Cosmetic puncturing of the skin to produce permanent welts or scars for decorative or expressive effect. A form of body art, scarification is related to tattooing, though it introduces no pigments. Scarification has been practised by native peoples of Australia, Borneo, Canada's province of British Columbia, Mexico, New Guinea, New Zealand, and the USA's state of Washington. The people of Papau New Guinea, for instance, cut their skin and insert clay or ash into the wounds so as to develop permanent bumps (known as keloids or weals). This painful ritual makes them well respected members of their tribe who are honored for their courage and endurance. Although tattooing and piercing continues to be the more commonly practised forms of body art, an increasing number of people in MEDICAL ALERT!North America and Europe are participating in scarification. Scarification presents numerous serious health concerns (including risks of physical injury, infection by bloodborne pathogens, and psychological harm as well) because it either borders on or is self-mutilation. Far more often than not, allowing oneself to be cut or intentionally cutting oneself indicates a need for professional medical assistance.Also see hazardous, pain, sense, and sensuality.