If you are looking for an edgy and cool spot for a not particularly painful piercing, you need a helix piercing. The helix is an excellent choice for those who want to experiment with their ear piercings without being too daring. Located in the cartilage of the upper and outer part of the ear, it has been favored by some of the hottest celebrities and is a cooler alternative to lobe piercing but not as painful as a Rook or Industrial piercing. If you have been thinking about getting a helix or never heard of it, this comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to make that decision. This includes aftercare, the types of jewelry you can use, and what complications can arise.
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What is a Helix Piercing?
A helix piercing is a piercing in the upper and outer parts of the ear. It goes through the cartilage, and there are several ways to position it, depending on your preference. These include forward, lower and upper. You can also opt for double or triple helix piercings; this comprises of multiple piercings at once, giving you an edgy and cool appearance. How much pain you will experience depends on your pain tolerance, but it is not a particularly painful piercing, measuring around a five or six out of ten; where you place your helix will also affect the pain level.
Helix Ear Piercings
Forward Helix Piercing
The forward helix piercing is placed in the cartilage on the top of the ear, closest to the head. It faces forward and is above the tragus. The piercing can take around three to six months to heal fully and can be tricky to pierce because it’s narrow and hard to reach. Some believe the location has acupressure benefits, with the pressure point aiding blood circulation and muscle tension. It’s also sometimes called an anti-helix piercing
Triple Forward Helix Piercing
The helix is a surprisingly versatile piercing that can be adapted to suit your preference. This includes a triple forward helix, which features three small piercings above each other. Placed in the cartilage on the top of the ear, closest to the head, this piercing can be a little painful because it goes through the cartilage of the ear, but it is very trendy. For it to be fully healed, it can take anywhere between six to nine months, so be patient and continue your aftercare throughout this time to prevent infection and irritation.
Double Helix Piercing
The double helix means there is more than one piercing. These piercings will be placed just above each other and are often done at the same time. Helix piercings are cartilage piercings that can be placed anywhere along the upper and outer ridge of the ear.
Triple Helix Piercing
Like the double helix, the triple helix features multiple piercings positioned just above each other. The difference is that instead of two piercings, this option features three. It can be more painful to sit for three separate piercings, but it is a smart idea to get them done at the same time as healing can be long, taking as much as nine months; healing time depends on your body and the location of the piercing. The triple helix is appealing as it lets you experiment with your look.
Helix Piercing for Men
The helix is an appealing piercing for men and women. It can look edgy and cool but is not as painful as many other piercings on the body. The location of the piercing, which can be anywhere on the cartilage rim of the upper ear, has been a popular choice for women, but in recent years more men are getting pierced here, too.
Helix Piercing Pain Chart
Before getting any piercing, the question most asked is will it hurt? The truth is that this varies from person to person. You can expect some discomfort as the piercing goes through cartilage. The helix is not considered high on the pain scale and measures around three out of five. Where you place it along the ear can also influence the pain. The skill of your piercer will also impact the pain. For this reason, it is always recommended to get it done by a trained professional. After the piercing, you can expect some discomfort for around two weeks, and the piercing can take approximately six months to heal fully.
Helix Piercing Healing Time
After getting your helix pierced, you will experience pain in the area for around two weeks, but the actual healing time takes much longer. How long your piercing takes to heal depends on your body, but with proper care, it should heal within three to six months, although it can take as long as nine months for it to be fully healed. At this point, there should be no redness, soreness, or discharge. You want to avoid sleeping on the side of your piercing until it is healed. You also want to be sure that your piercing is healed before changing the jewelry; if you want to put in a ring, you need to wait.
Aftercare is essential when caring for any piercing. This helps you prevent infection, cartilage bumps, and scarring. You need to ensure your piercing is kept clean and dry; avoid it getting wet, and be sure to dry it well if it does get wet, as this affects healing. Use a saline spray twice a day and avoid the urge to touch and pull at the fresh piercing; touching it can increase the risk of infection. Saline is the best option for keeping the area clean without irritating it in the way that rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will. You will want to avoid sleeping on the side of the piercing to prevent discomfort and facilitate healing. You should also not put in a new piercing until it has fully healed.
Helix Piercing Cost
The helix piercing can range in cost depending on where you get it done and the chosen piercing studio. You can expect to pay around $40 to $70. It is important to select a trained and skilled piercer. This will minimize the risk of infection and will ensure any mistakes are avoided; they may cost more, but it is money that will be well spent. It is also important to remember that these piercings should always be done with a needle and never a piercing gun.
Side Effects of Helix Piercing
There are some side effects of getting any piercing, including a helix piercing. This can arise if there are issues with the aftercare or if the body rejects the piercing. Before getting your helix piercing, you should consider if you can care for the piercing adequately for the full healing time, which can be up to nine months, to prevent complications; if not, you should not get it. You are also more prone to side effects if you have underlying medical conditions, including a weak immune system or previous keloids problems.
