There are two schools of thought regarding the aftercare of brandings—LITA or "leave it alone," or irritation. Leaving the branding alone will allow the body to heal consistently; however, if a person is not genetically disposed to keloiding, the raised area of the scar will be minimal. Irritating a healing branding wound increases the height of the resulting scar; however, it also produces unpredictable healing and scarring. Picking or rubbing the healing area with steel wool or a toothbrush, or using exfoliating agents can successfully irritate the healing branding.
The healing process for brandings usually lasts at least a year. Separate from the pain of the branding procedure, during the healing process the branded area will be extremely sensitive and sore. If the branding is on a body part that flexes, it may cause the wound to tear open during movement. Healing brandings undergo a few phases, which vary in length and extremes from person to person. A branding will first scab over, which can last from a few weeks to just over a month. At this phase, the appearance of the branding is a bright red raised scar, which slowly becomes lighter than the normal skin tone. This phase lasts about twelve months, and the scar tissue may rise slightly more during this time.
The appearance of a healed strike branding ideally is a design of thick raised lines, lighter than the skin's natural tone. The height of the branding varies significantly on a large number of variables, such as the method of branding, body part and area branded, and skin texture. Strike brandings produce thicker, raised scars, whereas cautery brandings produce thinner lines. Brandings typically heal three or four times the width of the branding tool used to make it.
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