What is Industrial Bar Piercing?

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You’ve definitely seen regular earring holes – just in the earlobes – in which you can wear standard sized earrings. These are the most common for women. You’ve probably also seen spacers, which are earrings – or more very large round circles – that make huge holes in the earlobe. You start small and you’re your way into larger spacers that create larger holes.

More than likely, you have probably also seen cartilage ear piercing where the outer rim of the ear is pierced. However, have you ever seen a barbell in someone’s ear extending from one side of the ear to the other (from the outside to the inside close to the head)? If you have then you may have been wondering what it is. If that is the case, then we are fixing to tell you!

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So, What Is It?

Industrial bar piercing is a specific type of body piercing. A body piercing is when an opening is created on the body in which a piece of jewelry – be it an earring, barbell, etc. – can be worn. Also known as ear cartilage piercing, industrial bar piercing goes an extra step, as it consists of two connecting holes that have been pierced with a long barbell, which is just a long piece of jewelry similar to what you might see in a belly button piercing.

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Known most commonly as industrial piercing in the States and scaffold piercing or construction piercing in IRL and the UK, this type of piercing consists of two holes being connected that have been pierced with a lone straight, long piece of jewelry, also known as a barbell. You could also say that it is the double puncture of the upper ear cartilage. Regardless of what you call it, though, it is the same exact piercing.

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The two helix piercing is the norm in industrial bar piercing. The helix cartilage around the outer part of your ear – the folded rim of your skin. It isn’t soft like your earlobe and is instead of the hardest skin of your ear. While this is the standard, it doesn’t mean that it is the only type of industrial bar piercing. At the end of this article is a short description of another type of surface bar piercing.

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The Helix and Anti-Helix

Specifically, there are two piercings made with bar piercing in the ear. These two bar piercings are known as the anti-helix, which is the piercing closer the head on the outer rim of the ear, and the helix piercing, which is located diagonally from the anti-helix piercing lower on the outer cartilage, away from the head.

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The straight barbell is placed in through the initial piercing, which is the helix piercing on the outer most of the ear, and then is taken through the second piercing, which is the anti-helix piercing. Once the long straight barbell has been taken through both pierced holes successfully, a screw on bead will be placed on the end of the barbell behind the anti-helix piercing, or the second piercing that is closest to the head.

Industrial Bar Ear Piercing Healing Process

If you’ve ever had any part of your cartilage pierced then you know it takes more time to heal than your earlobe, for example. When you have two holes in your ear cartilage as the result of the surface bar piercing, you can rest assured that ample time will be required in order to heal properly and thoroughly.

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Typically, the healing process of the bar piercing can take as few as three months and could actually be a whole calendar year before it is completely healed. During this time, the bar piercing in the ear is prone to infection – and in fact, is more susceptible to infection than anything else as there is an open hole in the body.

Industrial Bar Piercing Jewelry



Throughout the duration of the bar piercing healing, industrial bar piercing jewelry is worn. The standard barbell jewelry that is worn for the ear bar piercing is about 14g and is created with a sterilized hollow piercing needle. CBRs, or captive bead rings, are often used in the place of the bar piercing barbell. If CBRs are used, then the captive bead rings are replaced with the long barbell once the healing is fully complete.

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The reason that captive bead rings are often used instead of the barbell is because the CBRs often result in much faster healing times. However, this particular technique – the use of captive bead rings in the place of the long barbell for industrial ear piercing – can create improper alignment of the bar piercings. This means that when you take the CBRs out after the healing process is complete and replace them with the long barbell, it may not line up perfectly.

Aside from CBRs, some individuals will use a flexible tube made from plastic. The process is still the same as above. The plastic tube is kept in the ear during the healing process and once fully healed, the plastic tube is then replaced with the metal barbell.

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The Cage

When you have two holes in your ear – the helix and the anti-helix – it is known as an industrial bar piercing or surface bar piercing. It is just a single cartilage bar piercing. However, when you jump the gun and have two or more industrial bar piercings in a single ear, creating four or more piercing holes, you have created a cage.

Industrial Piercing Info & Aftercare

Getting Your First Industrial Bar Ear Piercing

Commonly referred to as a surface bar piercing or a construction piercing, an industrial bar ear piercing consists of two holes In the cartilage, the outer rim, of the ear that are connected by a sole barbell.

This can be a scary piercing for many, so it’s always nice to know what to expect before you go to the shop to get that bar ear piercing. In addition, it’s always helpful to know how to choose the most adequate shop for the industrial bar piercing. Here’s some tips, guidance and advice on industrial bar ear piercing and what to expect for your first time.

The Shop and Piercer

When it comes time to get your first industrial bar ear piercing, you need to first consider the location and find an experienced piercer. First and foremost, you want to find a piercing shop that puts safety and hygiene at the top of their list of priorities. Call around to compare prices and at the same time, ask about their experience and sterilization methods. It’s always, and I mean always, better to be safe than sorry!

The Process of the Industrial Bar Ear Piercing

Once you’ve selected a location that you feel completely comfortable with, you need to make certain that the piercer follows adequate procedures.

  • Most piercers are always going to setup every piece of their equipment prior to doing anything else.
  • Once the equipment has been properly setup, hands should be washed and gloves should be put on.
  • Next, the piercer should disinfect the ear that is going to be pierced.
  • The piercer will then take a marker and draw needle points where the needle is to be inserted as well as rough lines of the angle of the bar ear piercing.
  • Generally, they will make certain that you are content with the angle prior to proceeding with the actual piercing.
  • Once the setup process has taken place and the piercer is about to do his magic, he’ll probably ask for you to take a deep breath and exhale, at which point he will push his single-use hollow needle through your ear cartilage for the creation of the first hole.
  • The same will take place for the second hole and the industrial bar piercing jewelry will be placed in your ear.
  • The piercer will clean up any blood and disinfect the ear once again.

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