Thursday, April 30, 2015

Industrial Piercings

Since posting my recent industrial earring haul, I thought I'd share my experience about getting this piercing done. In the UK/Australia, apparently this piercing isn't called an industrial, it's called a scaffold piercing.
I've got a traditional shape

It's basically any ear piercing that is connected by two points. Any two points

The people in the last two photos have anatomy that wouldn't support a traditional industrial. But no worries, their piercer found a solution.

So let me tell you about my experience. I've had my lobes, regular cartilage, nose, septum (pierced at a 12g), lip (2x), eyebrows (2x at once), and gauged my ears to 4g. I've pierced my own lip and lobe. The industrial was easily the most painful, and the healing time was about a year. It was constant pain for a few months, and for the rest of that year if anyone even breathed on it, it hurt. Even when I thought I was all healed, if I bumped it, it would be agony. Holy moly, it was painful...I wouldn't go through that again. To this day, I'm afraid to sleep on my industrial side.

It hurts because you have to have two piercings done at once, and there's a bar applying pressure to both of them at the same time. If one end moves, so does the other. Sorry, there is no shortcut. You can't get one side done, then the other, and then "match" it. The angle will be most definitely be off. I used to work at a jewelry store that sold industrial barbells, and I met a bunch of people who tried to do it this way, and it failed every time.

So go to a real piercer. And go to a good one. Bars come in certain sizes, except for expensive custom ones. When I sold the standard-size barbells, I also came across people who were pierced at a nonstandard size...because of this, any barbell the wanted would either be too short or stick out long and stupid-looking. A good piercer will fit you to a standard size.

Cost: Bar and piercing service cost me $80 back in 2004. I tipped $20, so $100 total.


Day before: Shave your head. That's my advice. Having your dirty long hair touch your piercing during the months' long healing time is inviting trouble. And infections in cartilage is nasty business. Plus it'll be painful to brush, and god help you if you snag a hair on the bar. It'll grow back. If you do nothing else, shave your head. You won't be able to change your mind and shave it after you've got the piercing done.

Day of: if you already have a day-of process, follow that. Otherwise here's mine. I shower before i go, then get the piercing done. Then I don't touch it. at all. I don't clean it the first day. I also don't shower until night of the next day. You've got an open wound...don't fuck with it. That whole thing about "rotating" your jewelry is total bullshit. Your body is healing just fine and you're just delaying the process when you irritate the wound. Plus touching your ear is an infection risk.

Cleaning: I made the common mistake of cleaning with hospital-grade disinfecting soap. Regular antibacterial soap is fine. the other soap is way too strong. My ear swelled and burned like it had a maybe your healing might be less painful than mine, since this was a major contributor. I thought I had an infection, but no, my skin was irritated from the soap.

OH! cleaning an industrial is kind of a nightmare. The piercer recommended that I "collapse" the ear, basically squeezing the conch closed so the ends of the bar stick out so you can reach. I couldn't do that until months was way too painful. I basically poked around in the shower (after i washed my no-hair hair), tugging the bar back and forth with soap until it no longer felt crusty. IF ANYTHING HURTS, stop what you're doing. If you're irritating the piercing too much or are too rough, you can end up with hypertrophic scarring. This could also happen with bad placement, so again, go to a good piercer.

Hypertrophic scarring is also common with all cartilage piercings, more so with industrials, though because of the stress the bar causes.

I thankfully didn't get any scarring...I was a total wimp about it and just never touched the piercing.

I was watching some youtube videos thinking to link a cleaning video for you, but everything I saw gave me chills. They were super rough with their ears and some had this type of scarring. Yeesh. Others would clean, brush away their dirty hair, then resume cleaning. I know....hard to believe... some teens on YouTube don't know what they're talking about.

So, if you are interested in getting this piercing for yourself, I just want you to know it'll be a long and possibly painful process.

 1 year after initial piercing

fully healed

Any of you have this piercing? How was the healing process for you? If you don't have one, did I scare you off, lol? 


  1. Ehm...I've never been fond of piercings anyway, so you couldn't scare me off, but I'm wondering if it's really worth all the trouble and pain? I guess you knew what to expect, so what made you get it in the first place? It does suit you, I'm just curious. :)

    1. Lol I didn't really know what to expect... I just thought it looked awesome. The healing process was a complete surprise. The piercer warned, but I didn't really believe her I guess

  2. I went to a very reputable piercer for my industrial. i was warned that my body my reject it. That happened. it was so painful, it was crazy. Just like you said, you breathe on it and it would kill. I would never do that again.

    1. Rejections are terrible! Sorry you had to go through that

  3. thanks for the advice, sounds like quite the trip.

  4. I want this piercing but healing process is very long :(

  5. This post made me want one out of absolutely nowhere! :)
    I had no idea an industrial could be a piercing that joins any two points! And as an Australian I rarely hear anyone call it a scaffold piercing. But that's probably just due to the people I know who have them.

  6. I have had 3 of these done. One of them is no longer an industrial piercing due to one of the the earrings being ripped out through the cartilage by accident and the other was highly uncomfortable and never healed properly; I finally just put a single earring in each hole and they healed quickly after that. The one I still have is in the same place that yours is.

  7. So is that picture with circles of bad placement because I have the same bumps and I'm a liytle worried.

    1. There are a number of reasons why you'd get that kind of scarring