Just when you thought there weren’t any more piercings to learn about, the industrial piercing circles back round. Popular in the nineties, now celebrities including Kylie Jenner, Miley Cyrus and Ashley Tisdale have been spotted with the barbell or ‘scaffold’ piercing through their ears. Two piercings in one, if you’ve been considering doubling up, here’s everything you need to know about the helix focused adornment.
What is an industrial piercing?
Also known as a ‘scaffold’ piercing because of the bar that goes through your ear and the fact that you’re essentially ‘constructing’ a piercing, an industrial piercing is “typically two piercings through the helix and forward helix connected by one ling bar that joins them together,” says Jess Sellars, piercer and owner of The Luna Collective.
How painful is an industrial piercing?
It’s going through cartilage which is always going to be more painful than the fleshy part of the ear such as the lobe, plus you’re having two piercings instead of one so don’t expect it to be pleasant. But it is totally manageable and over in a flash. You might have to sleep on the other side of your face for a while though.
What sort of ears can’t get industrial piercings?
If you have smaller ears or don’t have a prominent ridge, it could be trickier to get an industrial piercing and Jess admits that “many people do not have the right anatomy for this piercing.” From her experience, “the most common reason is that the flat of the ear is too curved, which means if the bar was to sit across it, it would end up indenting and causing a lot of problems,” she says. “Another reason is that the outer rims of the ears can be too thin, so it is more likely to grow out. However there are many piercers that bend bars, use other constructive pieces or simply design something to flow down the flat of the ear.”
Do industrial piercings heal badly?
Honestly – they’re not the most straightforward piercing to heal because there’s two of them, plus the bar that connects them. “The pressure of the bar between two piercings can be a pain which is why it’s super important to make sure that the client has the right anatomy. You also need to make sure you go for regular checks and downsizes as there can be so much movement so irritation bumps are common with these piercings,” says Jess.
Is there specific aftercare for an industrial piercing?
Like with all piercings – don’t fiddle – that transfer of germs and bacteria is a fast-track to getting an infection. Make sure you keep it clean – a sterile saline spray such as NeilMed is a good shout and Jess recommends applying it to the piercings several times a day, always remembering to pat it dry. “Drying is super important as any excess moisture can irritate it,” she warns.
What else should I consider before getting one?
You need to be prepared that you might not have the right ear shape for starters (no offence) and because they’re trickier to heal, you need to be patient as it could take up to a year. You might also find it difficult to sleep on that side for a long period of time with many piercers recommending a travel pillow so if you suffer with sleep issues already, this could put another spanner in the works.
That said, they are a versatile piercing and lend themselves to many different looks. “You can have vertical ones, floating ones, multiple ones – in the world of piercings, they’re one of the most diverse,” admits Jess.
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