Industrial piercings are a popular cartilage piercing for guys and girls alike. If you’ve caught the industrial piercing bug and are thinking about getting one, you may have some questions. Our Industrial Piercing FAQs will answer those questions and more!
Frequently Asked Industrial Piercing Questions
Q. What is an industrial piercing?
Q. What jewelry can I wear in a new industrial piercing?
Q. What are the benefits of wearing starter jewelry that isn't an industrial barbell?
Q. What is an industrial bar piercing?
Q. Should I get my industrial piercings in one ear or both?
Q. How much does an industrial piercing cost?
Q. Where can I get an industrial piercing done?
Q. What gauge is an industrial piercing?
Q. How do I take care of my new industrial piercing?
Q. Why does my industrial piercing hurt?
Q. What kind of jewelry can I buy for my industrial piercing?
Q. Can I stretch my industrial piercing?
Answers to Common Industrial Piercing Questions
A. An industrial piercing is comprised of two piercings connected by a long barbell. The two piercings are typically spaced approximately 1.5” apart. However, the spacing largely depends on the size of your ear and the location of the opposing piercings.
A traditional industrial piercing is comprised of two helix piercings connected by a long barbell.
However, industrial piercings allow for various placements and configurations. For instance, you may choose to vertically connect two conch piercings; a rook and a daith piercing; an anti-helix and a rook piercing; or a daith and a lower conch piercing (just to name a few options!)
If you have the ear for it, industrial piercings can even connect four piercings at once: an anti-helix, a daith, a rook, and a lower conch. With this intricate industrial piercing, you can run two vertical industrial barbells side-by-side through the conch, or in a criss-cross pattern through the upper ear; this is called an “ear cage.”
A. When you get an industrial piercing, you can either let your piercing artist put in a standard industrial barbell, or you can ask for separate pieces of jewelry to wear until your fistulas fully heal. Some people opt for labrets, small seamless rings, small captive bead rings, short straight barbells, or mini curved barbells; mini curved barbells are particularly popular when a rook or daith piercing is part of the industrial piercing.
A. Cartilage piercings can stay tender for many months and take up to a year to fully heal. Sometimes simple, separate pieces of jewelry are more comfortable to wear during that extra-sensitive healing period.
Some people say an industrial barbell puts more pressure on their healing fistulas than individual rings or barbells, particularly when sleeping. Additionally, if you have longer hair, it’s more likely to get caught up in and pull on an industrial barbell.
If you go the traditional route and opt to wear an industrial barbell during the healing process, be sure to keep long hair tied back as often as possible, especially when you go to bed. Also, we recommend trying to sleep either on your back or the side of your body that isn’t newly pierced.
A. An industrial bar piercing and an industrial piercing are one and the same. There are a few other names for this type of piercing, including industrial barbell piercing, scaffold piercing, and construction piercing. In England, Ireland and throughout the UK, you may hear this type of piercing referred to simply as the “bar.”
A. There’s no “right” choice. You can have your right ear, left ear, or both ears pierced. It just depends on your preference.
Here’s one important factor to consider: If you’re a side sleeper, you may want to pierce the ear opposite the side you typically sleep on. Otherwise, you’re almost guaranteed to wake up with a throbbing, red, super-irritated ear every morning.
If you’d like to have a matching pair of industrials in both ears, you may want to start with one piercing. Then, after waiting a few months, you can pierce your other ear; this allows both ears ample time to heal and could spare you a lot of discomfort. However, if you choose to get both ears pierced at the same time, we recommend sleeping on your back.
A. The price of an industrial piercing varies from place to place. Generally speaking, the price is likely to be lower in a more rural area than it would be in a bustling city. This is because property is more expensive in bigger cities, which, in turn drives up the prices of shop services.
To see how prices compare in your area, call a few shops closest to you. However, price should not be your only deciding factor when it comes to getting an industrial piercing. We always encourage finding a piercing artist who comes highly recommended, is (preferably) certified by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), and works in a sanitary, licensed shop.
A. The best place to get an industrial piercing is at a licensed, reputable tattoo and piercing shop.
Ask your pierced friends for recommendations. Once you have the names of a few piercing artists who come highly recommended, look them up online to see if you can find any client reviews or pictures of their work. Narrow your choices down to one or two top picks, then visit their establishments to check out their portfolios and make sure their facilities are sanitary. You can ask to see their business licenses, their APP certifications, and even their autoclaves. Ask to see before and after pictures of their work (i.e. pictures of healed piercings in addition to freshly done piercings).
