Industrial vs. Traditional Body Piercings: What’s the Difference?

In 1992, Body Play introduced the industrial piercing to the body modification community and it’s been popular ever since. Today, the industrial piercing has made its way into popular culture; celebrities, such as Ashley Tisdale; Willow Smith; and Kylie Jenner, are known for having industrial piercings.

But what is an industrial piercing? How does it differ from a traditional body piercing? Read on for a thorough explanation.

What Is an Industrial Piercing?

An industrial piercing, also known as a scaffold piercing, is where a long barbell is worn to connect two or more ear piercings. While there are many different types of industrial piercings, the traditional version consists of two upper ear cartilage piercings: one on the helix and the other close to the head (anti-helix).

Different Types of Industrial Piercings

In order for an industrial piercing to heal properly, you must have the proper anatomy for it. Therefore, there are multiple versions of industrial piercings you could get depending on whether your anatomy suits them or not. These consist of:

  • The tragus through the conch
  • Vertical industrial piercing (vertical double conch)
  • Rook-daith
  • Anti-helix-rook
  • Daith-lower conch

Shop Industrial Piercing Jewelry

Industrial Projects

While an industrial piercing consists of a barbell connecting two or more ear piercings, an industrial project is when two or more piercings are connected using specialized jewelry. This could be a project containing four piercings that run along the outer rim of the upper ear.

How Is an Industrial Piercing Different from a Traditional Body Piercing?

When you go in for an ear piercing, whether it is a lobe or cartilage piercing, you only get pierced one time. An industrial piercing consists of two separate piercings, so you will be pierced twice.

Girl Stretched Ears & Industrial Piercing

An industrial piercing can be pierced in one of two ways:

The first way is to pierce through both holes with the same needle

The second way is to do two separate piercings, piercing the first hole with one needle and the second hole with a separate needle

A Note on Pain, Industrial Piercings & Aftercare

You know the saying “you’ve got to learn to walk before you can run?” Well, that saying kind of applies to industrial piercings. Some professional piercers do not recommend them as great first piercings. This is for a few reasons:

The pain level—since you’re technically getting more than one piercing, this will hurt considerably more than a traditional body piercing.

Aftercare—since you have to wear a much longer barbell to account for any swelling that will occur, it is very easy to snag on the barbell and irritate the piercing. Additionally, you cannot sleep on the piercing while it’s healing.

Rather than starting with healing what is essentially two cartilage piercings, some piercers recommend that you get one cartilage piercing and get experience healing it. During that time, you’ll learn how to take your shirt off without snagging the jewelry, how to avoid sleeping on it, and all the proper aftercare needed to heal it. Then, you can graduate to an industrial piercing.

The Main Point

An industrial piercing is a type of body piercing. However, instead of one piece of jewelry in one piercing, it’s one piece of jewelry (a barbell) connecting two piercings.

Written by Jackie Rachel

Jackie Rachel

Jackie Rachel is a poet and Content Account Manager. She has been getting pierced for over 16 years, while taking the time to learn proper aftercare techniques from the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) members. Always enamored by the jewelry options that exist for body modifications, she one day hopes to assist clientele with picking out jewelry and styling ears.