Cell popping, snake bite branding, Devils Fire are all one of a similar type of brand. This type of branding has been around for centuries used not only in some Hindu sects but in the wider parts of Africa.
I first became intrigued with this sort of branding whilst on my travels through India and later on from my friend Kamarah from Sierra Leone who had some perfectly formed scars on the inside of each elbow. He explained how the brand was done and called it Kali which translates to mean ‘snake’. He explained the brands are often done on children to promote strength and make them good daawa. He wasn’t able to translate that word to me at the time but I have since found out it means warrior. Inspired by his words and the brands that he carries, I have gone on to develop the tools specifically to produce this type of brand.
This sort of branding is a hot fire strike brand and can be done with something as small as a needle as in cell popping but more normally a 1.5mm blunt tool in Snake Bite.
Whilst cell popping may only last up to 6 months, a snake bite could last a lifetime. There are clearly benefits with both.
I have played with traditional hot strike branding for years but always been frustrated with not being able to accurately predict the final outcome. To some extent a brand is more about the experience than the final result but for those who are more concerned about how the final brand will look I would strongly suggest you go for a Snake Bite brand rather than what we know as the traditional hot strike.
The scarring from the traditional hot strike brand will grow 3 times in width and will often lose its shape. Different skin types heal differently producing variable scaring. The darker the skin the more likely you will get that ever wanted keloid scaring but for your standard pale skinned european, you can’t expect keloid scarring.
More recently people have been attempting branding with soldering irons and other electrical devices and although the results from these can look good, they tend not to be long lasting and this technique is reported to be painful.
The benefits of snake bite branding are….. far more predictable scarring, more intricate patterns and little pain.
To produce a permanent brand you need to inflict a 3rd degree burn. The epidermis is destroyed along with nerves directly affected. Hair shafts and keratin are lost. Anything less than a 3rd degree burn is unlikely to permanently scar.
The area that is directly taking the brand will not be painful because the skin and nerves are instantly vaporized by the red hot steel but the area immediately around it only receives 1st degree burns and it is that area which may cause some discomfort during the heeling process.
I have branded many people with the Snake Bite technique and they are always surprised that it is less uncomfortable than having a tattoo.
We have developed ‘Snake Bite’ branding which is a true brand using a small red hot poker. It produces a reliable and consistent result.
Stephen (designer and developer of the snakebite branding kit)