The Long-Term Effects of Extreme Body Modifications


Self-expression through style is a big part of being a part of an alternative sub-culture. While it is not a hard and fast rule to dress a certain way, most people who are in these sub-cultures find the style, clothes, and accessories to be cool and a way to physically manifest how they feel inside.

The role of fashion in alternative subcultures

It can be a way to stand out from the crowd and go against the grain of society’s ‘acceptable’ standards. Factors like clothes, accessories, aesthetics, and body modifications are integral to the fashion of alternative sub-cultures. When you are part of an alternative sub-culture, it isn’t a phase, and it's not something you’re going to grow out of, but if you’re going to make changes to your body through modifications, you need to know about the long-term effects.

What are body modifications?

Body modifications are changes that you make to your body for aesthetic purposes. They can either be permanent or semi-permanent, depending on the type of modification you get. Modifications can include practices like piercings, tattoos, stretching, and acts involving surgery.

Why research is important

Before you decide on getting on any modification it is a good idea to do thorough research about what you want to get done. Your research should include how much pain you are most likely going to experience, how long the modification takes to heal, and information about the practitioner who does the modification as well as their rules regarding consent for the procedure.

Healing, infections, and aftercare

When it comes to modifications there is no one-size fits all approach to healing and aftercare. Each practice will require different methods, so it is a good idea to have a full understanding of how long you will need to take care of the modification before it heals. If you don’t take care of the modification, you increase the chances of rejection, infection setting in, or the formation of a keloid.

Different modifications and the long-term effects

Body modifications can have a drastic effect on your appearance. You will no longer look as you did before, and sometimes if you decide to reverse certain procedures, there is no guarantee that you will look as you did before.


Piercings are the most common body modification, it is so common that many forget that they are an actual body modification. You can get piercings done on your ears, face, and more risque areas like getting nipple rings or genital piercings. If the jewelry is taken out the hole will close and heal up, unless you have had the jewelry in for many years - then it may not. It may leave slight scar tissue on the area that was pierced.

Gauges and stretching

Stretching piercing holes is a practice conducted by different cultures across the world. It is the gradual stretching of the piercing hole to bigger sizes. It can be done on the ears, lips, and nose. These sizes are measured in gauges and are done most often using tapers and can be done on your own. It can take years to stretch your piercing hole to the desired length. While the stretched area can shrink there is a point of no return which won't see your gauge return to pre-stretched size.


Tattoos are a common body modification, which is the insertion of ink into the skin’s layers in a pre-determined pattern. While you can remove tattoos with lasers, it will still leave a lot of scar tissue on the area that was lasered.

Bifurcation tongue

This practice is where a person undergoes surgery to split their tongue for it to look forked like that of a snake or demon. This procedure is reversible and the tongue can be stitched back to its original form. If you have this procedure done, there is a high chance that you will develop a speech impediment.

Implants and dermal

These are piercings that have no exit point like regular piercings. They are inserted into the skin, especially on flat areas like collarbones, cheekbones, or the spine in the style of a corset. While these can be removed, there is a chance that you will have a scar when you remove the piercing.

Society vs Subculture

While these body modifications are commonplace in sub-cultures, they are not in general society. When you get a modification done, you need to be aware that you will draw in a lot of looks from people - both good and bad. This is an important time to reinforce your confidence and self-esteem when dealing with those who don’t understand.


Getting a modification is a great way to add to your style and aesthetic. Before you get one done, it is important to know everything you can about the procedure, including pain levels, healing, and aftercare. There are many different modifications to enjoy, it is only a matter of finding the right one for you. 

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