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Cold Branding via airdust spray can

Disclaimer: The following text contains descriptions of a dangerous procedure that could, at worst, result in severe infection and posisbly amputation as a result. Do not use this as a guide.

You know the stuff that you use, compressed "air" in a can, for dusting computer components and the inside of electronic gizmos, etc? Well, I found a can one day. At the time I had the biggest, ugliest wart you've ever seen on my leg, and didn't want to go to the dermatologist, and was a little bored.

Let me preface anything more by saying that I used to tend to rush into mods. My first and only tattoo was done in the mindset of "if I don't get this done today when I'm here I'll never do it." A tattoo is permanent, a piercing is less permanent--I think for this reason I was not as nervous in getting pierced, with both nipples at 10ga and my PA at 8ga, with subsequent stretches to my current 4ga. I know that a PA will leave a hole in my cock at the larger gauges, but the ring can always come out, as I see it. Tattoos are forever.

So, being bored, and having a wart and a can of computer spray, I decided to zap the wart--with the can turned upside down so the cold stuff comes out. I've had a wart zapped with liquid nitrogen before at the dermatologist, and it wasn't that painful, so I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Mind you, this wart was the size of a US nickel and raised several millimeters. This was no joke of a wart. The dermatologist had used a long-handled Q-tip dipped in the liquid nitrogen to zap my old warts, so I turned the can upside down and sprayed into a shallow cup, hoping to be able to have the cold liquid stuff on the bottom with enough time to get it onto a Q-tip and then pressed against my wart.

This failed.

So I attached the little straw to the can and put the tip of it close to the wart and let the spray go. COLD! Wow, was that cold. It didn't hurt at all after the skin was frozen around the wart and the wart itself was frozen. But with the adrenaline rush of seeing my flesh deathly white, and realizing that I had frozen a circle around the wart over 2" in diameter, it came to me: cold branding. I had gone this far, the skin was still frozen around the wart and didn't hurt. So I decided to do another 2" or so circle on the other side of my shin from the wart.

I went into this thinking only of freezing the wart. Honest!

Off I went with that, with similar sensations, and similar satisfaction from seeing dead-white skin on my leg, that made an incredible thud when poked with a pen or lighter or other light object. I didn't want to crack the skin! I would say that 25% of the skin was frozen through on each of the two circles.

About three minutes after beginning there was some pain from the original wart circle. But that was to be expected; after all, I had just frozen my skin. It dawned on me for the first time since the beginning of all this that I had originally intended to zap that pesky and disgusting wart. More restrained and carefully-aimed spray directly to the wart was applied for 30 or 40 seconds, making sure that the entire growth had been frozen through.

Here's the really cool part about that wart circle brand. It the wart was so frozen and so nasty and mashed after it was defrosted that I was able to pick most of it away.

I enjoy symmetry, and thus felt obligated while on the incredible "I've just done something funky to my body" high to do apply similar markings to my other leg. These two went largely the same as the others.

So, you are probably thinking, "wow, this kid is crazy. what kind of chemicals could be in that nasty spray?" I decided not to look at the ingredients, and assumed that all would simply go to plan.

The aftermath of the carnage to my poor flesh was interesting. This was by far the most disgusting healing wound I had ever seen. About 30 minutes after defrosting, the entire area became one humongous blister. With my clean fingers (as clean as they could be with antimicrobial soap) I popped the blister, and, in incredible pain, removed the blister's "lid" of dead skin--water or pus or something dripped down my leg and felt very hot. Repeat 3 more times for the others. I hope never again to see blisters of this size. Really intense.

They all looked almost identical, which I took as a good sign.

I then savored my favorite reasonably-priced scotch, just a little to help calm me down, Glenlivet 18-year-old. The pain was nothing short of excruciating about two hours following the procedure, and the wart was bleeding heavily, as i had been picking at it. The blisters had not re-formed, and the skin had turned bright, bright red around the areas that had been frozen; there was little-to-no bleeding from the non-wart-centered circles, and the pain started to die down (or I was just getting used to it) after five hours.

The next day I awoke to a gruesome sight: that skin looked like it was rotting away. It wasn't particularly easy to walk, as any stretching of the surrounding skin around the cold brandings caused pain. That day after the procedure I laid low, applied pure fragrance free aloe vera gel from time to time, kept well hydrated and ate healthily. Through the healing of this, I ate so well and so healthfully, and I truly believe that it helped the healing. At this point in the experience, you are probably assuming that these cold brandings fell out of my leg or something or turned gangrenous--but they turned out wonderfully.

The painful part of the healing process lasted about two weeks, during which time I did not wear pants, and ate very well. By the end of the first week, there was beautiful scabbing on all four circles. The circles themselves had grown to about 1.5 times their original size, to around 3" in diameter. Remember that wart? Just a shrinking black speck in the middle of the first cold brand circle. Original mission, it seems, accomplished.

The healing regiment consisted of a good diet, including freshly made vegetable and fruit juices--carrot, orange, lime, lemon, beet, radish, celery, apple, peach, cantaloupe, wheatgrass--from the local organic foods co-op. I honestly believe that this alone was a huge factor in my avoiding decomposition of my skin. I applied three times daily antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin) after the first week. The first week consisted of aloe-vera only. The bacitracin continued for approximately 10 days, starting one week after the procedure, and was used as needed for moisture or helping scabs along in the next four weeks.

The end result, about six months following the whole ordeal, is four purple circles on my shins, just left and right of center. The wart is gone. The circles are slightly raised, a little bumpy, and the hair is much lighter.

Regrets? At first, I thought to myself, "I should really see a shrink for this one." But as time went on, I came to like them--largely because the pain was gone. No one has asked me about them, except my friends, who in the usual half drunk college mindset, proclaimed that they were "cool." God only knows what they really think!

There really isn't much on BME with cold branding. I did my best to tell my story, and to let others know that it does work, and that it does indeed leave a scar. The scar is not as prominent as that of a hot brand, but I love my new addition to my collection of markings.

I mentioned previously that I was not a particularly heavily modded person--one tattoo, nipples and a PA. But I must say that just doing this to myself made me realize that I can do anything I see on BME. Just as my nipple piercings made me keenly aware of my nipples, due to the weight of the rings (does this happen to others??), these brandings have set in my mind the feeling of confidence to proceed in marking myself, and fulfilling that hazy dream of a self-image, achievable only through time and perseverance.

These brandings, while spontaneous and meaningless at the time, have facilitated my realizing that I can do whatever I want to my body, and that neither my parents, nor my professors, nor my friends, nor society, can stop me. They can belittle me for it, but taking control of my body is enough of a reward to shrug it off and continue pursuing what it is I need to do.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 10 Aug. 2002
in Scarification

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Artist: me
Studio: my+room
Location: Vermont

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