The helix piercing is one of the most fashionable ear piercings in the world, having gained popularity in recent decades. And, for good reason!
Some people get worried about the pain of a helix piercing, and this can be enough to put them off the idea. However, as long as you follow the correct steps, you should have no issues at all with this new piercing.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know before getting your very own helix piercing, from the procedure to the healing process.
So, let’s get into it!
What Is A Helix Piercing?
Let’s start at the very beginning: what is a helix piercing, and where is it placed?
A helix piercing is a small hole pierced into the middle section of the upper cartilage of your ear. The piercing is named after the area of the ear – the helix – in which it is placed.
This section of the ear gained its title due to its resemblance to a DNA helix, a strand of DNA. The cartilage of the ear represents the strands of DNA, while the piercing itself represents the strands of sugar and phosphates.
The Three Types Of Helix Piercing
The helix piercing is, typically, a single piercing in the ear.
However, there are two other kinds of helix piercings that you can acquire: the forward helix, and anti-helix (AKA, the snug piercing).
The forward helix is located right above the tragus on the upper cartilage of the ear, whereas the anti-helix – or snug – is located on the cartilage flap inside the exterior cartilage.
Each piercing is placed slightly differently based on the shape of your ear. Since everyone’s ears are unique shapes, the placement may appear slightly different on each individual.
How To Prepare For A Helix Piercing
Before you rush away to book this piercing, here are a few things you should think about beforehand.
Choosing A Suitable Piercing Store
Once you have made the decision to get a new piercing, no matter what it may be, your first step will be to book an appointment.
There are so many places that will be able to pierce your ears. Some places will be cheaper than others, and certain places may be able to fit you in for an appointment sooner than other places. These may all be aspects that you are taking into consideration.
However, your safety should come before your time and your financial assets.
It is so, so important that you check out the safety ratings and regulations of each shop, as well as checking out reviews! If a place has a ton of negative ratings, you would be better off avoiding that shop.
You want to book in with someone who has experience with helix piercings, as any procedure that involves piercing cartilage is a little more advanced than a regular ear piercing. If it goes wrong, you may be more likely to receive an infection during the healing process.
Last piece of advice: do not get your helix pierced with a piercing gun. The blunt tool in a gun may shatter your cartilage, causing serious damage to the appearance of your ear. It is so much safer to get pierced with a needle.
Typically, the piece of jewelry inserted during the initial helix piercing is a simple stud. The client is encouraged to wear this stud until the cartridge has healed, as it is less likely to cause damage during the healing process.
Once their piercings have healed, most people tend to get a captive bead ring to fill the hole. Certain places will allow to immediately insert the piercing with a captive bead ring, or a simple clicker helix hoop. Rings and hoops are very popular for helix piercings.
Other types of jewelry that can be worn through a single helix piercing include:
- Push back studs
- Labret studs
- Circular barbells
- Horseshoe barbells
In some cases, people decide to get double or triple helix piercings. Others will already have other ear piercings. In these cases, there are pieces of jewelry that can stretch between two or more piercing holes, connecting through them.
Some of these include:
- Straight barbells
- Ear climbers
- Nipple rings
You can even mix and match pieces of ear jewelry if you like, creating fun and elegant looks with multiple piercings close by.
Eat And Rest Beforehand
The day you get your piercing, you will want to keep your energy levels high, as well as keeping your blood sugar up. This will lower your risk of fainting, or even feeling dizzy or lightheaded during the procedure.
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before you get your piercing, and take it easy during the build up to the appointment. You will also want to eat a good, healthy meal the next day, prior to the piercing.
Around an hour before the piercing, you will want to eat something sugary. A quick snack, such as a muffin or a candy bar, will boost your blood sugar enough to keep you stable.
Don’t Take Painkillers Or Alcohol Beforehand
For many years, individuals have stated that you should take painkillers before getting a piercing or a tattoo. The reasoning for this is because it’ll make the overall procedure less painful.
This is a bad idea.
For starters, over-the-counter painkillers will likely not even affect your pain threshold during the piercing.
If you took a paracetamol, and then someone punched you in the face an hour later, it would still hurt, right?
Okay, so while this may be a more extreme example, it should somewhat prove to you that popping a pill before someone stabs you in the ear with a sharp needle will do little to nothing.
Additionally, painkillers can thin your blood. This can, ultimately, cause excessive bleeding during the procedure, and bruising afterwards. It may also increase the risk of swelling and infection, which will lead to further (unnecessary) pain in the long run.
Alcohol reacts in a similar way to painkillers, so this should be avoided too. You may be tempted to have a quick drink before your piercing, to calm your nerves, but – trust us – it’s just not worth it.
