I have been interested in getting an industrial bar piercing in my ear cartilage for a while. It is simple in design but conceptually complicated. While it appears to be just a straight-across bar of metal, most likely 14 grams of stainless steel, it is actually held together by two ear cartilage piercings. So in order to perfect this piercing, the piercer has to visualize the right angel for maximum exposure and an easy healing process. For this piercing to work, I would need a good piercer who knew what they were doing, a strong ear that wouldn’t let me down, and a lot of saline and anti-bacterial soap.

  1. I was nervous

The only piercings I’ve gotten at this point were my two sets of earlobes done by some girls at Claire’s, which I would not recommend because you should always get pierced with a needle and never a gun, but my mother and I didn’t know any better. I also got my septum piercing at a tattoo shop. Even though I was familiar with the professional tattoo and piercing studio, I’ve never gotten my cartilage pierced. Everyone was telling me how much longer and more painful the healing process for cartilage piercings are, especially an industrial bar.

2. I needed to find a trustworthy studio

Luckily, my friend had gotten her nipples pierced at Village Tattoo NYC in Soho, and when I was holding her hand while her nipples were gently stabbed by a strange man, I realized that this studio was legit. So when the time for me to get my industrial, I already knew where I would be going. Coincidentally, I ran into the same man who pierced my friend’s nipples. He was a gentleman and used lube (his joke, not mine).

3. I have to sit through my ear being stabbed twice

Once is bad enough for a first timer, but somehow I decided to go big or go home and get possibly the most complicated piercing that I will ever get in my cartilage that day. In the end, it wasn’t so bad. He told me to take a deep breath in, and in my experience, I was so focused on taking a really deep breath in that I almost forgot that a needle was going through my ear, and following that a 14 gauge stainless steel bar was going to be replacing that needle. If you don’t know how thick a 14g is, here’s a little reference, most ear lobe earrings are 20 gauge which is 0.81 mm in diameter, and most stand-alone cartilage piercings are 18g (the smaller the number, the thinner it is). A 14 gauge is 1.63 millimeter in diameter, I’m in awe of how my ear hasn’t caused me to bleed to death yet.

4. The worst is over…or so I thought

My freshly pierced ear was still aggressively warm and red when we made out ways back upstairs where the piercer explained the cleaning procedures to us. He then said, “The piercing is always the easy part, it’s taking care of it that’s hard” I guess I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Now I was told to do this twice a day, and that every other day, and buying all these sprays and soap.

5. Taking care of this wound

This is perhaps the longest process, waiting for this damn piercing to heal. It is going to take at least 20 weeks, however, I have been advised to not remove the bar until a year and a half later because apparently just when you think it’s healed, it’s not and it will most likely ruin your life by getting infected after a year of cleaning and taking care of it.


I had a lot of doubts and worries about this undertaking, but seeing the actual piercing has made it worth it. I love the way it looks. Growing up, I was insecure about my ears cause they looked like… well… elf ears. They somehow grew sideways and are rather pointy. So this piercing is my way of showing that I have overcome this particular insecurity. Hooray for self-confidence! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my journey as much as I did writing about it during this roller coaster ride of an experience.