It's wild to think that 14% of the U.S. population has something other than their earlobes pierced. That's a lot of people! But, what types of piercings are they getting?
There are all sorts of piercings trending at the moment. One of which is known as an industrial piercing. An industrial is a unique and edgy body piercing that has recently grown in popularity.
If you're looking to get an industrial ear piercing, there are some basic things you'll need to consider before following through. In this guide, we'll cover the basics of industrial piercings, average cost, aftercare, and more. Keep reading to find out if an industrial piercing is right for you!
What's an Industrial Piercing?
An industrial bar piercing is two piercings in one. With these piercings, a surgical steel or titanium bar is run between two incisions.
The most common placement is at the top of the ear, with one incision in the helix and another in the anti-helix. Although this is the most popular, it isn't uncommon to see the helix connect to other parts of the ear, like the conch or daith.
What's the Process?
If you're a tad nervous about the process, it may be helpful to know how your ear is pierced. Here is a list of steps and what you can expect.
The first step is to prepare for the procedure. Your piercer will wash their hands, put on a pair of single-use gloves, and layout their tools. Everything should be new, individually wrapped, and opened in front of you.
Once everything is unwrapped, check to make sure that the industrial bar the piercer picked out is large enough to account for swelling and that they have the correct sized needle. This is the perfect time to ask any questions you may have before the piercer begins.
Similar to a tragus piercing, the piercer then disinfects the area. This makes it easier to pierce, cleans the area, and reduces the chance of infection.
Once the area is cleaned, the piercer then marks the spots where the piercing will line up. Don't hesitate to tell your piercer to adjust the location and change angles. Be sure to guide them, so they can give you the piercing you're looking for.
Piercing the Ear
When you're done adjusting, it's time to send the needle through the first mark. The jewelry immediately follows the needle through the first hole to line up with the second one.
Movement during this time can ruin the way the piercing connects. Relax while the needle goes through and try your best not to move.
Once the second hole is made, the piercer secures the bar in place and disinfects the area once more. When the piercer finishes, they'll discuss aftercare, cleaning, and payment with you.
The aftercare instructions and packages offered vary by shop. A good shop completely briefs you on what to expect while healing. Most even offer free supplies for cleaning and taking care of your piercings for the first few weeks.
How Much Does an Industrial Piercing Cost?
Even though you received two piercings, you'll only be charged for one. The average cost is $30-70. Be prepared to leave a 15-20% tip as well; you're piercer will greatly appreciate it.
Do Industrial Piercings Hurt?
Industrial piercings typically hurt the same amount as any other cartilage piercing. Because there are two of them, there may be more tenderness and soreness in the area. It's likely the first few weeks of healing will be uncomfortable, but this will decrease over time.
Choosing the Right Studio
Having the right piercer is crucial to your overall satisfaction with your new industrial piercing. When deciding which studio and piercer to use, it's best to do some research beforehand.
At the start of your search, look for professional shops and studios in your area that your friends, family, or community recommend. By going to a highly reputable location, you're better able to trust the professionals assisting you and have an improved experience overall.
Check out a few recommendations and compare them based on cleanliness, safety, experience, and competence. Talk with the staff and ask them questions about their processes and safety procedures. Note which shops made you feel the safest, were the most helpful, and had the best vibe.
Do not go to a shop that uses a piercing gun as these are unsanitary. Only receive piercings from shops that use individually wrapped and sterilized needles.
After you've looked at a few places, it's time to pick one. Choose the shop that meets most of your criteria, and that will provide the best experience for you.
Choosing the Right Jewelry
In most cases, industrial piercings use a straight barbell. These barbells are made from either surgical-grade stainless steel, implant-grade titanium, or gold.
Barbells are most commonly made from surgical-grade stainless steel because it's fairly hassle-free and come in a variety of colors. The titanium bars are used to prevent irritation for those sensitive or allergic to nickel.
While gold is sometimes used, it is rare. Ensure that the gold being used is 14K or higher as lower grades are softer, more likely to bend, and invite bacteria.
Be certain to avoid any metals you may be allergic to. If you're allergic to nickel, be sure to avoid stainless steel and opt for titanium or gold instead.
You'll want to pick a barbell large enough to handle swelling. The most common gauge sizes are 14, 16, and 18. If you're uncertain about sizing, chat with the piercer and let them help you decide.
It's recommended to wear a straight barbell throughout the healing process to prevent scarring and other damage. Avoid jewelry that has lots of decoration to prevent snagging and pulling.
Once the piercing is fully healed, feel free to change the jewelry to something more your style.
Important Aftercare Information
Typically speaking, your piercer provides you with an info packet that teaches you how to properly care for your new piercing. This will include a daily cleansing routine, their recommended products, and other tips for successful healing.
While the shop covers most of the healing process, there is some additional information you'll want to know before getting your piercing that we have outlined for you below.
How Long Will it Take to Heal?
On average, industrial piercings will heal within 2-3 months or longer. The healing process for cartilage piercings moves from the outside in. So, even though your piercing looks healed, it very well may not be.
You'll know the piercing has fully healed once there is no more discharge, the edges of the wound are smooth and pull inwards, and the jewelry moves without pulling your piercing with it. If you have any questions about whether your piercing is healed or not, consult your piercer and have them inspect it at a follow-up meeting.
Tips to Make the Healing Process Easier
The healing process can be painful for the first few weeks. Here we've provided a few tips to help ease your pain.
Cleaning Your Piercing
First, be sure to clean the area properly. Following a strict cleaning, timeline helps prevent infection. It's best to use a salt-based solution that your studio recommends or that you make at home yourself.
To make it at home, mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized or sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Once you've made your cleaner, soak your piercing in it for 7-10 minutes, 2 to 4 times a day.
Things to Avoid Doing
Even though it may be tempting, avoid touching your piercing while it heals. Excessive touching leads to scarring and improper healing, which may force you to pierce it again. It can also be very painful while your ear is still sensitive.
Additionally, you'll want to be careful to not snag your jewelry on clothing or hair. Use caution while brushing your hair, and pay close attention when putting on or taking off blankets, towels, and clothes. If you like to wear sunglasses or headphones, it's wise to avoid wearing sunglasses and to vouch for earphones instead while your piercing heals.
Dealing With Pain
It's also smart to invest in plenty of your preferred over-the-counter pain medication. Your ear may be sore the first few days or weeks after the piercing. Having these around can help make the healing process a little more comfortable.
Getting Better Sleep
Having painkillers can also help ease the pain while trying to fall asleep. Do your best to fall asleep on the side opposite of your piercing. This helps prevent irritation, swelling, and pain.
If you've pierced the ear on the same side, you sleep on, use a travel pillow. Position it so that your ear rests over the hole with minimal pressure. This will help you get a better night's sleep and prevent irritation.
Ready to Get an Industrial Ear Piercing?
Now that you know everything you need to, you're ready to get pierced! Industrial piercings are one of many unique piercings that are rising in popularity.
Before diving in, be sure to carefully select a shop and piercer who follow sterilization and safety procedures, are knowledgeable, and provide a welcoming environment. For more information about body piercings, shop expectations, and body jewelry, check out our blog.