, results will differ with location, skin type, body fat, care, etc. For many, the reason for branding focus is based more on the actual experience, rather than on the end results.
With the above in mind:
- Branding increases blood flow to the area, causing it to redden and swell. Aloe Vera gel is applied to sooth and reduce the swelling, and the area is then covered by a nonstick padding and/or Saran wrap. This helps to seal the fresh brand from any cross contamination or airborne bacteria.
- Remove Saran wrap after a minimum of 2 hours, then wash (not scrub) your branding.
- First wash your hands, then the brand, with fairly hot, soapy water (preferably glycerin or antibacterial soap with no fragrance), rinse and pat dry with a fuzz free towel or air-dry.
- Avoid long baths or showers for the first few weeks as over saturation of the area can cause lines to get excessively wider and lose crispness.
- If the brand continues to weep or have a wet look, continue to cover it with a nonstick padding to prevent infection while it is open. A solid scab usually forms between 4-8 days, making the brand less susceptible to irritation/infection. During the healing process, it is normal for your body to secrete lymph when scabs crack. Cover as necessary.
- DO NOT USE – Neosporin, Polysporin, Vaseline, Bactracin, Bactroban, as these products may impair scar formation.
- Healing skin is often itchy. Gently pat or slap the brand to help dissipate the itch.
- Bacteria is the root of all evil! AVOID: Dirty hands, clothing, bedding and people, oceans, lakes, rivers, pools, hot tubs, etc. Make sure you keep your brand clean and away from dirt and germs.
Some people have had success in making the healing brand more prominent, depressed or raised, and keloided by using the methods below:
- Carefully pick off the scabs every couple weeks. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide to a clean wash cloth and scrub at the open wound until clean and raw. Rinse with clean water and cover immediately with clean gauze. Remove after scabs are reformed.
- Scrubbing the area gently with a loofah sponge in the shower
- Blotting the inside raw edges of the healing trenches with Rubbing Alcohol, Iodine, Bactine or Hydrogen Peroxide
If you have any further questions feel free to call (604) 584-639, or email PiercingGuy@WestcoastPiercing.com