Industrial Piercings: Guide & Images

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 15, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Though the name may sound technical, industrial piercings aren’t boring, run-of-the-mill piercings. They have a unique look to them and if you want a piercing solely to draw attention to yourself, this is a good one to get.

If you aren’t sure what an industrial piercing is or how to take care of it, our guide will break it down for you.

What Is An Industrial Piercing?

Industrial piercings are located on the ear. Rather than one single hole, they use two holes through the cartilage of the ear. The two holes are linked together by one barbell. When you get a traditional industrial piercing, it almost looks like someone has installed a little chin-up bar right across the top of your ear.

Although, industrial piercings don’t have to go across the top of the ear. You can get other placements with this type of piercing. They can run vertical to your ear instead of horizontal. The choice is up to you.

What Happens During An Industrial Piercing?

Your piercer will set up everything he needs to do the procedure. Some of the tools he’ll need include a hollow needle, the jewelry and the disinfectant he’ll use to clean the surface that you’re having pierced.

Your piercer will wash their hands and tug on some gloves. That will help protect you from any germs that remain on their hands, but it will also protect them from your blood. They’re unlikely to forget to put them on, yet if they do, ask them to do so. It’s in both of your best interests.

They’ll then mark the locations of the piercings. They might even opt to draw a line between the two piercings, just to give you both a better understanding of how the finished product will look. If you don’t like the alignment between the two piercings, now is the time to speak up so they can tinker with it and find one you are happier with.

After you agree to the alignment, they’ll make the first hole and put one end of the jewelry in. Next, they’ll make the second hole in your ear and put the other side of the jewelry in.

Any blood that you shed will be quickly whisked away. They’ll finish the procedure with another layer of disinfectant to make sure your piercing site is free of bacteria.

Before you head out to check out your new piercing in your mirror at home, your piercer will go over your aftercare instructions with you. If there is anything you don’t understand, be sure to ask them about it. You’ll need to understand and follow all these instructions.

Industrial Piercing Pain – How Much Do They Hurt?

You’ll have to keep in mind that you’re getting two piercings, not just one, when you opt for an industrial piercing. Therefore, any pain you would ordinarily feel with a piercing will be doubled just because you’re going through the procedure twice.

Considering the piercing is passing through cartilage which doesn’t have a lot of nerve endings, the industrial piercing pain won’t be overwhelming. It will hurt less than having an IV placed for instance.

You might even end up feeling more mental anguish than you will actual physical pain. The idea of getting one piercing, let alone two, is enough to send some people over the edge. It’s easy to psych yourself out into thinking something is going to be worse than it really is.

If you find yourself getting really anxious about the prospect of having a needle pass through your ear twice, try to think about anything else other than what your piercer is going to do to you. In your mind, think about what kind of jewelry will look great with your new piercing. Think about how cool you’re going to look and feel once all the smoke clears.

Having something more pleasant to concentrate on will help you mentally manage any pain you’ll feel. Plus, you’ll find yourself more relaxed and less worried.

After the procedure is over, you’ll feel achiness in the ear for a few days. Some people say that the piercing is the easy part. Dealing with the constant soreness for those first days can be worse than the pinch you’ll feel during your piercing.

While you shouldn’t place ice directly on your piercing, you can put a cold, wet washcloth on it to relieve the pain. Just make sure you only use that washcloth on your ear once and that you don’t try to put more water on it, wring it out and use it again. Once you use it, it has to be washed before you use it again to cut down on infection risks.

If the discomfort still proves to be too much for you, consider taking ibuprofen to help make you more comfortable. While that’s unlikely to completely take away the pain, it will be able to help. Sometimes that little bit of relief is enough to make you feel a lot better about your situation.

How Much Does An Industrial Piercing Cost?

It’s always a crapshoot trying to estimate costs because so many factors can impact how much you pay. If your piercer is still wet behind the ears, obviously they won’t be able to charge as much as a seasoned professional would.

Which part of the world you’re getting your industrial piercing in will also play a role in how much you’ll pay for it. You’ll pay more in a city than you would in a small town. Though, on the flip side, those small-town piercers won’t do the procedure as often as higher-volume shops would. Therefore, while you may be paying more, you’ll be getting a more experienced piercer.

If you’re looking for a ballpark figure so you can work some wiggle room in your budget for your industrial piercing, count on spending between $30 to $90 on your piercing. At some spots, the price might end up on the lower side of this price range, but, in some areas, you might pay the higher amount.

