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Infected Industrial Piercing Signs, Pictures and How to Treat It

Do you have an infected industrial piercing and you do not know what to do about it? Or would you like to know the signs and symptoms, how to heal, clean or treat an industrial ear piercing infection including one that has a bump?

Industrial or scaffold piercing refers to a kind of piercing where two holes are connected with a jewelry piercing especially on the upper part of the ear cartilage.  This piercings “creates an attractive eye-catchy look” [bodypiercingmag.com]. Just like any other body piercings, they too are susceptible to infections. Let us begin our discussion with causes of these infection.

Infected Industrial Piercing Signs, Pictures and How to Treat It
cleaning an infected industrial piercing with a bump

Causes of industrial piercing infections

Industrial piercing infections are often caused by bacteria, viruses and/or other pathogenic microorganisms. Injuries, wrong jewelry, poor hygiene (during piercing and afterwards) and general negligence are what could encourage pathogens to attack you.

It is worthwhile noting that although new piercings are more vulnerable to infections, even old piercings can get infected too. We have in many occasions heard people talking about their infected industrial piercing after years. In some it happens after even 5 years. This proves that even after you have fully healed, you can still be infected.

Signs of infected industrial piercing and symptoms

Some of the common infected piercing symptoms you should expect include but not limited to the following:

  • Tenderness and soreness especially when you touch it
  • Prolonged redness around the piercing site
  • Swelling and distention that last for more than a few days in case of a fresh piercing
  • Green or yellow discharges or some pus oozing out
  • Abscess, bubble or bumps may appear
  • Burning sensation or inflammation
  • Bleeding in extreme cases
  • Fever in severe cases of infections

There are not the only symptoms you expect. If you notice any uncomfortable feeling, which persists for a few days, it could also be a sign.

Infected industrial piercing pictures

You have looked at the various signs of an industrial infected piercing. It is time to look at some photos or pictures to further illustrate how your ear might look like if you have an infected industrial bar piercing.

Severely Infected Industrial ear piercing - Swollen
Severely Infected  and Swollen

How to treat infected industrial piercing i.e. treatment and healing

The best ways to deal with any infected piercing is to see the piercer or a doctor for diagnosis. This will ensure you get the right treatment and deal with the problem completely. However, for minor infection, you can treat them even at home. Some of the common infected industrial piercing treatments you expect include the following:

Use of antibiotics and antibacterial ointments

Antibiotics can only be used after they have been prescribed. They could either the tropical antibacterial ointments, oral antibiotics or both. They are commonly prescribed for people whose infection is caused by bacteria which seems to be spreading to areas beyond the piercing site.

Note that it is not advisable to use any ointments or creams on a piercing unless advised so by a professional health care personnel since these products affect draining process and can lead to abscesses i.e. “is an infection that is trapped under the skin and is indicated by a darkening and hardening of the surrounding tissue, swelling and pain” [bodyjewelleryshop.com].

Saline solution

The second and perhaps the most popular way is to use saline solution. It will help in fighting infections in their initial stages and stop new infections. See more details on saline (sea salt and water mixture) solution use on our section on ‘how to clean an infected industrial piercing’

How to clean an infected industrial piercing

Once you notice an infection on your piercing, you need to know how to clean it to avoid further spread of the infection. The most recommended way is to use either saline solution or a piercing solution. We are going to discuss saline solution since it is a simple homemade remedy that can be of much help.

To begin with, you can prepare saline solution by mixing ½ a teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of clean lukewarm water. Use there solution to clean your piercing 2-3 times a day. Avoid over cleaning since it might interfere with the normal healing process.

During the cleaning process, dip a cotton ball in your salt solution and gently dab it on the infected piercing site. Ensure you remove any debris and any accumulated discharge.  In addition, ensure you clean as close to the infected industrial ear piercing as possible without removing your jewelry since it helps in draining the infection.

Infected industrial piercing bump or bubble

Just like most other piercings, these piercings might develop bumps or bubbles especially on the inner sides of your ear cartilage. These bubbles or bumps are a signs of infection and they should be treated.

The general way of treating piercing bump is the use of saline solution, applying aspirin, chamomile teabags, Epsom salts, bactine, polysporin, neosporin among other ways. Tea tree oil is what we will recommend since most people have found it working magic on industrial piercing infection bump.

Industrial piercing keloids
Industrial piercing keloid

Infected industrial piercing care tips

A new industrial bar piercing infection takes a long time to heal, more than three months (usually 6months to a year). Ensure you follow the aftercare steps you were given. This will reduce any chances of getting an infection. Some of the general tips that might be important include the following:

  • “Hydrogen peroxide and disinfectant soaps should be not be used d to clean pierced area unless recommended by professionals” [bodypiercingmag.com].
  • Avoid touching your infected industrial bar piercing with dirty hands
  • Go for gold or titanium jewelry since they are known not to cause any allergic reactions
  • Go for the correct size of jewelry since a short industrial bar piercing can cause necrosis i.e. the “constant pressure of the balls against your skin can cause the tissue to die” [painfulpleasures.com]
  • Avoid using your cellphone too close to your ear since it could be harboring a lot of pathogens
  • Avoid sleeping on the side of your infected industrial bar piercing.
  • Ensure hair care products do not come in contact with the infected area.

