A Complete Guide to Industrial Piercings

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With upper ear piercings become more common you may be searching for a piercing that stands out. An industrial piercing that shows off two piercings with bold jewelry may be the answer.

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Learn everything you need to know about industrial piercings to find out if it’s the right look for you below.

What is the Industrial Piercing?

Industrial piercing bar
Industrial Piercing Earring by Titanium Fashion. Check Price Here.

While the name may be dull, an industrial piercing is one of the more striking ear piercings that you can adorn your ears with.

Technically, an industrial piercing is two individual cartilage piercings that are joined together with a single bar earring that threads through the ear at both ends. The adjoining bar is the reason why industrial piercings are often called ‘scaffolding piercings’, ‘the bar’ or ‘construction piercings.’

Industrial piercings can join several different cartilage piercings but the most common joins the helix and the anti-helix piercings with the bar running across the top of the ear.

Other placements include a vertical double conch that runs up through the inside of the ear; a short rook-daith in the inner ear; an anti-helix-rook that runs across the common double helix piercing and, a daith-lower conch that follows the same direction as the double helix placement, but over the inner ear.

Best Types of Jewelry for Your Industrial Piercing

diamante barbell
Diamante Barbell Earring. Check Price Here.

Industrial piercings get their look from the bar or barbell that passes through both piercings. Barbells are longer studded posts with threaded backings at each end.

There is usually a design element with the backings, either a stone, charm, or ball as these are visible. The post or bar can also include an element of design such as stones, twisted metal, or a motif to suit different styles.

The options for different jewelry are endless as there are multiple areas on a barbell that incorporate design. Minimalists can find simple barbells with few adornments; girls that love sparkle can choose diamante-encrusted styles and bohemians can look for feather or arrow charms.

minimalist industrial barbell
Minimalist Industrial Barbell from Jewels by Moonli. Check Price Here.

Once you have your design in mind, you will need to make sure the barbell is the right size. The gauge (thickness of the post that goes through the piercing) should be slightly larger than a standard lobe earring at 14g size and the length will depend on the placement of the piercings and the size of your ear.

It is very important to get your measurements and buy the correct size to limit the risk of irritation and infection. Initially, you will want to start with a bar that is slightly longer to keep the threaded balls off your ear while it is healing. If the balls are too flush against your ear, the balls can become embedded as the piercing heals. On the other hand, if the bar is too long, you run the risk of snagging on your hair and clothing.

Pros and Cons of Industrial Piercings

Industrial piercing closeup
You can use the two industrial piercing perforations as separate piercings

The upside to industrial piercings is that once they are healed, you will have the option to wear a bar across your ear and make a statement. Or you can also choose to wear single earrings, which give you more options for switching up your look.

The biggest downside to an industrial piercing is the complications that can come with healing that comes with two cartilage piercings and the single piece of jewelry that joins them.

This is why most piercers space out the piercings to allow them to heal separately. This means that it will take more time for you to get your desired look, but ultimately it may be worth it to ensure that your piercing heals without any issues.

Aside from infection, which can occur with any piercing, a major concern for industrial piercings is the keloiding of skin. Keloids are raised purple scars that result from overgrowths of scar tissue on an injury. Unlike a hypertrophic scar (a similar-looking raised scar), a keloid can grow beyond the site of the injury, which means that it can completely engulf a piercing.

When your skin is cut, scar tissue forms over the wound to repair and protect the injury. If the earring continually irritates the piercing, an overgrowth of scar tissue can occur resulting in a keloid. This happens more commonly with industrial piercings as a misplaced bar can pull on either piercing and irritate the healing wound.

However, it is worth noting that keloids can occur with any piercing. If you find a professional piercer, follow the correct instructions and consider allowing the piercings to heal separately, you can reduce your chances of a keloid forming on your industrial piercing.

Another factor to consider is the prolonged healing time of an industrial piercing. Industrial piercings are located on the upper ear cartilage consisting of connective tissue that is tougher than your earlobe. This makes it harder to pierce and will also take longer to heal. If you space out your piercings, this will make the healing time even longer.

During this time, you should not change the jewelry in place and should take special care to prevent infection. The piercing is usually more tender and can be painful during this time. However, if you already have a fully healed cartilage piercing and only need a second one to connect it then you are halfway there!

Will an Industrial Piercing hurt?

rook piercing pain meter

It depends on individual pain thresholds, but for the most part, yes, you will experience some pain as a result of an industrial piercing. The actual piercing of your ear will only hurt for as long as it takes the needle to pass through the ear which is usually only a few seconds.

But as with all cartilage piercings, this is more painful because the skin is thicker on the upper ear. You will also have to live with tender ears for longer as you wait for the piercings to heal.

Industrial Piercing Aftercare

Most industrial piercings follow with about a week of swelling and will take about 2-6 months to heal completely. Industrial piercings take longer to heal because of their placement and because of the potential for irritation from the bar. The healing process can also be cyclical, meaning that periods of good healing can be followed by periods of soreness. This is normal until the piercing has healed completely. 

To care for your new industrial piercing, you should be stringent with aftercare. In simple terms, this means keeping the area clean and leaving it alone as much as possible. You should avoid harsh cleansers that include alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Your piercer will be able to provide you with a cleaning solution and regime.

Keeping hair and clothing away from the piercing will help to keep it clean and also minimize the potential for catching. You should also avoid sleeping on your ear while the piercing is fresh as this will add unnecessary pressure. It is also a good idea to keep the original earring in the piercing until it is completely healed as changing jewelry can disrupt the healing process and cause scarring.

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Cost of Industrial Piercing

The cost of a piercing will depend on many factors, including the experience of the piercer and the reputation of the salon. Industrial piercings can cost roughly between $30 and $90, and though the higher end of this spectrum may seem expensive, remember that you are actually paying for two cartilage piercings which are much more difficult than piercings on the lobe.

This is because ear lobe piercings are usually done with a piercing gun that uses an earring and the force of a gun to make the incision. Cartilage piercings require a hollowed needle to pass through the thick skin of the cartilage without causing injury. The intricacy of a needle requires more skill, particularly if piercings need to be precise, as is the case with an industrial piercing that needs to line up perfectly. This is where you should be willing to do your research and pay a little more for the services of an expert.

Is Industrial Piercing Right for You?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to an industrial piercing and determining whether they are worth it will largely be a personal choice.

For many people, pain and cost can be a major factor. If this is the case for you, a solution may be to leave more time in between each piercing so that you can focus on healing (and paying for) one at a time.

This can be a good plan if you are new to cartilage piercings as you can use your first piercing to test the water. Just be sure that you let your piercer know that you may want to wear an industrial barbell in the future so that they can take greater care with placement.

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