It can be frustrating that everyone doesn’t charge the same rate. Nevertheless, you should be able to find a great place to have your industrial piercing done at a reasonable rate if you do some calling around. It’s a good idea to comparison shop until you find a person you feel good about and a price that you can live with.

Instead of focusing solely on the price you’ll pay, look at it as an investment in your future and your health. By far, the important thing is that your piercer will do a great job and pay attention to hygiene while he’s doing it.

What To Do Before Getting An Industrial Piercing

Think about your lifestyle and how much maintenance you’re willing to put up with before you book an appointment for your piercing. Your day-to-day routine should help you decide if you want a vertical or horizontal industrial piercing.

If you have long hair that you’re constantly brushing and grooming, maybe a horizontal industrial piercing wouldn’t be the best bet for you. You might find that brushing your hair is a lot harder with the bristles getting caught on the horizontal bar. With a vertical piercing, there would be less risk of pulling on the piercing and causing a lot of unnecessary pain.

On the day of the appointment, you might find yourself tempted to dress up in your coolest outfit so you can feel like a rock star when you exit the parlor with your new piercing intact. On the other hand, if your coolest outfit is a snug shirt you’ll have to pull over your head, you should leave that in your closet instead.

Your best bet is showing up in loose, old clothes that you don’t care about and that are easy to put on and take off. There’s a chance you could get some drops of blood on them. You don’t want those clothes to be all stained up when you get out of there.

You also don’t want to wear anything that will yank at your piercing when you try to change clothes later in the day. For the first week or so, you’ll want to choose your wardrobe with absolute caution. You’ll have plenty of time to look hot once your industrial piercings have healed. Go with comfort for now.

Industrial Piercing Aftercare & Cleaning Guide

As with any other piercing, your piercer will instruct you to soak your new wounds with a sea salt solution at least twice a day until your piercing has healed. Cleaning an industrial piercing isn’t hard, but it’s important to do it properly and regularly. Two piercings mean twice the amount of wounds for bacteria to try and infiltrate.

If you do end up getting a small number of bacteria into the site, the sea salt solution may help flush it out before it becomes a big problem.

Making the sea salt mixture is so simple a child could do it – all you do is mix a quarter teaspoon of sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water. The water has to be warm enough that the sea salt will dissolve easily, but cool enough that you’ll be able to put it on your ear without causing more agony.

Alternatively, you can buy pre-made mixtures that are great for pushing along the healing process quickly and effectively.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​

Although you might believe that putting other solutions, like hydrogen peroxide, on your piercing sites is a good idea as well, you shouldn’t use them. They can actually slow down the natural healing processes of your body.

Before you begin cleaning your piercings, start with clean hands. If you don’t, you may be sorry later. It only takes a few seconds to wash your hands properly, but the payoff for doing so can be big. It can be enough to keep any infections out of your ears.

In addition to doing washing your hands, you should take every precaution to not accidentally tug at your piercing. That can happen from brushing your hair and even scratching your ear. If you can, keep your hands off your piercing as much as possible. Skin can heal quicker when you aren’t touching, rubbing or messing with it.

If you use hair products to keep your hair under control, watch out when you apply them. Spraying that stuff onto your piercing site can be a setback for the healing process.

How Long Does An Industrial Piercing Take To Heal?

There is a wide range of healing times for industrial piercings. If you have luck and you’re diligent about following aftercare instructions, you might be fully healed in a month. That’s not the typical healing time though. It could take twice or three times that long, and for some people, healing can take six months.

Even though the healing time may not take long for some people, it’s still not a good idea to get industrial piercings in both ears simultaneously.

If you want to get industrial piercings in both ears, common sense might tell you it would be a good idea to get them both done on the same day. That would be a big mistake, however.

It can be hard to find a comfortable sleeping position if you get them both done at once. Sleeping on the side you’ve had an industrial piercing placed in is really uncomfortable and can make you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like your ear is going to explode.

At least if only one is done, you can sleep with the opposite side of your head resting on a pillow. That will bring you some relief. That won’t work if you’ve got fresh piercings in both ears. The only position you’ll be able to sleep in comfortably if you do both at once is flat on your back.

Industrial Piercing Infections

If you talk to people who are getting industrial piercings, one of their biggest fears is that they’ll end up with an infection. While infections are fairly common, many people who get this type of piercing will be just fine. They won’t end up with infections.

