Industrial Piercing vs Helix: Pick The One for You

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Are you stuck choosing between an industrial piercing and a helix piercing? 

In this guide, we’re diving deep into the industrial piercing vs helix debate. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each piercing and see how they compare in terms of pain, healing, edginess, and frequency of complications. 

What is the industrial piercing?

Industrial piercing - Industrial Piercing vs Helix: Pick The One for You


An industrial piercing is a two-in-one piercing where one long barbell connects two holes in the upper ear cartilage. The holes can be on any part of the upper ear, but they’re usually on the helix and antihelix. 

What is a helix piercing?

Helix piercing


A helix piercing sits anywhere on the upper ear cartilage. Depending on their exact position on the upper ear, there are different types of helix piercings, including forward helix, mid helix, double helix, triple helix, double forward helix, and triple forward helix. 

Industrial piercing pros and cons

It’s wise to weigh the pros and cons before getting any piercing. We’ve highlighted the good and bad of the industrial piercing so you can make an informed decision.

Here’s what’s good about an industrial piercing:

  • It’s an elegant and unique piercing; you’ll surely stand out wearing it. 
  • Straight barbells (the typical jewelry for industrial piercings) come in many fabulous designs. 
  • It’s a double piercing, so you can style it as two piercings in the future (wear studs or rings on each hole instead of one long barbell). 

On the other hand, here are a few cons to remember:

  • An industrial piercing takes a long time (sometimes up to 12 months) to heal. 
  • Industrial piercings are very painful. 
  • Not all ears can get an industrial piercing. You need the proper anatomy.  

Helix piercing pros and cons

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the helix piercing.

Here’s what you’ll enjoy about a helix piercing: 

  • There are different types depending on your preferred position on the ear.
  • You can wear different types of jewelry (studs, barbells, or hoops) on a helix piercing.
  • Helix piercings are elegant; you’ll stand out with one. 

On the flip side, here are some disadvantages: 

  • Helix piercings hurt because they are cartilage piercings. 
  • You can’t wear headphones while your helix piercing heals. 

Industrial piercing vs helix piercing 

Industrial piercing with jewelry
Industrial Piercing


Helix Piercing
Helix piercing


Now, let’s compare the industrial piercing to the helix piercing. We’ll use factors you’ll likely consider when choosing a piercing, like pain level, healing time, and frequency of complications. 

Pain levels

Helix and industrial piercings are both cartilage piercings, so they’re painful. However, the industrial piercing is more painful because it involves two holes in the cartilage. You’ll deal with the pain of the first hole and then a second one. 

The pain level of a helix piercing is about the same as an industrial piercing; however, helix piercings involve just one hole unless you’re getting a double or triple helix. On a scale of 1-10, industrial piercings rank at 8, while helix piercings rank at 6. 

Ear anatomy

Industrial piercings are picky with ear anatomy. You need a well-folded upper ear and a flat inner ear to get one. If you have ridges inside your ear or your upper ear is flat, you cannot get an industrial piercing. 

There are different types of helix piercings (depending on the position), so you can adjust your helix piercing spot depending on what your ear anatomy allows. If your anatomy isn’t suitable for a specific placement, you can get a different type of helix piercing (like a forward or mid helix). That said, a piercer may decide that your ear isn’t best for a helix piercing. It’s rare but possible. 

Healing time

An industrial piercing takes 6 to 12 months to heal. On the other hand, helix piercings usually take 6 to 9 months but can also take up to a year. Since the helix and industrial are cartilage piercings, they take about the same time to heal. 


Both helix and industrial piercings are prone to infections, rejection, or scarring. ChildrensMD mentions that 30% of cartilage piercings (including helix and industrial) get infected even with proper care.

An industrial piercing has two holes closer to the hair, which may experience snagging and, thus, possibly more complications than a helix piercing. 


The industrial piercing is the queen of edgy ear piercings. It makes a bold statement with its unique position and stylish charm. 

Helix piercings are also considered edgy, but not as much as industrial piercings. If you want a daring piercing that makes you stand out, your best bet is an industrial piercing. 

Frequently asked questions

If you’re still curious about the industrial piercing vs helix piercing, we’re answering some common questions.

How painful is a helix piercing?

Pain tolerance differs from person to person, but most people rate the helix piercing at a 6 out of 10. So it’s more painful than a lobe piercing but less painful than an industrial piercing. 

Is the industrial piercing the most painful?

Yes, an industrial piercing is the most painful ear piercing. And it’s easy to see why—it goes through the cartilage twice, forming two holes.  

But stepping outside the box of ear piercings, some body piercings are more painful than industrial piercings. Examples are nipple piercings, genital piercings, and dermal piercings. 

What ears can’t get industrial piercing?

Ears with thick inner ridges cannot get an industrial piercing because the ridges will obstruct the barbell. Also, if the end of your upper ear is flat (without enough fold), you can’t get an industrial piercing. You need a proper fold to hold the industrial barbell at the right angle. 

Does an industrial piercing hurt more than a helix?

Yes, an industrial piercing is more painful than a helix piercing. But if you’re used to getting double cartilage piercings, you may not find the pain level different. 

Some people with multiple helix piercings say they found an industrial piercing just as painful as their previous cartilage piercings. 

Which ear piercing heals the fastest?

Lobe piercings heal the fastest. They’re flesh piercings (not cartilage), so they’ll heal in 4 to 8 weeks. 

How painful is an industrial piercing?

On a scale of 1-10, the industrial piercing has a pain level of 8. It’s best to prepare yourself for a lot of pain when getting an industrial piercing. But you may find it less painful if you have a high pain tolerance. 

Industrial piercing vs helix: Which one should you choose? 

industrial piercing with jewelry
Industrial piercing


Helix piercing with jewelry
Helix piercing


Now, the big question: Which should you choose between an industrial and helix piercing? 

If you want to show off the most daring piercing and don’t mind the pain (perhaps you have a high pain tolerance), go for an industrial piercing. If you want a stylish piercing with an average pain level, go for a helix piercing. As we’ve already highlighted, each piercing has its good and bad; it depends on what matters the most to you. 

Choose your ear cartilage piercing 

Industrial and helix piercings have similarities. They’re cartilage piercings, take a long time to heal, and can get complications quickly. But they also have their differences, making choosing between them easier. 

Choose an industrial piercing if you want an edgy, daring, and bold piercing. A helix piercing is your best bet if you want a less painful and stylish piercing. Choose one according to your preferences, and you’ll have a piercing you can genuinely love.

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