Scarification has been seen in nearly every tribal history. It has been seen as a form of initiation, status, coming of age, or to mark some rite of passage.

In Australia, scarring is practiced among the Aboriginal men and women at the age of 16-17. The scars are placed on the chest, shoulders, and bellies. Without the scars, they were not allowed to trade, sing ceremonial songs, or participate in tribal activities.

In Ethiopia, the men of the Karo tribe would scar their chests to represent killing enemies from other tribes. The women would scar their torsos and chests for sensual and aesthetic means.

There are different types of scarring, which include branding, cutting, skin removal, and rubbing as the more popular forms of scarring. No matter the technique, the practice is known to be much more painful than tattooing.

Scarification is not to be misinterpreted with cutting as a form of self-harm, as this practice is symbolic and aesthetic. Scarification is a creative and controlled form of body modification practiced to achieve an aesthetic scar.