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25 Cringeworthy Body Modifications

Human branding

Also known as stigmatizing, human branding is the process in which a mark, usually a symbol or ornamental pattern, is burned into the skin of a living person, with the intention that the resulting scar makes a permanent decoration.


Genital beading

Genital beading is the practice of inserting small beads made of various materials beneath the skin of the genitals. As well as being an aesthetic practice, this is usually intended to enhance the sexual pleasure of partners during vaginal or anal intercourse.


Corneal tattooing

Corneal tattooing is a body modification in which the cornea, is permanently tattooed. Ouch!


Eye ball tattooing

But the cornea is not the only part of an eye that can get tattooed. The white of the eye can also be modified. Some people have ornaments tattooed right on their eye balls while others choose to change the color entirely.



A type of scarification, abrasion is a practice in which layers of human skin are removed through abrasion. It can be done either mechanically (e.g. using a sandpaper) or chemically (by means of corrosive chemicals).


Teeth sharpening

Human teeth sharpening is the practice of manually sharpening teeth, usually the front incisors. Historically, it was usually done for spiritual purposes, but in modern times, this form of body modification has a mainly decorative function.


Neck rings

In many tribes, neck rings have been part of important traditions. To elongate their necks, tribal women wear decorative neck rings that push their collarbones and ribs down, twisting them eventually at an angle of up to 45 degrees lower than what is natural.


Tongue splitting

Also known as tongue bifurcation or forking, tongue splitting is a type of body modification in which the tongue is cut centrally from its tip to as far back as the underside base. Allegedly, some people do it to increase sensations when kissing. Other reasons include novelty, spirituality, and the desire to connect with one’s body.


Corset piercing

A corset piercing is a very painful body modification in which a person´s back is pierced multiple times mostly side to side and then laced up like a real corset. Due to the pain and risk of injury, most corset piercings are intended to be temporary.


Magnetic implants

Those who like to wear different decorative objects on their bodies and don’t want get pierced every time can try a magnetic implant. Once you have the magnet under your skin, you can pick any metal object and attach it to you easily without any pain.


Transdermal implant

While subdermal implants are completely burrowed under the skin, transdermal implants are partially exposed. This type of body modification is done through a process known as dermal punching.


Extreme piercing

Usually, body piercing involves puncturing a part of the human body to create a discreet opening in which little to medium sized jewelry may be worn. Nevertheless, some people have pushed this practice to incorporate holes in very bizarre parts of the bodies in order to wear even more bizarre objects.

Lip window

While eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, your lip can be a window as well. Lip piercing is one of the most common types of piercing and to make this piercing even more striking, some people stick a transparent pyrux plug in the hole instead of a ring or stud.


Lip sewing

Another unusual lip alternation, lip sewing is considered to be a ritualistic modification, with much symbolism connected to the idea of closing the lips. There have also been several cases when lip sewing was used as a means of political protest.


Eye sewing

Unfortunately, lips are not the only facial part some people want to have stitched together. There is no need to explain what eye sewing is. Nor is there a need to say that this gory method is one of the most painful and brutal types of body modification.


Uvula piercing

As the name implies, a uvula piercing is a body piercing through the uvula, the projection of the soft palate between the tonsils. Unlike most other types of piercing, this one can hardly be seen by other people but the procedure is very painful and difficult (which of course begs the question “Why would you do this to yourself”..but to each his own).


Arm ear

We have already talked about subdermal implants but Australian artist Stelios Arcadious has pushed the boundaries of this body modification even further. He spent 10 years searching before he finally found a surgeon who would implant a lab-grown ear in his arm.


Skin stretching

Skin stretching is a common practice in some African tribes but this body modification has become popular among young people in many Western countries as well. Stretching of the ears, nose and lips are the most common areas to stretch.


Also known as ear pointing, elfing is a body modification meant to give human ears an appearance similar to that of elves or Vulcans. A common method is to remove a small wedge-shaped portion at the top of the ear, and then suture the two edges.


Animal appearance

There have been several people who’ve gone through multiple surgeries and body modifications in order to gain a resemblance to an animal. For example, an American man known as the “Stalking Cat” underwent 14 different surgical procedures to look like a female tiger.


Bagel head

Pioneered in Canada and now practiced mainly in Japan, bagel head is a body modification in which a saline is injected into a person´s forehead, creating a temporary swelling distortion of the head that resembles a bagel or a doughnut (hence the name).



A suspension is the act of suspending a human body via hooks implanted through body piercing. There are several basic types of suspension such as the coma suspension, the suicide suspension or the superman suspension.


Extraocular implant

While most of us hate when something gets into our eye, there are people out there who pay big money to have little decorative objects implanted right into their eyeballs.



In the process of body scarification, scars are formed by cutting the skin by varying methods to purposely influence wound healing. The resulting scars – usually designed in pictures or words – create a permanent body modification.


Subdermal implant

Originating in 1994, subdermal implant is a method of body modification in which little objects, usually made from silicon or Teflon, are implanted under the skin, creating impressions upon the skin. This process is also known as a 3-D implant, or pocketing.


Source: List25