Industrial Piercing

I’ve always been fascinated by piercings; I remember begging to have my ears pierced, so that I could wear earrings. Earrings seemed so glamorous. When I was five my grandad took me to get my ears pierced, I can still remember the bite of the piercing gun and smell of antiseptic ointment. Walking out of the jewellers wearing my 9 carrat gold studs, I felt like a grown up lady.

I’m a massive Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and really loved Buffy Summers pierced ears, but I didn’t have the confidence to go and get them done myself. I lived in an ex-mining village, the kind of place where people would shout insults at you across the street if you didn’t look the same as everyone else. Once I got “Marilyn Manson” and “Goth” flung at me like insults, because I was wearing an all black ensemble. I was also blond and tanned.

Buffy Summers piercings, image from

It should also be noted that I am a huge fan of Arrow, and that Felicity Smoak is my style guru – she makes office wear exciting, and her accessories are always quirky and fabulous. I’ve been watching the show for a couple of years (I missed the first season until it was released on blu ray), and I became really curious about Emily Bett Rickards piercings. It was quite difficult to tell exactly what she had had done, at first I thought it was two individual piercings, but kept catching glimpses of something partially hidden by the helix of her ear. I read a few interviews on line and she mentioned that she had an industrial piercing, and that the only reason she had been able to keep it in for her first episode of arrow, was because it was a one-episode appearance.

Felicity Smoak piercings, image from arrow

In the UK an industrial piercing is known as a scaffold piercing, and it is two piercings joined by a bar; over the last few months I have been doing some digging on healing times, pain etc, and decided to take the plunge on Friday last week. I have to say it hurt. A lot. I went to a tattoo and piercing studio in the Leeds Corn Exchange called Red (they have the most amazing gold Queen Anne Chair with hot pink velvet cushions, swoon). The piercing cost £40, I had to fill out a few forms first and they ask when you last ate; I had just had a chai latte so I’m pretty sure my blood was all sugar at this point.

The piercer took a few minutes to clean the room and equipment, and then asked where I would like the piercing; I explained that I wanted the bar to fit under the helix as much as possible, and she advised that the placement depends on each persons ear, but she would try to position it that way. She measured where the holes would need to be and drew marks on my ear, and asked me to check the placement in the mirror.

When I confirmed that I was happy, it was time for the not so fun bit. The piercing is done using a needle, but first the area is anaesthetised with a spray, which was very very cold, and made my ear feel numb but freezing at the same time. I still felt the needle when she pierced the top of my ear though. It was a horrible sensation, which actually made me feel quite sick. The second piercing lower down on my ear didn’t feel too bad. The piercer put a plastic tube through both holes so that she could insert the bar, which was the strangest sensation, and also very painful. After she had screwed the barbells in place I felt flooded with adrenalin, almost drunk, and so when she asked if I was okay I said I was fine.

Shortly after the piercing was done. I was going through the "I can't believe I just did that" stage.

About an hour later the pain started to kick in, my ear way burning and throbbing, and I just wanted to go home. Which was when it occured to me that I sleep on the side of my head where the piercing was. Needless to say, I’ve had a few restless nights since Friday. Also washing my hair is a Nightmare. I was advised to clean the piercings with a saltwater solution of 1/4 teaspoon of salt to one cup of water and this does help with the swelling and the pain. It hasn’t bleed very much, but there is a very small swelling near the bottom piercing which I am keeping my eye on in case it is scarring.


I was told it should heal in about 12 weeks, which will be when I can swap the bar out, but I will probably leave it longer than that to be on the safe side. I love it, and can’t wait to start buying some awesome jewellery. I am dreading my appointment with the hairdresser in a few weeks though…eek.

Update available here.


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