Everything you need to know before getting your helix pierced
There are dozens of interesting options when it comes to ear piercings. And with the wide selection of jewelry styles out there, it’s hard to stop at just one! If you’ve already got a hole or two in your ear lobes and you’re looking to add some new jewelry to your ears that’s versatile without being too extreme, a helix piercing could be the perfect new addition to your piercing collection.
Once you move on from the ear lobes, most other ear piercings involve the harder, cartilage sections of the ear. These can be a bit more intimidating due to the longer healing times, but if you’re looking to go for the cartilage, a helix piercing is a great starting point.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about helix piercings before heading off to get pierced.
What is a helix piercing?
The helix is the upper, outer cartilage area of your ear. A helix piercing, as one could guess, is a piercing that goes through this cartilage area. They say the helix piercing gets its name due to the fact that it can resemble a strand of DNA, as in a DNA helix.
It is possible to do several helix piercings in one ear, though most people opt to start with one to three at a time. A single standard helix piercing is the most common, however, there are a few other popular types of helix piercings such as:
Double or triple helix piercing:
A double helix piercing is like a standard helix piercing but with two holes instead of one. Likewise, a triple helix is done with three holes.
Forward helix piercing:
For a forward helix piercing, the frontal cartilage area is pierced instead of the upper rear area which is standard in a regular helix piercing.
Double or triple forward helix piercing:
A double or triple forward helix piercing is simply a forward helix piercing with two or three holes respectively.
Do helix piercings hurt?
When it comes to ear piercings, once you cross from lobe to cartilage you can expect a bit more pain and discomfort. The cartilage is much tougher than the fleshy ear lobes and therefore takes much more pressure to pierce. Does this mean helix piercings are always painful? Not necessarily. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different. There are also other measures you can take to alleviate any discomfort, such as choosing an experienced professional piercer.
Choosing the right piercer for your helix piercing
Choosing the right piercing artist will help assure your experience when getting pierced goes smoothly and as painlessly as possible. The first thing to look for, and we cannot stress this enough, is a piercer who uses needles rather than a piercing gun.
Piercing guns should be avoided for all piercings, as they are incredibly hard to properly sterilize and can cause infections. But when it comes to cartilage piercings, guns can be even more dangerous. A piercing gun can actually shatter your cartilage, causing permanent damage to your ears!
On the other hand, a professional piercing parlour will use brand new needles which have been fully sterilized in an autoclave to assure your new piercing isn’t exposed to any infectious bacteria.
If you’re looking for a top-notch professional piercer in the Newmarket of Mississauga area, the artists at Pierced in the Upper Canada Mall & Square One Shopping Centre have extensive experience with helix piercings of all kinds.
How to care for your helix piercing
Once you’ve got your new freshly pierced helix piercing, you’re going to want to take extra good care of it to assure it heals quickly and properly.
First and foremost, always wash your hands fully before touching or cleaning any piercing. This can help prevent bacteria or dirt from getting into your new piercing.
Next, you’ll want to clean your piercing using a saline solution soak at least twice per day. You can buy a pre-made saline rinse for this purpose from your piercing shop or you can make your own sea salt solution using pure non-iodized sea salt and warm water. Then, simply apply the solution to your piercing using sterile gauze or cotton balls.
Another thing to look out for during the healing process is making sure to not tug or pull on your jewelry. So if you have long hair, it may be a good idea to keep it tied back until your piercing is healed. Also, avoid getting any hair care products on your piercing as these could irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions.
How long do helix piercings take to heal?
Cartilage piercings always have a significantly longer healing time than ear lobe piercings. On average, you can expect your new helix piercing to heal fully in 3 to 6 months, with some piercings taking up to nine! The more diligent you are with your piercing aftercare, the quicker your helix piercing is going to heal. So be sure not to skip those sea salt soaks!
Helix piercing risks and infections
Usually, if you stick to a healthy aftercare regiment, your risk of infection will be relatively low. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for the warning signs of infection so you can catch any possible complications before they become worse. Keep an eye out for the following and consult with your piercer or doctor if you have concerns:
Redness:Some redness is normal for the first week after getting any piercing, however, if redness continues after this point it could be a sign that something else is wrong.
Swelling:Once again, some swelling in the first few days after getting pierced is normal and no cause for alarm. If you notice swelling after this point you may want to investigate further.
Pus:A bit of discharge is also common at first, but should not persist after the first week. Consult with your piercer or doctor if it continues.
Hot skin or fever:If the skin around the piercing feels hot or you develop a fever, check with your doctor immediately. These are both signs of a more serious infection and should not be ignored!
Jewelry options for helix piercings
The sky is the limit when it comes to jewelry for helix piercings! Rings, studs, barbells, horseshoes, you name it! One of the great things about helix piercings is how incredibly versatile they are. Once your helix piercing is fully healed, you’ll be able to explore a wide range of fun styles. Just be sure to never attempt to change your jewelry before your piercing is fully healed!
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Need an Experienced Piercer in Mississauga or Newmarket?
Working with an experienced piercer can make all the difference when it comes to your piercing experience. If you’re in the Mississauga or Newmarket, Ontario area and have any questions about ear piercing, body piercing or jewelry, give us a call or stop by our piercings studio today. We’d love to help walk you through what to expect and help you choose the right option.