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Industrial Piercings 101- A Look at these Popular Ear Piercings

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Let’s talk about Industrial piercings! These piercings skyrocketed in popularity in the 90’s and 00’s and were all the rage for a long time. If you were cool, you had an industrial, and I can attest to this as I personally BEGGED my parents for an industrial at 14. It was all I wanted in the entire world and I fought tooth and nail to get permission to get it done. It also failed after less than a year. As cool and cute as industrials are, they are also one of the most difficult ear piercings to execute correctly, and for clients to heal. At 14 I was not ready nor experienced enough for this piercing. So today we are going to break down the industrial, and understand what goes into getting one, and healing one!

Not for Beginners

Piercing can sometimes be like learning to drive a car. Some piercings are easy to get done and heal, like trying a car out in a parking lot to empty back roads. Some are intermediate to heal, like driving down the main street of a town. And some piercings are challenging, like your first time on the highway. You wouldn’t learn to drive by starting on the highway right away, and likewise an industrial is not a good idea for your very first piercing. These piercings can be quite unforgiving, meaning a really good accidental snag, sleeping on them often, or hair products getting in and on them can cause them to fail easily. I typically suggest clients get virtually any other ear piercing first and get some practice in healing something else before jumping into an industrial. Once you’ve healed one cartilage piercing you have a better idea of little things like how to take a shirt off without catching it, how to answer the phone without smacking it, and you’ve hopefully mastered sleeping on just one ear! Starting slow is the boring, but responsible choice. And if 14 year old Lynn had done that, she probably would have healed her first industrial haha! I learned this lesson the hard way personally, which is why I feel so strongly about it these days! That being said iff you are adamant this is the only piercing you ever want, I will do an industrial for you, I just strongly encourage you to have healed at lease one or two other piercings first.

Anatomy is Everything

Industrial piercings are anatomy dependent. This means your ear needs to be shaped correctly to support an industrial piercing. Two main factors effect this. The outer ridges of your ear need to be developed enough to hold a piercing, and face each other for the piercing to fit. And the ridge in the middle of the ear must not interfere with the piercing either. Those are the main factors, but others can come into play. Sometimes a skilled piercer can work with custom jewelry and custom bending jewelry to make this work on a less then ideal ear, but this requires a very very experienced piercer. Bending jewelry also requires extra polishing steps in house, so if a piercer offers this make sure they are equipped to offer it correctly! Industrials can’t safely be done on everyone or every ear, so get an anatomy consult first to ensure you can get this piercing. And please don’t be too upset if you are told no! A reputable piercer won’t do a piercing on anatomy that can’t safely support it.

Angles are Also Everything

Anatomy matters, but once that’s set, angles are the next most important factor with an industrial. The two piercings must be angled correctly toward each other for the jewelry to fit correctly and the piercing to heal. There is little margin for error in piercing already, and virtually none in industrials. For this reason finding a piercer with plenty of experience, and photos of healed industrials is a great start. A great piercer will be willing to explain the angles to you if you ask, and also show you them with extra mirrors or photos to help explain things! If the angles are even slightly off the jewelry will put pressure on one or both ends, causing irritations and bumps. This is also why industrials can not be healed with two separate pieces of Jewlery. If the angles shift during healing, the bar will no longer align. An industrial must be pierced with and healed with a connected piece of jewelry. One of the main reasons I see major issues with these is poor angles. Unfortunately, not all piercers are created equally and many lack training and education to preform more advanced piercings safely. Doing your research and finding someone skilled enough to execute this correctly is essential!

Care is Crucial

Once you’ve got a great piercer, who has assessed your anatomy and given you a perfectly executed industrial, now it’s up to you to heal that puppy! And that is a process in and of itself. Industrials are fragile, being two piercings connected by a single piece of jewelry. A bump or snag to one end means a bump or snag to both. So you need to be extra cautious and delicate with them. These piercings can not be slept on while they are healing, which can take up to a year and sometimes longer. They also don’t play well with helmets, over the ear headphones, masks, and some glasses (make sure the arm of your glasses doesn’t hit the industrial in day to day wear! Avoiding accidents is also important. Be careful styling your hair, taking shirts on and off, and hugging friends. Anything where something could bump or catch the jewelry requires extra care! And when actually cleaning the piercing it’s important to be through. Crust and debris can collect under all sorts of nooks and crannies, and even hide under the bar. A good way to keep up with proper care is regular checkups with your piercer! These can be in person, or you can send them update photos through social media or email! Staying in touch means they’ll be able to monitor the healing and give you advice as it goes to keep things happy and healthy!

Industrials are super cool, super fun piercings with lots of jewelry choices! But they also aren’t ideal for everyone, and require a lot of skill and care to execute correctly and get to heal. Making sure to start setup for success with a good piercer, good jewelry, and proper anatomy is key! Once you have all that, it’s us to you to be diligent in your care with these tricky piercings

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If I’ve had an industrial that just won’t heal could I make it a helix instead? I don’t want to have to take it out completely if I don’t have to and I am willing to just have a helix but I’m not sure if it would convert properly?

Aug 27, 2023
Replying to

omg pls updates im literally going through the exact same thing??! if you took it out, are the holes visible?? does the helix look awkward or is it ok??

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