If you’re the type of person who seems to always be living under a perpetual rain cloud and you have bad things happen frequently, there are a few things you can do to ward off those annoying infections.

While we mentioned handwashing earlier, it is worth repeating. Make sure you wash your hands well. One of the best ways to avoid infection is by cutting down on the bacteria that your own hands transfer to the piercing site.

You should also ditch swimming pools for a few weeks so the water there doesn’t cause an infection. That might make you want to consider carefully what time of the year you want these piercings done. If you can’t wait to hit the pool or beach every summer, you might want to postpone getting industrial piercings until the fall or winter.

To cut your risk, you can also keep close tabs on what your piercer is doing before and during your procedure. If he says he wants to use a piercing gun instead of a hollow need to do your industrial piercing, you should decline and get your piercing done somewhere else.

You might end up with an infection just from allowing that piercing gun to penetrate your skin. Piercing guns are impossible to fully sterilize. No matter how hard someone tries, remnants of other clients’ skin and fluids still linger behind. If you end up being pierced by that gun, you run the risk of getting an infection just from the procedure itself – before you’ve had a chance to screw it up with your own dirty hands.

Make sure to ask your piercer before you’ve agreed to anything how he’ll be doing the piercing. If he says piercing gun, he clearly doesn’t know enough about sanitation to be doing your piercing.

Finally, you need to be careful about using the wrong type of metal for your industrial piercing barbell. The longer your wound is unhealed, the greater your risk of infection. If you use a type of metal for your jewelry that triggers an allergic reaction, it will take much longer to heal. That leaves the window open for an infection to sneak in.

If you’re wondering if you have an infection, the smartest thing for you to do is to ask someone to check it out. Asking your coworker, friend or neighbor what they think isn’t a great idea – you need to ask someone who is more familiar with piercings and their complications.

You can always stop by your piercer’s shop and ask them for a quick evaluation or you can skip the middleman and head straight to a doctor’s office. That way, if you do need antibiotics to wipe the slate clean with the infection, you’ll already be with someone who can write you out a prescription.

Some of the most easily recognizable signs that you might be struggling with an infection are piercing bumps, pus leaking from your piercing site, hot-feeling skin around the hole, redness and swelling. A sign of a more advanced infection is fever.

Industrial Piercing Risks

As you are getting two separate piercings when you get an industrial piercing, you could be at a greater risk of complications than people who just have one piercing. You’ll have to spend twice as long taking care of your piercings. As long as you do double the work and don’t try to cut any corners though when it comes to aftercare, you can cut down on some of the risk.

With two piercings being done on the cartilage instead of skin, you do have a slight risk of excessive bleeding. When you wound cartilage, as you do with a piercing, the bleeding you’ll have won’t clot as quickly as it would with a skin piercing. That can lead to a longer time of bleeding than an earlobe or navel piercing would.

While there may be more blood, you won’t be in danger of passing out from it. It’s not enough to have a physical effect on you. You might start panicking and embarrass yourself a bit, but at least you won’t be in mortal danger. Only your pride will be wounded.

You could also develop some long-lasting unsightly skin problems from your industrial piercings. If you or your family are known to develop keloids after skin injuries, you could end up with a big-looking scar that makes you feel a bit freakish.

If you end up with keloids around your industrial piercing, it can make you feel bad about how you look. Yet there are some ways to reduce their appearance, although they will be fairly expensive routes to take. You can get laser therapy or cortisone injections.

Industrial Piercing Jewelry

While some people may want to wear barbells right away when they’ve had their industrial piercings done, others may want to wait until their piercing sites have fully healed. If they prefer, they can wear studs or other individual earrings until they are ready to switch jewelry in a few weeks.

That can be a good choice for someone who worries about snagging their barbell on their hairbrush.

Although you may have gotten your industrial piercing with the intent of wearing a barbell, there’s no written rule that you have to stick with that at all times. Once your ear is all the way healed and you’re able to change jewelry as frequently as you want, you could change up your look by switching to labrets, curved barbells, captive bead rings and more.


If you think industrial piercings look awesome when you see them on other people, you’ll love how they make you look and feel once you have one yourself. You’ll be glad you decided to be fearless and go for what you wanted.

By following the advice in this article, you’ll have a beautifully healed industrial piercing in no time – and it’ll be time for you to be the one causing industrial jealousy.

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