The Ultimate Guide to Helix Piercings: Everything You Need to Know

The Ultimate Guide to Helix Piercings: Everything You Need to Know

If you're considering getting a helix piercing or simply curious about this trendy ear piercing style, you've come to the right place. In this comprehensive article, we'll delve into the nitty-gritty details of helix piercings, covering everything from the basics to aftercare tips. By the end, you'll have a thorough understanding of what a helix piercing is and be better prepared for your own piercing journey.

helix piercing

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.

Multiple Ear Piercings

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.

Helix and Other Ear Piercings

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.

Healing Process

The healing process of a helix piercing involves several stages. Here's a general timeline:

a) Initial Healing: The first few weeks are crucial, as the body starts to form a protective layer around the piercing. Redness, swelling, and slight tenderness are common during this phase.

b) Cartilage Healing: Over the next few months, the cartilage gradually strengthens, and the initial soreness subsides.

c) Full Healing: After 3 to 6 months, the piercing should be fully healed. However, cartilage piercings may require up to a year for complete healing.

d) Individual Variations: Healing times can vary based on factors such as personal health, aftercare, and the specific location of the piercing.

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:


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.


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.


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!

Ear Piercing Jewelry


Congratulations! You've reached the end of our ultimate guide to helix piercings. We hope this comprehensive article has provided you with valuable insights and information about this popular ear piercing style. Remember, when it comes to helix piercings, it's essential to choose a professional piercer, follow proper aftercare, and be patient during the healing process. With the right care and attention, your helix piercing will become a stunning addition to your personal style.

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Rethink piercings, rethink piercings, rethink piercings.