An industrial piercing is one of the most popular piercing types. It’s made by driving a jewelry (usually a straight barbell) through two different holes. It’s most commonly made on the ear (the cartilaginous part, sometimes known as the scaffold). Due to the placing, this type of piercing is sometimes known as a “scaffold piercing”, or “construction piercing”, though the term “industrial” is the most common. This type of piercing is often called “the bar” piercing in the UK and Ireland.
About the Piercing
While an industrial piercing can technically refer to any two holes connected with a jewelry, it’s most commonly referred to an ear cartilage piercing. This is a popular form of piercing. During the procedure, two piercings are made: one is typically located very close to the head (anti-helix) and the other one further down the cartilage, on the opposite side of the ear (helix).
The original piercing is typically made with a 14g piercing needle, so this is the original size of industrial piercing holes. Another common size is 16g.
Sometimes, the original piercing is pierced with a flexible plastic tube that’s swapped for a metal bar when it’s completely healed. Some piercers choose to use two captive bead rings for initial piercing jewelry. This may be a more comfortable choice but it makes proper alignment of the piercings difficult. The alignment of the holes is very important because it’s vital to create proper balance. Balance is important because it will minimize the stress on the cartilage. If cartilage is stressed it can lead to infections. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced piercer and to get pierced at a reliable piercing studio.
Typically, an industrial piercing takes around 6 months to heal. However, it can take a year to heal completely. Remember, you don’t have one pierced hole but two, and they may take different times to heal. During the healing time, it’s important to clean the piercings regularly. Clean the inside folds carefully, best using a saline solution. Use a cotton swab (not balls) drenched in warm saline solution or an unscented anti-bacterial soap. The piercing should be cleaned two times per day.
Common problem with industrial piercing is migration and scar tissue build up. If scar tissue build up occurs it’s best to wear captive bead rings to prevent further problems.
Industrial piercing typically uses a long straight barbell. One side of the barbell is inserted through the first piercing from behind the ear. It goes diagonally across the front of the upper cartilage and then goes through the second piercing. Jewelry is secured with a screw-on bead behind the second hole.
The straight barbells used for industrial piercings have to be extra-long so they can reach both ends (holes) of the piercing. The length used will depend on the individual ear size and the distance between holes. Typically, a 1.5 inches long barbell is used, but it’s important to measure your own ear and the diagonal distance between the holes to determine the length of the barbell you should use.
The jewelry used for an industrial piercing is simple but very effective. While straight barbells are typically used, it doesn’t mean that the jewelry itself has to be plain. The position of the piercing is very visually effective and it stands out even if the simplest straight barbell is used, so you might be satisfied with a “plain” straight barbell for your industrial piercing.
However, there are other options. For example, you can use titanium barbells in various colors to make your industrial piercing stand out. Or you may use a straight barbell with uniquely-shaped balls on the end.
Another thing to spice up your industrial piercing is to use special bars with spirals and twists. These twisted barbells look very effective and unique. You may also use straight barbells with small ornaments, such as skulls or hearts, depending on your individual style and the effect you wish to achieve.
Another type of jewelry used for an industrial piercing is a pair of captive bead rings. They are not as effective in a way that they don’t produce an effect of “connected holes” so they basically look like two piercings (which they are). However, captive bead rings may be a good choice for initial piercing, during the healing period.
Also, if you ever get bored of the typical look of the industrial piercing (two holes connected with a straight barbell) you can always use the holes to insert a different type of jewelry (such as captive bead rings) and make an industrial piercing into two piercings with different jewelry. You can always go back to the typical “industrial look” whenever you want.