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View Full Version : Healing time: scarification of the face.



AlexHurst
04-11-2013, 07:08 AM
Hi, curious if anyone knows this... I have a character who just received ritual scarification on her cheeks, eyelids and the center of her forehead. She lives in the desert and does not have access to modern medicine (this is a fantasy.)

What would be a standard time frame for her to heal from this? The scars are very thin on her eyelids, mostly traced over a dye derived from natural metals, but there is some scarring. I need to know, specifically, how long until she would be able to open her eyes again, and how long it would take for her to get scabbing.

Any help appreciated!

jmare
04-11-2013, 07:41 AM
This isn't exactly the same thing, but you might look into the Maori. Their traditional tattoo techniques involved chisels.

AlexHurst
04-11-2013, 09:23 AM
This isn't exactly the same thing, but you might look into the Maori. Their traditional tattoo techniques involved chisels.

Thank you very much jmare! That's actually a good idea, since I was going to base some designs for other characters off the Maori. Thanks!

melindamusil
04-11-2013, 10:10 PM
Not a medical person, so I can only speak from my own experiences and injuries. On the eyelids, specifically, I would think that it would not be the "size" of the cuts so much as the depth. Deeper would take longer to heal. However, you wouldn't have to go too deep before you're cutting off the eyelids, so I would imagine those cuts would be fairly shallow. Because of that, I would imagine they would heal within a week or two. She would probably be able to open her eyes pretty quickly, though perhaps with some pain and swelling.

GeorgeK
04-12-2013, 12:02 AM
Not enough information.

Bigger the cut (both longer and deeper) the longer the heal. Cross an artery, longer the heal.

Direction of cut matters based on the location of arteries.

Simple solution, don't be too specific on the location, direction, length and depth of the cuts and those who know will fill in the gaps and those who don't know won't care

ECathers
04-12-2013, 02:49 AM
I can't give you much info on timing, but IRL I'd mix items like vitamin E oil, oil made with comfrey, calendula, plantain and burdock as well as aloe vera juice into the ink mix to speed healing. As well as to make sure the wound doesn't infect.

Though I don't know how the Maori etc do it, I'd think that in any culture that practices ritual scarification, they'd have similar practices. Especially if modern day antibiotics aren't available. After all, the idea is to mark the newly honored tribal members, not kill them from gangrene or infection.

Since your story is not necessarily set on Earth (or is at least fantasy) no harm in inventing a plant that will help with these matters and get things down to a timeline that works for your plot.

AlexHurst
04-12-2013, 06:42 AM
melindamusil- Thanks. The cuts definitely aren't deep. Maybe a couple of millimeters in length and only enough to create scabs in depth. A set of five 'vertical bands' on each of her eyelids.

GeorgeK- Thanks very much. :) I'll keep that in mind. I'll try to cut out the specifics. It already took me about an hour of research to find a plant that grows in the desert that CAN be used as a permanent ink. It's not really essential to the story anyway. I just need her to be able to open her eyes within 2 days, even if it's with pain.

ECathers- thanks for the info on salve! Right now I'm using a type of desert yucca/aloe for the healing. They're a very poor community... unfortunately she's not be 'admitted' to the clan so much as being given a mark of 'protection' before she is sent as a 'slave' to another.

Canotila
04-13-2013, 12:09 AM
The thing about scabs on flexible areas like on finger joints and other parts that move a lot, is if they dry out they get brittle and crack open which slows healing considerably. If you keep the eyelid scabs supple with a little oil of some sort (lanolin, jojoba, etc.) it will heal much cleaner. If the oil itself is clean, it'll keep dirt and dust out as well.

Hendo
04-13-2013, 04:28 AM
Well, I do know healing times depend on the person and how well they take care of it. Like are they keeping it clean? Or are they just letting it scab over and sit.

Speaking from personal experience, I had the front tire of my mountain bike come off while I was riding down the street. (Our streets are tar and gravel which is basically the cheap alternative to asphalt so they're pretty rough.) I took the entire fall on the right side of my face. (it was years ago but just by typing this I can feel the area heating up lol) Anyway, the first ER doctor wouldn't even touch me so they had to bring in a surgeon to clean it. He was only able to stitch about 1inch of skin under my eyebrow because the rest was all just...gone and raw. He told my parents that my skin was going to end up scared and looking like it had dirt under it. But I took incredibly good care of it and it healed perfectly in half the projected time. You can't even tell it happened by looking at me.

ECathers
04-13-2013, 05:17 AM
Awesome. So how long was "half the projected time" ? Which is one of the OPs concerns.

AlexHurst
04-13-2013, 09:45 AM
Well, I do know healing times depend on the person and how well they take care of it. Like are they keeping it clean? Or are they just letting it scab over and sit.

Speaking from personal experience, I had the front tire of my mountain bike come off while I was riding down the street. (Our streets are tar and gravel which is basically the cheap alternative to asphalt so they're pretty rough.) I took the entire fall on the right side of my face. (it was years ago but just by typing this I can feel the area heating up lol) Anyway, the first ER doctor wouldn't even touch me so they had to bring in a surgeon to clean it. He was only able to stitch about 1inch of skin under my eyebrow because the rest was all just...gone and raw. He told my parents that my skin was going to end up scared and looking like it had dirt under it. But I took incredibly good care of it and it healed perfectly in half the projected time. You can't even tell it happened by looking at me.

Yikes, sounds like a nasty fall. That happened to my brother's leg, except he didn't even got to the hospital. He put butterfly bandages on it and regular gauze. Still has the dent in his leg. :Shrug:

But yeah, still curious about how long it took you to heal. (She is taking care of it. The tribe at least recognizes that the markings are dangerous for the eye and can lead to blinding, so she is told to clean it frequently).

Hendo
04-14-2013, 08:31 AM
Yea it was, I like to refer to it as my lost summer lol I was in high school at the time and I never had to go in with it visible like that so I'd say it was about 3 months at the most(summer vacation) until it was completely unnoticeable. Unfortunately it was so long ago that I can't be more specific than that. Although if I was out in the sun a lot or exercising it would start to redden up since it was basically new skin. That part of it lasted for at least another year but was easily avoidable.

I should note though that my general doctor and neighbor who is a nurse were both shocked at how well and fast it healed.