The term “industrial piercing” is actually slightly misleading since the industrial actually requires two piercings at once. If you are familiar the anatomy of the ear, the piercings are placed in the portions of the ear known as the helix and the anti-helix (or forward helix).
Industrial Piercing: What are They?
In laymen's terms, the first piercing site is located right above where the ear connects to the side of the head, and the second is on the back of the ear and can be anywhere from right below the curve at the top of the ear to about the middle of the back of the ear.
There are a few variations on the piercing sites for industrials; however, this placement is the standard one. As for the variations, the vertical industrial goes straight through the top of the ear to the very bottom of the ear. There are also double and triple industrial piercings, which can be placed in various sites.
Whether you get a standard industrial or one of the variations, the two piercing sites are then connected by a long, straight barbell. The original piercing is usually done with a plain steel or silver barbell with balls on the ends. After the piercings heal, you can find industrial barbells with all different types of ends on them: skulls, hearts, dice, etc. The jewelry, itself, can be unique, as well. You can get curved barbells or ones shaped like lightning bolts, just to name a few.
Industrials became popular in the early 2000's with the punk and goth crowds; however, lately the piercings have become more mainstream, and you can find them in the ears of just about anyone from the neighborhood goth to the head cheerleader to the soccer mom.
Where You Can Get an Industrial Piercing?
Industrials are pretty standard piercings for any piercer. These are not piercings you can get at your local Wal-Mart or Target jewelry section, but you can usually get them done at any tattoo/piercing shop. Make sure you go to a licensed shop with a good reputation. Anytime you are allowing someone to push a needle through any part of your body, you're taking a risk. Minimize that risk by using clean, trusted shops for your piercings and/or tattoos.
The Process of Getting an Industrial Piercing
An industrial cannot be done with a piercing gun. It must be done by a trained piercer who will push a straight needle through one hole and then the other before connecting them with your chosen barbell.
Will It Hurt?
These piercings are just like any other piercing in that the level of hurt you'll experience will depend greatly upon your tolerance for pain. The industrial piercings are pushed through two spots of cartilage on your ear, so if you've ever had a cartilage piercing, you know about what to expect.
It shouldn't hurt too badly during the actual piercing process if your pain tolerance is normal to high, but keep in mind that you are getting two piercings at once, so a larger portion of your ear will be sore. You should expect some soreness for the next several days, and you'll want to avoid sleeping on your side with your ear pressed directly against the pillow.
How Much Will It Cost?
The price of your piercing will vary depending on the shop you use and the type of jewelry you choose to pierce with, if you are allowed a choice. Although you are actually getting two piercings with an industrial, the piercer will usually only charge you for one.
Prices for this piercing typically range anywhere from $30 to $70, but these prices are subject to the discretion of the piercer, so it could potentially cost more. When choosing your piercer, though, don't let price be your motivating factor. You will save yourself a lot of pain and possible damage by paying more for a reputable, clean and experienced piercer than a cheap piercer who may not be as sanitary.
Normally, an industrial piercing takes about two and a half to five months to heal completely. Depending on your body's specific chemical makeup, though, it could potentially take longer.
The Aftercare Process
If you've ever had a piercing before, you already know the main points of aftercare. You'll need to keep it clean and dry and sanitize it regularly. Your piercer should be able to recommend a good cleaning solution and something for sanitization. There are various saline solutions that most piercers recommend.
If you notice dried blood or other crusty gunk around the piercing, gently brush it away with a clean, dry paper towel or piece of medical gauze. Never scrub or tug on the piercing or the area around it.
In addition to those main points, which you should follow for any piercing, there are a few additional tips for aftercare of an industrial. Firstly, try not to put pressure on the piercing. This means no sleeping on your side, no over-the-ear headphones and no resting the side of your face on the palm of your hand. For this reason, it is important that you only get one ear done at a time. After that piercing heals completely, then you can get the other ear done.
Do whatever you can do to keep your hair from getting caught in the barbell. Because it uses a longer-than-average barbell and because of its placement, the industrial piercing – especially the piercing site closest to the skull – is very prone to catching your hair. If this happens and you tug your hair, it can pull on the barbell and damage your ear, prolonging the healing process or even causing irreparable damage.
Should I Get One?
The decision whether or not to get an industrial piercing is definitely yours and yours alone. However, there are a few things to consider before deciding if this piercing is right for you.
Firstly, the standard industrial is done with a longer-than-average barbell. It is usually one to one a half inches long. If you have tiny ears, this piercing may not look right in them, and you might want to opt for something different.
Furthermore, depending on your body, skin and previous experiences healing from piercings, you may want to consider whether or not an industrial piercing is too risky for you. Cartilage piercings are often harder to heal than other types of piercings, and they are more prone to scarring and/or keloids, so if you've had trouble with these issues in the past, you might not want to risk it.
Finally, you have to remember that all of the cleaning and aftercare you have to do for a normal piercing is doubled for an industrial, so if you don't enjoy the aftercare/healing processes, an industrial might not be for you.