Industrial Piercing Information & Aftercare
There are several different methods to piercing the industrial. The industrial is usually a scaffold piercing that joins the helix and the anti-helix part of the ear, however, it can also join other parts of the ear such as a vertical double conch, a rook-daith, an anti-helix-rook, and a daith-lower conch. It is possible to have more than one industrial in a single ear. In theory, with the right jewelry it would be possible to run 4 different piercings through a single barbell – anti-helix – daith – rook – lower conch but this would be highly unusual. It is technically two piercings and many piercers choose to heal both as separate piercings before putting a single scaffold bar in as this creates less pressure on the holes and reduces the risk of keloiding. Scaffold piercings are more prone to keloiding because if the holes are not perfectly lined up then they will cause pressure on the rim of the piercing hole which can create scarring.
Will it hurt?
The most common question is whether it hurts, and the answer is YES. Since there are technically two piercings your body produces endorphins and other chemicals to cope with the pain of the first one, this doesn't happen for the second when the ear is already inflamed and tender so the second hole is much more painful. The initial pain won't last more than a second or two but the piercing can remain sore for the first month.
The difficulty of an industrial piercing to heal also makes it much more painful in the long run. You'll find that it is tender for longer than most other piercings and because it is more likely to get infected your healing time may be longer.
The standard industrial barbell is 14g size, the length will vary depending on the diameter of your ear. Industrial piercings are not usually stretched as cartilage does not do well with stretching and most industrial jewelry only comes in 14g. It is important at first that your barbell is longer to accommodate swelling during healing. Once it's healed you can downsize so that the balls are snug to your ear. What you don't want is for the barbell to be so snug that those balls become embedded. If you keep the longer bar it is more likely to get snagged in hair or on clothing.
Many piercers choose to give you two studs or hoops to start with as this makes healing easier and this is very often the case with piercings that are not the traditional helix – anti-helix scaffold. If you're finding that your piercings are especially painful or that the bar is migrating it may be best to ask to switch to two separate pieces. However, you won't want to change jewelry again until it's healed if that's the case as this disrupts the healing process and can cause scarring. The issue with this is that the piercings may not align properly when you want to put an industrial bar in which can cause keloiding.
Healing an Industrial Piercing
Most industrial piercings take 2-3 months to heal. The first week involves a lot of swelling and it will gradually go down. These piercings are one of the trickiest to heal and they can have cyclical healing where sometimes they seem great and at other times it seems like healing has regressed.
You want to avoid sleeping on an industrial piercing because it adds additional pressure on the jewelry. It will be more likely to have scarring if you sleep on it. You'll also need to try and avoid snagging it or catching it when brushing your hair. When cleaning your industrial piercing it's important to avoid using harsh cleaners like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. It's a difficult area to do a saltwater soak on so it's best to use a compress instead. Clean the piercing using a solution made of 1 gallon distilled water to 4 tea spoons of non-iodized sea salt. You can also use the same solution on the compress.
What if I get a Keloid?
Since industrial piercings are so prone to keloiding this is a common question. Keloids are small bumps of scar tissue that form when a piercing isn't healing correctly or because something is putting pressure on the jewelry (like sleeping). To get the keloid to go down you can apply a small amount or tea tree oil directly to the keloid or you can do compress soaks with the saline solution for 7-15 minutes twice a day.