In fact, you’re probably best avoiding alcohol for a couple of days following the piercing, too, just to be safe.
Does A Helix Piercing Hurt?
Ah, the most commonly asked question concerning piercings. Does a Helix Piercing hurt? How much does it hurt?
To answer the first question: yes, it will hurt.
A needle will be penetrating the upper cartilage of your ear. Unless you have an incredibly high pain tolerance, it is highly unlikely that you will not feel the piercing happening. And, yes, it will be painful.
Thankfully – just like any piercing – this pain lasts less than a second.
On a pain scale from 1 to 10, most people rate a helix piercing to be a 5. Some people rate it higher, while others rate it lower. Everybody has a different tolerance for pain, so it is quite difficult to tell how each individual will feel during the procedure.
The important thing to remember is that the pain will only last a second, and then, it’s over! And, if you ask us, that short moment of discomfort is well worth the end result.
What To Expect: The Helix Piercing Procedure
Arriving At The Piercing Shop
When you arrive at the location, the individual carrying out the procedure should have already cleaned and sterilized the area in which they will be performing the piercing.
You will then be invited into the room, and asked to sit down.
Creating A Marking On Your Ear
Before the action happens, this individual will most likely use a washable marker, or something similar, to create a marking on your ear.
The reason for this is so that they know, exactly, where to pierce. This marking acts as a stencil. Additionally, you will be given the opportunity to check this marking out in the mirror, confirming that you are happy with the positioning of your future piercing.
The Piercing Procedure
And then, just like that, the big moment has arrived. You will be asked to get into a comfortable position, and take a couple deep breaths.
When the needle enters your ear, you will likely experience a brief moment of discomfort. By the time you have noticed the pain, however, the procedure will be over!
The final piercing will be inserted into the fresh incision, and you will then be free to leave.
How to Care For Your New Piercing
Caring for a new piercing is somewhat similar to treating an open wound, just on a smaller scale. Here is how you can do it at home.
Using A Salt Solution
One of the best ways to take care of a new piercing is by gently applying a solution made from boiling water and sea salt.
Stir together, and once it has cooled, use a cotton ball to apply the solution to the area, carefully wiping away any dried blood or fluid.
It is also recommended that you soak any new jewelry in a salt solution before wearing.
Using Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can also help keep piercings hygienic and healthy by acting as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic.
Again, you can use a cotton ball or swab to gently wipe the area around the piercing.
However, you may want to avoid using tea tree oil during the first few weeks following the piercing, as this product can cause drying effects on the skin. This may prolong the overall healing time.
Avoid Wearing Large/Heavy Hoops
Wearing large, heavy jewelry in a new piercing is never a good idea. Gravity will pull the piercing downwards, which could result in a tear and/or swelling.
This is especially true for a helix piercing, due to it being positioned towards the top of your ear.
Do Not Touch Your New Piercing!
Yes, yes, we know how tempting it is to get a feel of your brand-new piercing… we’ve all been there. How else would you be able to tell if it is still there, or if it has somehow fallen out throughout the day?
The thing is, touching can turn into twisting, and prodding, and next thing you know, you have an irritated piercing.
Messing with pierced cartilage can lead to nasty bumps and swelling. Additionally, if your hands aren’t clean you may introduce bacteria into the opening, creating further painful problems.
Sleeping On Your Opposite Side
Do you have a side that you usually sleep on? If you sleep on your back, this will not be a problem, but if you sleep on your left side and have recently had your left ear pierced, this may be an issue.
This is something you will want to consider before you get your helix pierced. To avoid future discomfort, consider getting the other side pierced so that you don’t irritate it during your sleep.
Healing Times For A Helix Piercing
The usual time it takes for a helix piercing to recover is somewhere between 6 and 9 months. Since cartilage is a lot tougher than skin, it is more likely to try to reject the piercing, and this is why it takes so long to heal.
The helix piercing is, actually, one of the piercings that takes the longest to heal.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, you should avoid changing jewelry until the piercing has pretty much fully healed. The earliest time we recommend switching is 3 months into recovery.
The Cost Of A Helix Piercing
The standard cost of a single, standard helix piercing can range between $20 to $50.
It may cost more for a double or a triple helix piercing, but you may be able to get a bundle discount at certain piercing stores.
While this is an ear piercing with a prolonged healing time compared to others, there is no doubt that the helix is an adornment worth working with. The end result is so worth it!
Once your piercing has fully healed, you can use it to fit so many types of stunning jewelry. There is a reason this piercing is so popular, and we definitely recommend getting one for yourself.
We hope you enjoyed our article, and that you found it helpful.
Good luck, and happy piercing!