With this discussion, I hope you now know “what to do with infected industrial piercing” both to avoid infections and in case you already have an infection. Thank you.

Further recommended reading
References and sources

About Vladmir Kucherov


  1. I just got my industrial bar done a few days ago for one of my Christmas presents i love it now im kinda of scared that it will go wrong ive been takeing care of it right and stuff

    • Just be sure to clean it constantly…..mine just started to startbecoming infected so ii popped the puss and put alchohol on it…..but when y are doing this and or if the bar is out make sure to clean around it……✌

    • That’s really shewdr! Good to see the logic set out so well.

  2. Scarlett Franklin

    I got my Industrial monday. They only had one size bar left and it is to long for my ear. My aunt is a doctor and she said after another week or two i should change it because if i keep bumping it like i am it will never heal correctly.. but, i would like some more opinions.. what do yall think? The piercer didnt really tell me anything so im kinda lost except for the after care sheet.

    • I wouldn’t recommend taking your piercing out because at this stage it’s insanely prone to infection… my piercer also gave me a bar that was on the longer side so that in case it starts swelling it wouldn’t “swallow the ball”. What I would recommend, as most professional piercers do, is wait at least six weeks then go to a licensed tattoo and piercings place and get them to replace it for you. Make sure you know the gauge of the current bar so they make it the same size, and the length of the current bar so they don’t make it the same size, and if you’re really concerned about improper healing, go back whenever possible, maybe not to the same place, and they can give you more advice. I hope I’m not too late in sharing my advice…

  3. I got my industrial done on New Years Eve, I have been cleaning my piercing 3-5 times a day, and i have developed a little bubble on the outside of my ear. What should I do? Remove the piercing or keep it cleaned?

    • Keep cleaning it with the saline solution. Also go and get some tea tree oil that will make the ball decrease in size almost immediately, or over night. Do not take it out, and keep your hand off of it. Oh yea only use the saline solution 2 to 3 times per day 3 to 5 is to much and it can interfere with the normal healing of the site. Happy healing 😁

    • Contact your piercer. They are a professional who know what’s best.

  4. i got my industrial piercing on oct 5, 2016 and i have a bump on it and every time i take my bar out pus is all over it and blood but know that i put water and salt in a bowl and get a q-tip and put it on my ear i let it sit and i pour out all of the water and it be salt at the bottom and i get the salt and put it on the infected part my bump is going down

  5. Keloid scars are incredibly common with scaffolding piercings, I know, Ive now had one as a result of mine. Honestly, I would never suggest anyone gets a scaffolding piercing as a result of the problems that I had with mine. For the last few years Ive slowly had a keloid growing on the back of one of my scaffold piercings, as I had one in each ear, because I couldn’t see it and the bar pressed it down, I never truly knew how bad it was. It looked like the different ‘bumps’ you see in all the various pictures around the internet but was getting bigger and bigger.
    I had tried various home remedies over the years and googled my options but really there aren’t many good options available, at least not from the internet. I tried salt water solutions, apple vinegar, to injecting steroids into it and nothing made it go away. It was the first thing people would look at, you could honestly see their eyes going straight to it. I had my keloid surgically removed (at a very high price) and this appears to be only real option in terms of dealing with it.
    A keloid is excess scar tissue that your body creates after an infection and it keeps producing it. This is not something that is typically white people suffer from, however, apparently my DNA has now changed as a result of having an infection and feeling like it needs to continue produce scar tissue, meaning that I am prone to get them in future (…great). Keloids are a known common ‘problem’ with scaffold piercings!!! Something the piercer didnt know or chose not to tell me. Keloids are very unknown subject matter but the medical profession do know that over 50% often grow back (not great news) and grow bigger than the original growth (really not good news).
    Please do your research and if anything looks like its going wrong with your piercing, take it out immediately and seek professional medical advice, not advice from your piercer (who is not a trained doctor).

  6. My industrial is swollen and red and hurts when touched. What can I do to sort this? It is infected because I usually get crusty stuff and some leak of green liquid every now and then(only a bit) I use sea salt and boiled water to clean it but it hurts my ear. How can I reduce swelling?

  7. LaDonna Miller

    I got a daith piercing in Dec of 16 I have a small bump on top and small pea size on bottom does not hurt to bad not red nice in color what can I do to get rid of these bumps should I worry thanked

  8. I got my industrial over a week ago, and it is constantly red and i got some yellowish puss out of it. I cleaned it and changed my bar, then my mom packed Sea salt and water on it; Leaving it on my ear over night, it’s still red but i’m scared to move it or touch it at all because I don’t want it get more infected. Any tips on what I should do?

  9. I’ve had my industrial done a couple days ago and it doesn’t hurt anymore except when I touch it, it bothers me. How quickly can a keloid started forming?

  10. How Long does the bump last. If using tea tree oil 2-3 times a day?

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