The industrial or “scaffold” piercing is any piercing in which two separate pierced holes are connected with a single piece of barbell body jewelry. Though an industrial piercing can be made anywhere, the term “industrial” is most often used to refer to this type of piercing when placed in the cartilage of the upper ear. Variations of this include the vertical industrial (usually placed in the outer cartilage further away from the head) and the cage piercing (more than one set of industrial piercings that cross over each other in some way).
The Industrial is often considered to be the most painful ear piercing, partially because the healing involves two pierced holes instead of one (thus often taking a few months to over a year to completely heal up), and in part because during the piercing process the jewelry used to connect the two piercings must be pulled through one piercing all the way to the other side of the ear and then forced through the second piercing. To shorten healing time, some piercers will allow the use of separate BCR body jewelry in each of the two piercings involved, but this normally isn’t recommended because once fully healed the holes may not line up properly using this method.
Industrial piercings are usually cleaned anywhere from three to five times per day with saline solution or non-iodized salt water and may be pierced with anywhere from a 12 gauge to a 16 gauge piercing needle, 14 gauge being the normal standard. The jewelry worn in these piercings will generally be a plain and simple surgical grade stainless steel barbell of slightly longer length during healing, which can then be changed out to barbells with spiked tips, crystals, designs or insignia in the center, or barbells that are waved or spiraled.
The great thing about an industrial piercing is that there are no designated gender associations with this piercing whatsoever. It is equally prevalent among men and women, in various different places in the ear that retain no significant cultural meanings, except to the wearer. This means that when it comes to placement, look, and jewelry style, the sky is the limit for fashion and fun.