If tattoos and piercings used to be considered taboo, they're now anything but. It seems like pretty much everyone has a tattoo or piercing of one kind or another as a way of expressing themselves, showing off their style, or modifying their body in a meaningful way. And that's a beautiful thing.
There are, however, a few more shocking body modifications that are becoming more popular as time goes on, but aren't quite considered common just yet. Certain types of body modifications — such as silicone face implants, tongue splitting, and scarification — are definitely more unique. And yet, that's part of what makes them so interesting.
"With the increasing amount of millennials and younger people getting tattoos and changing the stigma that older generations had about them, they are paving the way for body modification to be more widely accepted by society," tattooist Adam Villani tells Bustle. "We are at a point where large gauges in the ear are essentially accepted in society, and that is something that would be unheard of 20 years ago. Society is definitely heading towards a way of accepting body modification."
Here are a few body modifications that are becoming more popular, even though they go beyond what most of us might consider typical. Take a look at some of the most interesting trends below.
1. Conch & Cartilage Removal
Conch removal is gaining popularity among people who really want to rock a unique look. "Essentially the center of the ear (the conch) is cut out and sutured up, leaving a large visible hole from the front to the back of the ear," says Villani.
Cartilage removal is also a thing, where the upper part of the the ear cartilage is removed to create a hole that can either stand alone, or become the perfect place for jewelry. If you are curious, you can see it here, but it may be a bit shocking for some.
Another way to create permanent art on your body is through scarification, which Villani says has been "around for thousands of years but recently has been refined and recognized as an art."
To do it, a trained professional will gently cut "into the skin ... with the intention of the wound scarring over in the pattern carved into it," Villani says. "With the trend of blackout tattoos rising, many people choose to have scarification performed over their blackout tattoo for a bolder contrasted outcome." Here's a video to check out the process of scarification. Just note that is may be jarring for some.
3. Subdermal Implants
According to Villani, subdermal silicone implants are also becoming more popular. These implants can be used to create bumps and horns on the head, but they're also available in others shapes, and can be placed in other locations on the body.
Think along the lines of heart-shaped implants under the skin of the hand, rings down the arm, or sharp implants on the face to create the look of pointed, alien-like cheekbones. The choices are endless, depending on how daring you are.
4. Tongue Splitting
Tongue splitting is just what it sounds like. A trained professional slits the tongue down the middle, about halfway back, to create the effect of a forked lizard tongue.
Apparently, the tongue heals relatively quickly afterward, and the slit doesn't affect the person's life much at all. After the cut heals, it's still possible to eat, talk, and go about your day just like you always did. Check out this video for more info.
5. Magnet Implants
Another growing trend are magnetic skin implants, which Villani says are typically placed in the fingertips. Many folks get these implants not just because it's fun to have things (like paperclips) stick to your fingers, like you're some sort of magnetic superhero. But they also get it because it slightly modifies the senses.
According to an article on Wired, "For the few people who have rare earth magnets implanted in their fingers, these are among the reported effects — a finger that feels electromagnetic fields along with the normal sense of touch. It's been described as a buzzing sensation, a tingling, an oscillation, movement, [and] pure stimulation," among other things. Pretty cool, right?
6. Face Tattoos
Face tattoos are definitely becoming more popular, Villani says, with one example being the constellation freckle trend you can see above. Face tattoos are obviously a much bigger commitment than tattoos on say, your arm or your back, since they're right there for all to see. But many people go for them anyway.
7. Under Eye Tattoos
Similarly, Villani says under eye tattoos are becoming big as well. They can be as small and subtle as a tiny heart near your eye, to something more daring like writing, or a continuation of a larger face tattoo like the one above.
8. Microdermal Piercings
So many people get their ears pierced, their eyebrows, lips, nose, etc. But it's possible to wear jewelry pretty much anywhere on the body thanks to microdermal piercing. This form of piercing inserts jewelry under the skin, so it doesn't have to go "through" to the other side, the way it would with a nose or ear piercing.
It's common to get microdermal piercings on the chest, arm, collarbone, neck, and any other flat surface. It adds an interesting detail others might not expect to see.
From subtle piercings to tongue splitting and everything in between, there are so many ways people express themselves with their body and the changes they make to it.