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Industrial Piercing Pain: All You Need to Know

Do you wish to make a bold statement with your body piercing and jewelry? Industrial piercing can help you.

An industrial piercing or scaffold piercing is an attention-grabbing piercing that can get customized to fit your unique style. It consists of two perforations through the upper ear cartilage connected by a single piece of jewelry, typically a barbell or other types of jewelry.

Historically, industrial piercing has been associated with punk, grunge styles. But because of its endless customization possibilities, it’s seeing mainstream popularity today. It’s a cute and unique addition to any cartilage and can take any vibe you want.

But you have to deal with pain if you wish to make a bold statement with your body piercing. Sometimes, industrial piercing pain can go severe. Every good thing is costly, you know.

If you wish to know more about this amazing cartilage piercing, this guide is for you. Here you’ll learn about the pain, healing time, side effects, cost, and aftercare of industrial piercings. Let’s dive in!

Table of Content

Industrial Piercing Definition

Industrial piercing describes two piercings located on the ear. The two piercings get linked via a barbell which goes directly through the cartilage at the two separate points, usually an inch and a half. It’s sometimes referred to as a bar or scaffolding piercing.


Professionals often use a needle to pierce the ears and not a gun. Although there are various methods, the most common one is where specialists pierce one section of your ear with a single-disposable needle. They then insert a long piece of jewelry that can support two piercings.

From there, they use a second needle to make the other hole and transfer the extra length of the jewelry into the second perforation connecting them.

The classic version of industrial piercing involves piercing the helix (outer, upper ear) and the anti-helix (inner, upper ear), then connecting them via barbell. But there are other variations of industrial piercing that link other parts of the ear. They include:

  • Vertical Industrial Piercing: It involves piercing a few sections of the cartilage. The variation often entails couch piercing, double-conch piercing, helix piercing, anti-helix rook, and the conch.
  • Double or Triple Industrial Piercing: Provided the piercer uses the right jewelry, it’s possible to have more than one industrial piercing in a single ear. For instance, you can run up to three variations of piercings through one piece of barbell: daith-rook- lower conch. You can get creative and make it up to four, but this kind of setup is usually unheard of.

Industrial Piercing Pain and Healing Time

Industrial piercing involves piercing the cartilage. If it’s your first time having a cartilage piercing, then it will hurt. But the pain is more like a pinch and it will go away quickly.


But keep in mind that industrial piercing involves undergoing two piercings, meaning you have to deal with pain twice. The pain you’ll feel will depend on your tolerance level.

During the piercing process, some individuals might feel just a little pain, but others might find the piercing very painful. Expect to experience some soreness and comfortability during the first few weeks as your ear heals.

Healing Time and Process

Piercings rarely have a specific amount of healing time. Also, the healing time might vary between individuals. Generally, industrial piercing takes between 2-6 months to heal, but in some people, it can take up to one year. If this is your first cartilage piercing, you might find the healing process uncomfortable.

Industrial piercing consists of two separate holes, which make the healing process unique. That’s why it takes time to heal. Although you can get matching piercings in each of your ears, it’s not advisable. It’s wise to pierce one ear at a time.

For example, if you’ve pierced the right ear, you can use your left ear to talk on the phone or sleep on as the right one heals. It’s hard for both ears to heal simultaneously. If you want to get another piercing, wait for about six months.

Other factors can also influence the healing time. For instance, if your hair or cloth gets entangled on the piercing, chances are it can snag, resulting in an infection. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow the right aftercare tips to shorten the healing process and time.

Industrial Piercing Aftercare Practices

Following the proper aftercare practices after industrial piercing will help keep away infections and speed up the healing process. Here are a few aftercare tips you need to keep in mind:

Don’t Remove or Play With Jewelry

It’s common for people to twist back and forth new jewelry after piercing. That’s not recommended. You need to resist the urge and keep your hands busy with something else. When you move the jewelry back and forth, you can increase the swelling and irritation. Also, you might introduce harmful microbes into the hole, especially if your hands are dirty.

Furthermore, avoid taking the barbell off, even when you’re cleansing the area. Doing so can increase the irritation, cause the new piercing to close, and even trap bacteria.

Keep Your Hair Away From the Barbell

Like we said earlier, the jewelry can get caught in your hair, tugging the piercing, and even cause skin damage. Keep your hair up all the time until the holes heal. The same goes for your clothes. Alternatively, you can consider using cartilage studs during the healing process.

Cleanse the Area Twice or Thrice Every Day

Daily cleaning is important for industrial piercings. You should clean the area twice or three times a day with a pre-made saline solution. Or you can buy the solution from a pharmacy near you. You can also make your own DIY sea salt solution by mixing one teaspoon of sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water.

Steps to Clean the Piercing

  • Soak a piece of paper towel or cloth in the saline solution. Avoid cotton or tissue since they can get entangled in the barbell and irritate the piercing.
  • Slowly and gently wipe each side of the jewelry.
  • Next, clean the inside side of your ear at each end of the barbell.
  • Repeat the process several times, until you’re certain the piercing is clean.
  • Don’t scrub or prod to avoid irritation and infections.

Don’t Put Pressure on The Jewelry

Avoid using over-the-ear headphones or sleeping on the ear with the piercing. Pressure will prevent the piercing from healing. And can even lead to issues like barbell migration and piercing rejection.

Avoid OTC Antibiotics and Creams

While creams and antibiotics are known to help wounds heal faster, they do more harm to piercings. Creams and ointment are thick, meaning they can trap bacterial under the ear skin. As a result, they will cause more irritation and even worsen the infections.

Rubbing alcohol and antiseptics are no better. They may damage the healthy skin cells, leaving the holes susceptible to bacterial infection.

