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Cell Popping?
Nipple Heart
paperbck_writer wrote in askthekinksters

Has anyone heard of this? Can you explain to me what's involved and the level of pain? Here is a link for a example. Designs can last up to two months?

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A quick Google search for "BDSM cell popping" revealed a lot more information, including this page. It's not cutting or needle play; it's a form of branding. The individual marks that make up the design are burns.

It's done with a red-hot needle, which is placed in contact with the skin to create a tiny round burn; a single design involves many thousands of such burns, and the process requires hours. You can even buy the supplies for doing this here.

I have never tried this, but given the nature of how it is done, I would expect it to be quite painful.

Sorry, OT:

Is that you're nipple jewellery in the icon? It's amazing and I want one!

Totally OT too but I can't help noticing the designs on that back piece on the left and right middle edges.... look like peni.

Immature moment aside... that sounds really interesting though I have no idea, it also depends on where it's done and your pain threshold. Maybe as bad as a tattoo since it's the same principle without ink?
Also, I'd say it would depend on the sharpness of the needle.

Never heard of it, so now I'm intrigued.

You know what it looks like? Have you ever had those allergy tests where they pick holes in your skin and insert allergens? Yeah, that.

I can't wait until some Informed Person informs us how it's done.

maenad, I had this done friday, and would be happy to explain the process and show the result the next time I see you; Unfortunately due to the fact that I don't mark hardly at all, it might be faded by the time I get back from Cali, but still, I can give you an informed opinion.

I helped with the piece you linked to. Connie, the website owner, is really good at what she does and I'd recommend any one to go to her demo's. She uses a cell popping kit that she put together and sells, I have one and have used it. It's thin shafts embedded in a wooden handle and they're heated over a can of Sterno. When one touches them to skin, frequently there is a tiny popping sound. The points are pretty tiny so unless you really hold it on there a while, you aren't going to get a long lasting burn in most cases.

I think I know this more as bursting blood vessels, the kind of under the surface bleeding you can get from something like a friction burn?

If that's the case, I'd guess at it being roughly as painful as a tattoo?

ohh noo, this is just burning ( very rapidly ) the top layers of skin in a series of tiny 'dots' to make a pattern.

If you wanted to do a branding though, you could lay them at a angle and slide them slower across the skin and you'd get branded bars

This is also known as devil's fire. People that I've done it to describe it as extremely intense, but not necessarily painful (caveat: all these folks are moderate to extreme masochists). One of the side effects is an extremely quick trip to subspace because of the endorphin rush. Because the skin thinks it's undergoing extreme trauma (but only in a very tiny area), it causes the body to dump endorphins fairly quickly.

Some people use sterno to heat the metal probes. Others use butane torches (like the ones you'd use to caramelize sugar for creme brulee). The probes I've used are just your standard biology dissection probes. You can pick them up from most school and science supply houses for pretty cheap. I think the last time I bought some, I spent about $4 a dozen.

The important thing to note is that you're not holding the heated probe down against the skin. You're tapping the tip against the skin long enough to cause the water in the skin cell to heat and vaporize. That pop is, more or less, the water turning to steam and causing the skin cell to burst.

*nods* I've also heard this called devil's fire, seen it done with dissection probes and a butane torch, and while I didn't have it done, my girl did, on her arm, her breast and her labia.

It was intense for her. She said it was extreme pain but that it was gone almost instantly, so it really was pretty bearable.

I just tried this on myself. I did several random 'pokes' on the inside of my forearm. I did not feel any pain at all. The marks were white and swelled to about the size of a flea bite. They do itch right now. I did hear the 'pop' sound. I used a safety pin not a dissection needle. Hope this helps.

Cell Popping

Actually, it really doesn't hurt all that much. It smells kind of funny, but the pain level, even for larg designs, is much less than say a tattoo. I've done several on myself as well as friends and they agree. It does tend to itch quite a bit though and you should avoid using scar healing things such as neosporin as it will lessen, and in some cases erase very quickly, the longevity of the design. It is easy to try yourself, I find that the edge of a small (the tiny travel size kind) screwdriver is easier than a needle since it has a handle. You put the edge in the flame at the second curve, which is the hottest point in a flame, and wait until it is red hot. Just tap the edge on the skin once, then press it in again for a tiny bit longer on the same spot. The one I have on my ankle has lasted over 4 years, but that is because I kept repopping it once it began to fade. After the 4th repopping session I haven't had to redo it at all. Hope this helps!

It's called cell popping because the application of the heated metal to your skin actually heats the fluids in the cell and as it bursts you hear a popping noise. It is a form of branding and is also sometimes called micro-branding.

My cell popping was done just this past weekend and took about an hour. I didn't find it very painful at all. I've never had a tattoo so I can't compare the pains. A couple of spots in the center of the back made my legs twitch because the nerves there are closer to the surface. At this point, it feels a lot like a bad sunburn. Showering makes it sting. It is warm to the touch now, but its not painful.

I've seen on-line a variety of ways to accomplish cell popping, but I'm not much for rigging things from paperclips or trusting to have my body modified by someone who is a beginner so I found a guy at a local BDSM club that does it every weekend.

Here is how it was done for me - a butane torch was used to heat a small metal rod that has a small sharp point. The rod has a wooden dowel on the end so that the popper can hold it without burning themselves. My design was drawn on my back with a ball point pen. You can see in my user pic the lines he drew to center it and make it straight across the back. After the design was drawn, it was just a matter of me lying there long enough for him to make all the touches.

The butane ensures that the heat source is steady and that you can turn it off and on only as needed. The rod stays hot for 6-7 touches so you have to re-heat it quiet often and the larger the design the more touches and therefore time involved.

I have seen healed cell poppings that faded to nearly invisible in 2 weeks, and some that have lasted 2-3 months. Like any other branding or burn, it depends on how you treat it and how long your body takes to heal. Use neosporin or burn cream and it will heal with little or no scarring in a very short time (unless you are prone to keloid scarring). Scrub off the scabs daily, use peroxide on it, and keep it irritated and open for a longer time frame and you are likely to have that design for a long while. Personally, I want mine to stay and if it fades I will have it re-done.


Re: Cell Popping

You can also you a soldering iron for this.

What a misleading name

For starters, whoever coined the name cell popping either lacks a basic understanding of anatomy or was being intentionally misleading. I can't figure out which.

That having been said I just did my third, and it's incredible. The pain is sharp but weak and only lasts for the second or half second you have the needle pressed down. It's absolutely delightful. One error a lot of people make is that they don't heat the needle enough, and then they press down too hard. This makes the design both less pleasurable and harder to control, when the needle is the right temperature(glowing bright yellow) barely touching the skin will burn off the top couple layers instantly.

If you're interested in doing this I definitely recommend using teasing needles. They're the right size, have wooden handles, and heat evenly. Don't waste 30$ on a kit, you can get teasing needles from your local science hobby/supply store for .50 to 2.00 USD. If you can't get them alone, you should be able to buy a dissection kit containing them for 5.00 to 20.00 USD. I recommend using bent rather than straight, as it makes slightly easier to be precise.

I hope that's helpful.

Can anyone explain what the aftercare is to help prevent permanent markings and it from getting infected?

Are there better places on a persons body to experience this?


I just had it done last night and I found it hurt like a a little less tattoo really. It did hurt more on my spine and certain spots of the body where you are sensitive at. I had the soldering iron used and it was nice

i just had mine done and i love it and the pain is minimal unless you are a wuss. It really wasn't that difficult mine was real long but many use just initials but it looks great.

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