Irritation Bumps: Your piercing could develop an irritation bump during healing. This is your body’s response to inflammation. They appear as small bumps around the piercing site and are flesh-colored or pink. Unlike keloids, irritation bumps will not grow in size and happen soon after the piercing. They do not typically require treatment and will disappear on their own, but seek help from a medical professional if you are unsure or if there is any sign of infection.
Rejection: Your body may reject your piercing. This can happen after a few weeks but can also occur months later. There are several symptoms of rejection to watch out for; these include the piercing looking red and swollen and feeling sore and irritated. Rejection is the body’s immune response to foreign objects. The good news is that non-surface piercings, like the helix piercing, are rejected less often.
Infection: Infection happens when bacteria enter the wound site. The area will feel sore, appear red and swollen, and can have pus. If you experience these symptoms, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional. It is important to deal with the infection immediately as it can be dangerous if left untreated, and other complications can arise.
Keloids: A keloid is a large scar that appears around the wound once it has healed. It can take several months before they appear. They are firm and rubbery and can start small but grow large. Keloids can be itchy and uncomfortable. They can differ in color, from dark to light pink, and can be complicated to remove. It is best to seek the help of a dermatologist who can advise you on the best methods for treatment or removal.
How to Change Out a Helix Earring
You have waited several months for your piercing to heal fully, and now it is finally time to change it; the most important step is to ensure it is healed. Changing the jewelry from the stud it was initially pierced with to a ring or a fresh new piece of jewelry is pretty straightforward, but it may be helpful to return to the piercer for the first time. You should always wash your hands before touching the piercing.
Type of Jewelry Used for a Helix Piercing
The helix piercing is incredibly versatile as it can be pierced in several positions in the cartilage along the upper and outer part of the ear. You can opt for a forward helix or double and triple helix piercings, and what you choose will also impact the jewelry you opt for. Initially, helix piercings will be done with a stud as it is better for healing.
Stud: A stud has a long thin back held in place by a fixture on the other side. It is a popular choice for men and women and is lower maintenance than rings/hoops; it is less likely to snag. They can be made from multiple metals and can have various looks, including gemstones. It is easier to change stud helix piercings, and they are not as noticeable, making them easier to wear.
Hoop/Ring: Opting for a helix piercing with a hoop or ring is a more noticeable and daring option. You can add a ring to the piercing once it is fully healed. You can experiment with different sizes and thicknesses, and rings are made from various metals.
Type of Metal Used For Helix Piercings
When getting your piercing, there are several metals to choose from, each with its pros and cons. The right choice for you will depend on your budget and your preference. Gold can look stylish and luxurious, but it can also be too soft. On the other hand, titanium is versatile and does not contain nickel.
Stainless Steel: You will need to choose surgical-grade stainless steel for the best results. It is one of the cheapest metals used for piercings and is an excellent choice if you want to change your jewelry often.
Gold: The best gold for piercings is 14K, as anything higher will be too soft. 14K gold does not have too much filler and is more durable than 24K. It is an excellent choice if you want to add some bling to your ear and will make the piercing more noticeable. It is not the best option for a helix piercing, but it does look good.
Titanium: Titanium is a great metal for piercings because it is versatile and comes in various colors. It is solid and non-allergenic, made without nickel, making this an excellent choice for those who have nickel allergies or sensitive skin. This is often the option used first for piercings and can make the healing process easier.
Helix Ear Piercing FAQs
Does helix piercing hurt?
A helix piercing will cause some discomfort because it is piercing through the cartilage of the ear, but it is not considered high on the pain scale. It is often rated between five and six out of ten. That said, the pain you will experience depends on your pain threshold.
How long does a helix piercing take to heal?
The healing period for a helix varies, depending on your body's reaction to it, but this is usually between six to nine months for it to fully heal. You will likely find it no longer hurts after two weeks to a month, but you need to continue your aftercare to prevent infection and irritation.
How Long Until Change Helix Piercing?
You need to wait for your helix piercing to fully heal before changing the piercing. This varies from person to person but is usually around six months. To know that your piercing has fully healed, there will be no pain, redness, or discharge.
How to Clean Helix Piercing?
You need to ensure that your helix piercing is properly cleaned and kept dry. You want to spray it with a saline solution twice a day. This is the best option for keeping it cleaned as other products, like rubbing alcohol, can be drying, which will make the area irritated. Do not twist or turn the piercing as this can slow down healing time. You should always wash your hands before touching your piercing.
When to downsize helix piercing?
The initial stud used to pierce your helix may be too big for your liking, but it is done because it will facilitate healing time. There is some debate about when the best time to downsize it would be, but most people agree that it should be fully healed first; this time varies from person to person and could be as little as three months to as long as nine. If you are ever unsure, the best solution would be to go back to the piercer and ask them for help changing out your piercing for the first time.
Cailyn Cox holds a degree in journalism and has been working with The Trend Spotter as a writer for over ten years. She has worked with some of the most prestigious women’s and men's lifestyle publications. For her, writing is not just a job; it’s a passion, which is why each article she writes is approached with such enthusiasm and dedication. She has extensive knowledge of hairstyles, tattoos, and beauty and has made a career out of creating informative articles that appeal to women and men of all ages.
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