You’ve probably seen a helix piercing around. Whether it’s a dainty detail or a bold statement, it’s always perched toward the top of the ear and gives you an easy way to switch up your look. And as of late, a helix piercing is considered one of the coolest piercings to try.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting a helix piercing for a while to complete your earscape. Or maybe this is the first you’re hearing of it, and you want to know what’s so hot about this placement. Either way, we’re covering everything you need to know. Read on to learn what, exactly, a helix is and whether a piercing there is actually more painful than one in the rest of the ear. Most importantly, you’ll learn about essential aftercare from the pros and get some good ear candy inspo.
What is a helix piercing?
You may have seen some piercings placed in slightly different locations along the ear and wondered if they all qualify as the helix. The answer is: yes. “A helix piercing is any piercing along the upper and outside cartilage ridge of the ear,” says Studs piercer Shannon Freed. “Anatomically, the term helix describes that area of the ear.” However, there are names for different placements along that curve. A flat helix lies on the flat part of the inside of your ear, while a forward helix is on the cartilage closest to your face.
So whether you’re piercing the top end or somewhere just above the midpoint of your ear—if it’s middle, then it’s a “midi”—you’re still a part of the helix-adorned club.
And why stop at one when you can have two? Sarah Lacy, BSN RN, the senior manager of piercing research and innovation at Rowan, shares that double helix piercings are super popular now. “The great thing about double helix piercings is that they can be done anywhere along the helix; we are seeing more and more people want the mid-helix double pierced.” Another name for this type of piercing is “snakebite,” which refers to having two piercings along the ear close to each other.
Do helix piercings hurt?
Let’s get real about helix piercing pain. Does it actually hurt more than the lobe? “Pain tolerance varies, but generally your helix will hurt more than your lobes as it is less fleshy,” says Freed. Cartilage tissue is denser, which can require more force to pierce through, resulting in a bit more pain. But the pain should only be temporary and will subside with proper aftercare.
How long does a helix piercing take to heal?
“Healing is subjective and is dependent on factors such as your overall health, sleep and stress levels, and your aftercare regimen,” says Freed. Makes sense, as our bodies react to and recover from physical stressors at different rates. But if you’re looking for an average estimate, Freed says at least two months. “The initial healing time for a helix piercing is two to four months. For the piercing to be fully healed, it takes six to nine months. Healing timelines will vary based on your specific piercing and your body, but you’ll know your ear is healed once any discharge, swelling, redness, flaking, or soreness stops.”
What about aftercare?
As your new helix piercing heals, it should feel less painful. Proper aftercare is key to making sure your new ear piece not only looks great but feels that way too. Freed’s recommendation is to keep your hands off the fresh piercing. “Don’t touch or twist,” Freed says. “And spray saline front and back no more than twice a day. You’ll also want to be careful of snags and sleeping on the piercing, as this disrupts the healing process.”