The Helix Piercing: Everything You Need to Know – FreshTrends

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The Helix Piercing: Everything You Need to Know

The helix piercing is the most common cartilage piercing for both men and women. Located in the upper rim of the ear, this piercing type can appear closer to where the ear meets the face—otherwise known as the forward helix piercing—and anywhere along the top rim. Because of the plethora of placement choices, you can get creative with your aesthetic, and it’s suitable to double, triple, or even quadrupel pierce your helix.

Since your upper cartilage offers a big playground for piercings, you need to think long and hard about where you want your helix piercing located before visiting your piercer. Your piercer will be able to provide guidance, but the main determining factor of helix piercing location is your personal preference, so ultimately, it’s up to you.

Cartilage piercings have a significant healing period, and during this time, it’s susceptible to piercing complications like piercing bumps or other ear trauma. Before you get your helix pierced, you need to be prepared to commit to helix piercing care for the entirety of the healing period.

Here’s everything that you need to know before getting your helix pierced.

Helix Piercing Pain Level

Cartilage piercings are among the most painful piercing types. That being said, the discomfort should be swift. Furthermore, experienced piercers will guide you through breathing exercises in order to keep pain as minimal as possible. However, if you are sensitive to pain, you might want to consider a piercing in a less painful area, like an upper lobe piercing.

For a few days after piercing, you’ll experience throbbing, swelling, and light bleeding. In moderation, these symptoms are normal. If you experience these in excess, it may be a sign of a helix piercing infection.

Cartilage piercings are susceptible to complications like cartilage bumps, so it’s important to watch your piercing as it heals and refrain from moving the jewelry. Cartilage heals differently than soft skin, and it can be easily damaged during healing.

Helix piercing healing time

Cartilage piercings vary in healing times more than other piercings. Expect a healing time of at least 6 - 9 months. The piercing will appear healed on the outside before it has fully healed internally, so it’s important that you consult your piercer before stopping aftercare practices to confirm that the helix has fully healed.

Aftercare rules

Because of the complications that can arise during healing, the helix piercing requires special practices to avoid things like cartilage bumps or scarring. Here are some things to keep in mind as you heal.

Be careful as you clean. As with any healing piercing, you should conduct a salt bath or saline soak 2 - 3 times a day. However, with a helix piercing, be extra careful not to move the jewelry too much as you clean it. It’s a good idea to invest in a piercing aftercare fine mist spray, which you can spritz on the front and back of the piercing and let dry.

Keep the piercing dry. Every new piercing needs to stay away from dampness, but it’s especially important with cartilage piercings. Some piercing bumps appear due to damp skin, so you must take extra care to fully dry your helix piercing after cleaning. Either pat the piercing dry with a clean paper towel or dry it using the cool setting on the hair dryer.

Don’t move the jewelry. While any piercing can see skin trauma from moving the jewelry around too much, cartilage piercings are less forgiving. When cleaning your new helix piercing, be extra careful not to move the jewelry. Do your best to refrain from sleeping on the jewelry, and stay away from hats or headphones that might touch or move the jewelry during healing. 

Use clean pillows. You don’t want to know how much bacteria, dead skin, and other nasty things reside in your pillows. Take our word for it; you’ll want to consider buying a new pillow to use during healing. Additionally, change your pillowcase nightly to ensure cleanliness. If you don’t want to continuously launder your pillowcases, you can cover your pillow in a clean t-shirt every night.

Helix piercings

Helix piercing earrings

Now that we’ve discussed proper aftercare practices, it’s time to dream about the helix piercing jewelry you’ll wear after healing.

The helix piercing allows for endless individuality; the location of the helix piercing allows for tons of adorable jewelry styles.

A simple cartilage stud is a cute, subtle way to decorate your helix piercing. Small gemstones add a sparkly flair to the top of your ear, dazzling without being too loud. You can also show off your personality with super cute charms. You can opt for a flat disc back for a less noticeable backing, or you can choose a ball back if you’d like to decorate both sides of the ear.

Captive bead rings (CBRs) also look fantastic in the helix piercing. The combination of the hoop and the bead combines the best of both worlds. You can opt for a simple metal bead or choose colorful bead options like opals, gemstones, or even pearls.

Helix hoop earrings are among the most popular helix jewelry styles. Seamless hoops are great for a sleek, simple look. Many who have multiple ear piercings opt for this style because they complement the surrounding jewelry without overwhelming the ear. Clicker hoops and segment rings also offer a seamless aesthetic in a jewelry style that’s a little easier to insert into the ear.

Circular barbells are also a fantastic option for the helix piercing. These styles seem to be common with those who have multiple bead jewelry styles in their ears.

One reason why the helix piercing is so popular is because of the vast jewelry choices available. Take advantage of its versatility and try out many helix jewelry styles until you discover your favorite.

Why shouldn’t I get a helix piercing?

While nearly everyone can get a helix piercing, it does take significant time to heal. You need to be able to commit to the entire healing period, which can take up to one year. If you can’t vigilantly take care of your helix for the entire healing period, then you should opt for a piercing with a shorter healing time.

Helix piercing cost

You will most likely spend around $40 - $50 on your helix piercing. You may be able to find cheaper options, but piercer reputability is important, and you should always opt for the more expensive, experienced piercer. Failure to do so could result in cartilage damage.

You should never go to a piercer who uses a piercing gun for any piercing, but this is especially true for cartilage piercings. Piercing guns use blunt force to shove the jewelry through, which can immediately cause trauma to the cartilage. To avoid any issues, a super sharp needle must be used.

Helix piercing variations

As if there weren’t enough ways to individualize your helix piercing, the upper cartilage offers plenty of space for helix piercing variations.

The forward helix is placed in the upper cartilage where your ear curves right before it connects with your temple. The forward helix commonly sports cartilage studs with small charms or gemstones. It looks amazing combined with other helix piercing styles to create a chain of jewelry that lines the outer ear.

The double, triple, or even quadruple helix piercing is also very common. As you can probably guess from the name, these types consist of multiple helix piercings along the ear. Some people like to combine multiple helix piercings with auricle, upper lobe, and forward helix piercings to create a long chain of jewelry that goes the length of the ear. There’s little limit to however many piercings you want along your cartilage; just make sure that there’s enough space between the jewelry to safely change your jewelry and keep the integrity of the ear. If you want multiple piercings, it’s a good idea to get each piercing one-by-one so that you only have to worry about healing one piercing at a time.

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