Industrial Piercing Jewelry

When selecting jewelry for your industrial piercing, you need to ensure it is big enough to accommodate swelling. Because of the two holes, you might experience more swelling than usual.

Remember, long jewelry can easily snag, causing more irritation and skin damage. The length of the jewelry will depend on the specific ear. When it comes to thickness, the most common one is 14 gauge, but you can also find 16 and 18 gauges.


You also need a barbell made from high-grade metal to avoid piercing rejection or skin irritations. When the piercing is still new, settle with plain jewelry. Any additional flair to the barbell will only add weight to the piece, adding damage to piercing and prolonging the healing time.

Jewelry Materials Used for Industrial Piercing

Titanium: Titanium jewelry is nickel-free, so they do not irritate. That explains why there are mostly used materials for industrial piercing. Besides that, they’re lightweight, tarnish-free and available in several colors.

Gold: You can select a 14 karat or higher, yellow, white, or rose gold jewelry. Avoid an 18-karat gold barbell since it’s too soft and can easily form indentions that hold bacteria.

Implant Grade Stainless Steel: Steel is the ideal material for barbells because it’s problem-free. However, individuals sensitive to nickel might want to avoid surgical steel.

Industrial Piercings Side Effects

Cartilage piercing can come with several side effects, namely:


Industrial piercing is susceptible to infection than other ear piercing. Perhaps one reason for this is its proximity to your hair. The hair can spread oil and dirt to the holes, get tangled around the jewelry, and expose the piercing to hair products.

All these can irritate the piercing. And since the piercing comprises two holes, the risk of infection is high. Besides irritation, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Clear or white discharge
  • Mild swelling
  • Occasional throbbing

In severe cases, the swelling and redness can spread to the rest of the ear. If this happens, chances are the piercing is infected. Signs of the infection might include:

  • Severe pain
  • Fever
  • Yellow or green discharge
  • Uncomfortable swelling
  • Bump at the front or back of the piercing

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your piercer to get a diagnosis. In most cases, you can treat the infection at home.

Piercing Rejection

Sometimes the body rejects foreign objects and will push the foreign object out. During the early stages of rejection, the piercing will migrate to the surface of the skin. Eventually, your skin will crack and let it out. It will then quickly heal so it can be pushed back in.

If your body rejects the piercing, seek the help of a professional to get out the barbel and allow the piercing to heal.

There’s no exact cause of rejection. It can occur because of several factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Weight changes
  • The tautness of the skin
  • The material of the jewelry
  • The size and shape of jewelry
  • To prevent piercing rejection, adhere to aftercare practices

Irritation Bumps

These are small bumps that often form around the piercing sites. They occur because of irritation or skin sensitivity to the jewelry material. To prevent the bumps, avoid touching your piercing, and if you’re allergic to the current barbell, find another one.


Keloids are an overgrowth of scar tissues, which form in response to skin trauma. The scars get bigger than the original wound and often take weeks or months to develop fully.


Keloids may be itchy and quite painful, but they don’t harm your health. However, they might create cosmetic concerns.

In the case of industrial piercing, keloids can form on the helix, anti-helix, or even earlobe. Keloid treatment involves cortisone injection or removal via surgery or lasers.

Cost of Industrial Piercing

The cost of industrial piercing depends on where you’re located and the piercing studio. If you want to get an industrial piercing, you need to cover the cost of the piercing service as well as jewelry.

Keep in mind the jewelry cost varies depending on the material or how it’s shaped. For example, an arrow industrial piercing might cost more than a straight barbell or a gold barbell can cost more than steel jewelry.

That said, the average cost of this type of piercing ranges between $30 to $70, but sometimes it can even go higher.

When selecting a studio, choose the one that offers quality services, rather than expensive services. Also, go for a piercer who uses a needle instead of a gun. The piercing studio should look clean and professional.

Take Away

Industrial piercing is one of the best ways to add some sparkle to your looks and express yourself. It’s not only stylish but also unique. It involves passing a bar through two parts of the ear. But because of this unique positioning, it can be painful and requires an expert to avoid unnecessary complications.

After getting the piercing, it’s wise to adhere to all aftercare practices. Otherwise, the piercing might get infected, or your body might reject it. There’s also a possibility you might develop keloids. If you suspect anything is wrong with your piercing, consult your piercer for advice. With that said, the edgy end result of industry piercing is worth it.


How long do industrial piercings take to heal?

It’s hard to say for sure how long it takes for an industrial piercing to heal. For some people, it can take between 2 to 4 months, while in others it can take up to one year. If you want your piercing to heal faster, you need to keep it clean every day, avoid touching it and select the right jewelry. It’s important to follow other aftercare tips too.

Can I get allergic reactions from industrial piercings?

Yes! It’s possible to get allergic reactions from industrial piercing jewelry, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you’re allergic to nickel, avoid steel barbells. Consider a titanium barbell or gold jewelry. Make sure you’re working with a reputable and professional industrial ear piercer. Discuss your jewelry options and learn more about your allergies first before proceeding with the piercing

Does industrial piercing hurt?

Like most cartilage piercing, industrial piercings will hurt. However, the pain will subside once the piercing is over. How much the piercing will hurt depends on your tolerance level. Some individuals might not even feel the pain, but others feel it, especially those new to it. You might experience some mild pain and discomfort weeks after the piercing. But if the pain becomes severe, chances are your piercing is infected.

How should I take care of my industrial piercing?

If you want your piercing to heal faster, you must take care of it. Here are a few steps on how you can do that.:

  • Cleaning it every day using saline solution
  • Avoid touching the piercing or playing with the jewelry
  • When drying it, use a paper towel or clean piece of cloth
  • Try not to sleep on the piercing as much as possible because the pressure will damage it

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