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Your ultimate guide to...

Industrial (scaffold)
piercings

Learn everything you need to know about industrial, or scaffold piercings, including benefits, pros and cons, the procedure, costs and more.

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Written by Mikeyy, body piercer

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Is a professionally-trained body piercer
Has professionally performed this piercing on others
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Body piercings have emerged as a powerful means of self-expression, allowing individuals to showcase their individuality and personal style. Among the many popular piercing options, the industrial piercing, also known as a scaffold piercing, stands out as a bold and unique choice. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of industrial scaffold piercings, covering everything from the piercing process to aftercare, along with important considerations for those considering this captivating style.

What is an industrial piercing?

An industrial piercing is a combination of two piercings connected by a longer single barbell, typically placed horizontally through the “helix rim” of your ear towards the top. The industrial piercing is certainly a statement piece because of how much it stands out with it’s scaffold-like, extra-long jewelry that connects the piercings.

The honest truth about industrial piercings is that a lot of people’s ears aren’t actually suitable for these to last the test of time. Keep reading to find out more.

A woman getting an industrial scaffold piercing

Types of industrial piercings

The most common type of industrial piercing you see is known as the helix-to-anti-helix placement. The bar is usually angled at about 25-45 degrees, where one side is at a normal helix position and the other comes out just above where the top of your ear connects to your head. The exact placement depends on the anatomy of your ear. A few other combos we’ve seen include the rook-to-daith, vertical double conch, daith-to-lower conch, or anti-helix-to-rook variations, but these are usually pretty rare.

Industrial piercing benefits, pros and cons

Here are some of the benefits, pros and cons to getting an industrial scaffold piercing:

  • Pro: They’re a huge statement piece and look AWESOME!
  • Pro: There are lots to make these piercings even more unique. You can often find jewelry with spiralled stems and gemstone stems to make it really stand out.
  • Pro: They’re actually two piercings in one, so you’re getting more for your money even if you don’t want to have a bar connecting them together in the future.
  • Con: They’re not very discreet, so some employers might be funny about them or not let you wear them at work.
  • Con: They’re very prone to being annoying healers, and take a long time to heal.
  • Con: A lot of people’s ears arent built for scaffold piercings if your helix rim isn’t pronounced enough.
  • Con: It’s technically two piercings in one, so it’s more to look after.
  • Con: They’re not suitable for everyone. If you have small ears or a “helix rim” that doesn’t stick out very far, it’s more likely to reject.

Do industrial piercings hurt?

The level of pain experienced during an industrial piercing can vary from person to person. However, it’s generally considered to be more painful compared to standard earlobe piercings due to the unique nature of the placement. Industrial piercings involve connecting two separate holes in the upper ear cartilage with a single piece of jewelry, typically a long barbell.

The piercing process itself may cause some discomfort, as the cartilage is thicker and denser than the soft tissue of the earlobe. Additionally, the healing period for industrial piercings tends to be longer, and during this time, you may experience soreness, tenderness, and some swelling. It’s important to note that pain tolerance is subjective, and what may be painful for one person might be more manageable for another.

How long do industrial piercings take to heal?

Most industrial piercings take at least 3-6 months to heal, but as it’s actually two piercings in one, industrial piercings can often take 12 months or more to fully heal from the outside in.

Some piercers choose to do this piercing in one go with the same needle, but I personally never do this because the needle starts to get blunter immediately after the first piercing. I always recommend to my clients that it often heals better if I do the piercing with two separate piercings and not put the long bar in at all until it’s fully healed, however at a bare minimum, you should ask your piercer to use two separate needles as this can aid with healing.

Industrial piercing

What gauge are industrial piercings?

Most industrial piercings are pierced at either 16G (1.2mm) or 14G (1.6mm) gauges.

What size bar do industrial piercings need?

The length of the bar you use for industrial piercings totally depends on your ear and where it’s pierced. Most bars are around 300mm (3cm) long, but to get an accurate length, get a friend to measure the length between the two holes with a measuring tape and add a few mm to each end so it’s not too tight. The balls on each end should never squeeze your ears together or push into your ear. A bar too short is a sure-fire way to irritate your piercing and might even cause it to migrate.

