The Forward Helix Piercing: Everything You Need To Know

Located where the top rim of the cartilage meets the head, the forward helix piercing offers an adorable look perfect for those seeking something a little more discreet. Offering a bit of a different aesthetic than the standard helix piercing—which appears at the opposite end of the top rim of the ear—the forward helix piercing looks fantastic on its own or in combination with other cartilage piercing types.

As with every piercing, before you make an appointment with a piercer, there are a few things that you need to research first.

Here’s a brief guide to the forward helix piercing, healing times, and what to expect.

How Much Do Forward Helix Piercings Hurt?

Cartilage piercings are among the most painful piercings to get. This is likely due to the brittle nature of cartilage. Just be aware that you will feel a fairly substantial pinch as the needle goes through your skin.

That being said, your comfort level can be greatly improved by the quality of your piercer. If you choose an experienced, reputable piercer (as you always should), they will perform the piercing in a manner that elicits the least amount of pain.

They’re able to do this by wielding the needle in a smooth manner, guiding you through breathing exercises, and creating a positive experience overall. If you’re nervous about the pain of the piercing, check out reviews to gauge the style of the piercer. It could mean a much easier process for you.

Forward Helix Piercing Healing Process

Cartilage piercings, including the forward helix piercing, take around six months to heal, but they could take longer. Cartilage is avascular in nature, and the lack of blood flow means slower healing times. The longer healing times also mean that cartilage piercings are more susceptible to piercing complications, like piercing bumps.

If you’re unable to commit to the healing period for any reason, then this is a piercing that you shouldn’t get. You’ll need to adhere to the aftercare rules for the entire healing period (until a piercer confirms that you’re fully healed), otherwise, you run the risk of certain complications.

Aftercare Rules

Using a piercing aftercare saline solution, spray or soak your piercing 2 - 3 times daily to clear it of all debris and bacteria. When you do so, make sure that you keep the jewelry as still as possible and that you fully dry the piercing after rinsing it. You can use the low setting on your blow dryer to accomplish this.

Besides daily cleaning, here are some other things that you must keep in mind as your forward helix piercing heals.

  • Keep your piercing as dry as possible. Some piercings bumps form because of dampness. Therefore, after you shower, sweat, or are otherwise damp, you need to do your best to keep your piercing dry. Using a clean paper towel, you can dab the area dry, or as mentioned above, keep a dryer handy and dry it off with the low setting.
  • No baths, pools, or standing water. Keep to showers only as your piercing heals. Soaking the piercing in water causes a bunch of issues, like piercing bumps and possible infection. Remember that cartilage piercings can take up to a year to heal, and you’ll have to stay out of the water for that entire time.
  • Keep an eye on the size of your jewelry. Since the forward helix piercing is located near the hairline, the jewelry is super easy to snag. This is an extra problem with cartilage piercings since the cartilage is so brittle; a bad tug could seriously damage your piercing. As you get used to the jewelry, consider styling your hair away from your ears to avoid snags. You should also refrain from wearing hats and headphones that will press against the jewelry.
  • Never twist or move the jewelry. If you get crusties around the piercing, simply soak them away. Twisting the jewelry can cause irritation and other damage.
  • Don’t be afraid to contact your piercer with questions. They want your piercing to be successful. Too often, new piercees attempt to self-diagnose any piercing problems which only makes them worse. If you feel as though something isn’t right, give your piercer a call. They’ll be able to assess the situation and give you proper advice so that you can nip any problem in the bud.

Forward Helix Piercing Jewelry Styles

Since the forward helix is located in a somewhat tight area, you’ll want to stick to smaller pieces of jewelry. Small hoops, captive bead rings, and circular barbells are quite popular as well as petite cartilage studs.

If you’d like to get creative, you can even attach piercing accessories, like a chain, to your piercing to create a loose hoop or connect two different cartilage piercings.

Fast Facts


Outer, upper cartilage directly above the tragus.


5-6 out of 10


3-9 months


$30-$60 for the piercing only, plus jewelry

Why Shouldn’t I Get A Forward Helix Piercing?

Forward helix piercings require a substantial healing time. If you can’t commit to the full healing period, then you shouldn’t get this piercing.

During the healing period, you will have to stay away from water and refrain from wearing tight hats and helmets that might press against the piercing. If you’re involved in a sport or activity that requires these things, then you should consider a piercing in another location.

If you’ve had difficulty healing cartilage piercings in the past, then the forward helix piercing won’t be different. Sometimes, you have to cut your losses and realize when a particular piercing isn’t for you.

FreshTrends Tip

Wash the piercing site two-three times a day with unscented soap or saline solution until fully healed.

Forward Helix Piercing Cost

In the US, you can expect to pay $30 - $60 for the forward helix piercing, not including the jewelry. This cost will vary depending on the city. When shopping around, your priority should be on the expertise of the piercer, not the price. If you find an excellent piercing with raving reviews at a lower cost, it’s a bonus, but the low price should not be the selling feature. Do yourself a favor and save up for the high-quality experience.

If you’re able to commit to the healing period, the forward helix piercing can be a fantastic option, especially if you’re looking for a piercing that’s more acceptable in professional settings than others. It’s also perfect for those who love the look of piercings but don’t want anything too bold.

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