Pinterest Helix Piercings: Everything You Need To Know
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Published Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Helix Piercings: Everything You Need To Know

So you're thinking about a helix piercing, eh? It's a good idea. They're popular, gorgeous, and your creativity is only limited by how much helix you have.

First, let's start with some basics:

What is a helix piercing?

The helix is the ridge around the outer edge of the ear. It's typically thin, but it is cartilage in the middle. If you touch it, you can probably feel the cartilage inside the squishy skin. Depending on your anatomy, you may have more helix, or you may have less.

If you're ridgeless, don't fret! I've only got a forward helix myself, so there's no industrial piercing for me. But I can get piercings on the flat of my ear, and it's a great spot for creativity too.

So, you can go forward helix (towards the front, pointing towards the face), back of the helix (you can pair jewelry further down the lobe if you like) or the top of the helix, which is where you'll often see the double or triple helix piercings.

A double helix or triple helix is where there are multiple piercings stacked in a row, often with coordinating jewelry to highlight the look. And yes, double and triples look really cool. The helix is also a great place for chains. Do you have a short nostril chain? Try stringing it between helix piercings or using it on the same piercing to create a fun look. A row of chains can link a double or triple helix, and a chain can also connect to lobe piercings. We even have some double and triple helix jewelry made just for this purpose.


What does it look like?

There are a lot of options. An industrial is technically a helix piercing, characterized by the solid bar going through the ear. There's also the floating industrial, which can bridge almost any two helix piercings. There are single, double, and triple options that can be arranged in a variety of cool ways. And there's the forward helix, towards the front of the ear, which can also be doubled or tripled depending on your anatomy.

Is the helix piercing painful?

Pain tolerance varies, but the consensus is: not too bad. A little worse than a lobe piercing or maybe not even a notable difference. The biggest things to be sure of are that you're working with an experienced piercer, and that your aftercare is on point.

Note: You should never get pierced with a piercing gun, ever. But it's especially important with this kind of piercing. A piercing gun can tear the cartilage and make the piercing basically impossible to heal. If you google around, you'll find stories of people who had bad piercers or used piercing guns, and the piercing never gets out of that fresh piercing stage, even years later. So choose your piercer wisely and remember: no guns. Needles only. It's also super important for alignment. Even someone working with a needle who is inexperienced can give you an off kilter helix piercing. That's more than just an aesthetic issue, since you'll one day want to sleep on that side of your head again, and having it be crooked can lead to soreness.

How long does the helix piercing take to heal?

Three to six months for many, but up to a year for some. This is a committed healing process, and because of the location it's a bit involved. Helix piercings are super cool, but you've got to take your time healing.

And that's going to mean not sleeping on that side of your head. If you forget and roll over in your sleep, you may find yourself with an achy ear and blood on your pillow. Try putting a pillow on the side of your body that you got pierced on, like a snuggle buddy, or a wall. It can keep you from rolling in that direction, and save your helix piercing and your pillow.

When can I start sleeping on my helix piercing?

There's no set time frame for this. It must be fully healed at a bare minimum. But the truth is that it can depend on how sensitive your ear is and what kind of jewelry you're wearing.

Labrets can be really forgiving in a helix piercing. I've personally never had trouble sleeping on them. Rings, when they get smooshed, can pull your ear in funny ways. Captive beads can be hard little balls of steel pushing on you, but you can swap those out with clickers and maybe have a smoother experience.

It's possible your ear will become sore regardless, because you're sort of smooshing it around. Don't worry! They make pillows with ear sized holes in them just for sensitive ears. Maybe it's time for a new, non-ear-squishing pillow.

Which side should I get my helix piercing done on?

This is up to you! There's no magical right side to do it on. But here are some thoughts from folks who've done it:

  1. You may want to figure out how your hair will sit. Do you usually part it on one side? Do you often put your hair behind one ear? What kind of hats or accessories do you wear often? If there's a particular side that gets shown off more, that may be your side.

  2. Which side is your dominant side? Try reaching across to your opposite ear. Does that feel like a stretch? Do you feel like you can do close up, detailed work in that position, like changing out jewelry? Or do you usually pop in to your piercer to have it changed? If you're right handed, and your triple helix is on the left side, you may add some time, and frustration, to changing it out.

  3. Sleep. A lot of people are to-the-death, pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands, dedicated side sleepers. If you know you're not going to change this, what side do you sleep on? If you part your hair on that side and it's your best side (hey, why else would you sleep on it? It's the best!) then you may want to try sleeping exclusively on the other, less fun, side and see how you like it. You may decide there's no way you can give up your favorite sleep position for six months to a year.

Helix piercing aftercare

Salt water and no touching. Seriously, always wash your hands before touching a fresh piercing, and mostly don't touch it. Use a saltwater spray or salt bath (but the spray is usually better than trying to put a cup on the side of your head or something). Crusties can be soaked until they fall away naturally, but they're also part of the healing process, so it's often better to leave them if they're not too bad.

No harsh soaps, no tea bags, no crushed aspirin, and definitely no tea tree oil during healing. All of that stuff can really mess with the piercing and cause more irritation. Bumps tend to go away on their own as the piercing heals, but if you have any big concerns, check with your piercer.


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