How to care for your industrial piercing

Proper aftercare is crucial to promote healing and prevent infection for an industrial piercing. Here are some general tips to help you take care of your industrial piercing:

  1. Cleanse with saline solution: Use a sterile saline solution or a saline wound wash to clean your piercing twice a day. Spray or soak the piercing for a few minutes to help remove debris and bacteria.
  2. Avoid touching the piercing: Resist the temptation to touch or rotate the jewelry excessively, as it can introduce bacteria and irritate the piercing. Only handle the jewelry when necessary, and always make sure your hands are clean.
  3. Be mindful of clothing and hair: Take care not to snag the jewelry on clothing or hair while getting dressed or brushing your hair. Loose or flowing hair should be kept away from the piercing to prevent tangling.
  4. Avoid submerging in water: For the first few weeks, avoid submerging your piercing in bodies of water such as swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, or oceans. These environments can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection.
  5. Be cautious during physical activities: Be mindful of your industrial piercing during activities that may put stress on the piercing, such as contact sports or activities that involve helmets or headgear. Consider protecting the piercing with a soft, padded cover if needed.
  6. Don’t remove the jewelry prematurely: It’s essential to keep the initial jewelry in place until the piercing has fully healed. Removing the jewelry too early can lead to closure or cause complications. Consult with your piercer before changing the jewelry.
  7. Avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide: These substances can be too harsh and may delay the healing process or irritate the piercing. Stick to saline solution or a saline-based wound wash recommended by your piercer.
  8. Maintain good hygiene: Keep the area around the piercing clean and dry. Avoid using hair products, cosmetics, or creams on or around the piercing until it has fully healed.
  9. Watch for signs of infection: Be vigilant for any signs of infection, such as increased pain, excessive swelling, redness, pus, or a foul odor. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention promptly.

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a professional piercer for specific aftercare instructions tailored to your individual situation. They can provide you with personalized advice and monitor the healing progress of your industrial piercing.

Keloids and bumps on your industrial piercing: What they mean, and how to go get rid of them

Bumps on an industrial piercing can be a common occurrence and are often a sign of irritation or a minor infection. These bumps can manifest as hypertrophic scars or keloids, which are raised, thickened areas of tissue. Here’s some information on what these bumps mean and how to address them:

Hypertrophic scars

These bumps typically form around the piercing site and are more common during the initial healing stages. They are a natural part of the healing process and usually resolve on their own over time. Hypertrophic scars are often caused by factors such as trauma, excess friction, improper jewelry, or inadequate aftercare.

To help reduce hypertrophic scars:

  • Maintain good aftercare: Follow the aftercare instructions provided by your piercer, including proper cleansing and avoiding irritation.
  • Avoid touching or manipulating the piercing: Excessive touching or rotating the jewelry can contribute to the formation of hypertrophic scars.
  • Use saline solution: Continue using saline solution to clean the piercing and help reduce any potential irritation.
  • Avoid applying harsh products: Do not apply alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other harsh chemicals to the piercing, as they can exacerbate the issue.

Keloids

Keloids are less common than hypertrophic scars and tend to extend beyond the boundaries of the original wound. They are an overgrowth of scar tissue and can be caused by a genetic predisposition. Keloids may require medical intervention to treat effectively.

If you suspect a keloid:

  • Consult a healthcare professional: A dermatologist or healthcare provider experienced in keloid treatment can assess the situation and recommend appropriate treatment options.
  • Treatments: Treatment options for keloids may include corticosteroid injections, silicone gel sheets, cryotherapy, laser therapy, or surgical removal. These methods aim to reduce the size and appearance of the keloid.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s healing process is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you have concerns about bumps or any other issues with your industrial piercing, it’s best to consult with a professional piercer or a healthcare provider who can assess your situation and provide specific advice tailored to your needs.

Ready to get an industrial piercing?

If you’re inspired and ready to get your scaffold/industrial piercing, simply click the button below to find a professional piercer near you.

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