If your preferred piercing artist isn’t APP certified, don’t worry; that isn’t a deal-breaker as long as they meet the rest of your criteria and you’ve gotten genuinely positive reviews about them.
A. The starting gauge for industrial barbell piercings is typically 14g. If your piercing artist uses a 16g needle to make the holes for your industrial piercing, you can swap your starter jewelry out for a 14g barbell relatively easily once your piercings are healed. Either use a water-based lubricant like Astroglide to get the larger body jewelry in by yourself or ask your piercing artist to change your jewelry for you.
If at some point, you’d like to stretch your industrial larger than 14g, know that stretching your cartilage in a healthy way requires a lot of time and patience. Check out our article The Ins and Outs of Stretching Cartilage before you start.
A. The best industrial piercing aftercare regimen is basically the same as it is for every other external piercing: Keep it clean, avoid bacteria, eat well, and get plenty of rest. Refer to the list below for more specific ways you can take care of your industrial piercing:
- Avoid hot tubs, saunas, swimming pools, and natural bodies of water (saltwater and freshwater alike) to minimize exposure to bacteria.
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of alcohol, nicotine, and aspirin.
- Use a high-quality sea salt solution to cleanse your industrial piercing 3 to 6 times per day, or as instructed by your piercing artist. We recommend using Recovery Saline Solution.
- Avoid harsh soaps, creams, oils, ointments, and balms. Soap can dry the skin around your piercing, and cracked skin is more susceptible to infection. Thick substances like creams and oils can clog your healing fistulas, trapping in bacteria and potentially leading to infection.
- If you want to add a natural antiseptic and moisturizer to your routine, add 1 to 3 drops of tea tree oil to a homemade sea salt solution (SSS). You’ll find our recommended SSS recipe and more helpful aftercare tips in our Body Piercing Aftercare article, including determining whether or not you’re allergic to the type of metal in the jewelry you’re wearing, what to do if you suspect you’ve developed an infection, and much more.
A. It’s normal for an industrial piercing to hurt for quite a while after getting pierced. Some ear cartilage piercings stay sore for 6 to 8 months or more. How long you experience soreness/tenderness around your industrial piercing is related to where you are in the healing process. For example, when your piercing is fresh, your ear may throb constantly, but after a couple months, it may only be sore if you accidentally sleep on that side.
The average time it takes for an industrial piercing to heal is approximately 6 months. However, recovery time varies from person to person. Everyone heals at different rates. It depends on your aftercare habits and your health in general. Additionally, it depends on what kind of industrial piercing you have, since there are so many configurations.
There are a couple things you can do to minimize your discomfort during the healing process. When your ear starts to feel hot and throb, spritz on some Recovery Saline Solution or another high-quality sea salt-based solution to cool and soothe the irritated skin. You can also take some Ibuprofen for the swelling and discomfort if you can tolerate it. Icing your ear isn’t recommended, but you can apply a cold water compress as long as you only use the washcloth for a single application, then wash it immediately afterwards. Do NOT ring out the washcloth, re-wet it, and re-apply it; this could potentially introduce bacteria to the piercing site.
A. We have a massive variety of industrial barbells available to you. Most of our industrial barbells are 14g and 1-1/2” in length with external 1.6mm threading. Choose from stainless steel and titanium barbells with jewels, charms, and PVD coatings.
Our site also allows you to create your own custom industrial barbell jewelry for a more personalized look. Simply purchase a straight barbell with the right length for your unique industrial and pair it with 12g or 14g ends that have a matching thread pattern. We offer countless options when it comes to threaded ends: jeweled balls, surgical steel cones, and titanium dermal tops with jewels and synthetic opals.
If you’re still in the healing process and prefer to wear separate pieces of jewelry in each of your ear cartilage piercings, we have plenty of other options for you, too. Remember, you can wear captive bead rings, labret studs, short straight barbells, or even short curved barbells in your ear cartilage piercings.
Shop for body jewelry now and get to creating your unique look!
A. It’s not impossible, but it does take a lot of time and patience — much more than stretching soft tissue.The least traumatic way to stretch your industrial piercing would be to wrap your barbell with stretching tape. Stretching tape allows you to go up a fraction of a size at a time without as much trauma to your cartilage. Put plenty of time in between stretches, at least twice as long as it took your cartilage piercings to heal initially, if not longer. For more information and tips, check out The Ins and Outs of Stretching Cartilage first.
Have more questions? Refer to the Ear Piercings section of our forum to read about other people’s experiences. Plus, post your own questions and receive answers from other pierced community members.