The guide of helix piercing

Helix Piercing: A Complete Guide

Would you like to get a helix piercing? Are you wondering if it hurts to pierce the cartilage and how much it costs? Or perhaps you already have a piercing in that spot, but it's not healing well or has become infected?

At Luna, we love the helix piercing for the ear and have some interesting information to share with you about it.

The helix is located on the outer and curved part of the ear cartilage. Due to its low cost (20 to 40 euros), little pain and rapid healing, the helix piercing is ideal for a first cartilage piercing. Most of the time, a ring is used in the helix and it's even possible to pierce it several times.

You'll discover everything you need to know about this piercing, including its location, price, pain, and meaning. We will also give you tips to prepare adequately before going to the piercer, as well as recommendations to take care of your ear and make it heal faster. Finally, we will recommend the most suitable jewels for a helix piercing.

The helix piercing will have no more secrets for you. Are you ready to give it a try?

What is a helix piercing?

The helix piercing, also known as the "cartilage piercing", is extremely popular and fashionable due to its multiple possibilities. It does not go unnoticed and attracts everyone's attention.

Where is the helix located?

Located on the edge of the upper lateral part of the ear, the helix extends from the top of the lobe and wraps around the ear to the base of the skull. Therefore, the helix piercing is located in the cartilage, and while it is possible to pierce the cartilage in various places, the top of the ear is often preferred.

Many young women opt for the accumulation of rings, creating fashionable double and triple helix piercings. Since the cartilage is very thin in this place, the helix is often the first choice for an ear piercing. Aesthetic, less painful and affordable, it will surely seduce you!

women with a helix piercing

Origins of the Helix Piercing

Although the body art trend has experienced growth in recent years, the origin of piercing dates back several millennia. Ear piercing, a millenary tradition and an ancestral art, was originally worn for magical and spiritual reasons.

Ear piercing art began to develop in the 90s in Europe. Initially used as a symbol of belonging to a group, the piercing is also linked to the need for personal affirmation, distinction and rites of passage to adulthood.

The helix piercing, for its part, emerged in the mid to late 20th century, influenced by American culture (punk, hippie, etc.). Today, it is one of the most popular and fashionable ear piercings, offering a variety of aesthetic and creative possibilities.

What is the price of a helix piercing?

The cost of a helix piercing is estimated between $20 and $40. However, it is possible to get discounts if you opt for multiple piercings. Since the helix piercing is very popular and easy to perform, it is slightly cheaper than other cartilage piercings.

When looking for information about the prices practiced by piercers in your area, it is common to find significant differences. In fact, the price of a helix piercing can vary depending on where you live, the popularity of the studio, and the experience of the piercer.

The cost of a helix piercing generally includes the piercing, where the piercer pierces your cartilage with a needle and inserts a jewel (usually a ring or a titanium bar), as well as care and follow-up. The piercer will explain how to care for your new piercing and will guide you on the steps to take in case of complications.

How to prepare before a piercing?

The helix piercing process is generally quick, but it is recommended to make an appointment in advance, either by phone, online or directly at the salon. However, how can you effectively prepare for your appointment?

What are the steps and process of the helix piercing?

Cartilage piercing is a quick process and the piercer takes the time to reassure you and talk with you if you're nervous. The entire procedure usually lasts about fifteen minutes, including preparation. Here is the typical process of a helix piercing:

  • You sit comfortably, either sitting or lying down.

  • The piercer carefully disinfects the area to be pierced to minimize the risk of infection.

  • Marks the location of the future ear piercing with a marker.

  • Pierces the ear with a sterilized needle, taking all necessary precautions to avoid pain and complications.

  • Then places the jewel (usually a labret, but sometimes a ring), removes the needle, and closes the lock.

  • The piercer gently cleans your new piercing and then can proceed to other piercings if you wish.

  • Finally, they give you care tips to help you take care of your new piercing, and you can leave if everything has gone well.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your helix piercing is performed safely and professionally, with a minimum of discomfort and risk of complications.

Getting a Helix Piercing

Where Can One Get a Cartilage Piercing?

It's crucial to seek a qualified piercer when considering a helix piercing or any other body piercing. With their experience, professionalism, and certification, a piercer is highly skilled in the art of piercing.

Piercing is their specialty, and they carry out such procedures throughout the day. They have a steady hand, ensuring perfectly symmetrical piercings, and they strictly adhere to hygiene standards. They use a sterilized, single-use needle and titanium jewelry (sometimes surgical steel) and always wear gloves.

When choosing a piercing studio, it's vital to thoroughly review customer feedback and visit the location to check the cleanliness and safety of the facilities. By taking these simple precautions, you can confidently get a helix piercing and ensure a fast and complication-free healing process.

Tips Before Getting a Helix Piercing

If you're considering a piercing in the ear cartilage, it's essential to prepare well in advance. Here are some tips to help you prepare in the best way possible:

  • Eat a balanced and hearty meal 2 to 3 hours before your appointment to avoid an empty stomach.
  • Drink plenty of water both the day before and the day of your piercing to stay hydrated.
  • Ensure you get a good night's sleep before your appointment, ideally between 7 and 9 hours, to be at your best.
  • Avoid alcohol or drugs 48 hours before your piercing.
  • Pull your hair back and refrain from wearing makeup so the piercer can easily access the area.
  • If you wish, you can bring someone with you for comfort.
  • Remember to breathe deeply and calmly to help you relax and reduce stress levels.

By following these straightforward recommendations, you can effectively prepare for your helix piercing and enhance the chances of a speedy and complication-free recovery.

Does the Helix Piercing Hurt A Lot?

Many unfounded beliefs and fears surround piercings. However, rest assured, the pain from a helix piercing is entirely bearable and manageable for most.

It's typical to feel some discomfort when getting a cartilage piercing. This area is less fatty and more rigid than the lobe, which might lead to:

  • A sharp, fleeting pain: when the needle pierces the cartilage, it might feel like a pinch.
  • A dull ache lasting several hours: you might feel as if someone has hit your ear.
  • Overall sensitivity in the area, which can last between 1 to 2 weeks, possibly accompanied by redness and swelling.

Nevertheless, the helix piercing is not excruciating and is often considered one of the least painful cartilage piercings. On a scale from 1 to 10, the pain is usually rated around 4/10. The cartilage in this area is relatively thin, making the pain more bearable. A helix piercing is an excellent choice for someone's first ear piercing.

Keep in mind that pain intensity will vary based on your stress levels and pain tolerance. If you're confident and relaxed, the pain will be minimal and may feel like a mere sting. So, there's no need to worry; just stay relaxed!

Woman with a Composition of Piercings Including a Helix Piercing

Gun or Needle for Your Helix Piercing?

The needle used by a professional piercer may seem intimidating and cause anxiety in some people. However, unlike the piercing gun used in jewelry stores, the needle is less painful and safer. The automatic piercing device used by jewelers rips the skin and tissues, while the piercer's needle pierces your ear cleanly and precisely, without causing damage. Moreover, it's crucial to have your ears pierced by a piercer who uses a disposable, sterilized needle to avoid any infection. So, even though the needle might seem daunting, it's actually safer and less painful than the piercing gun.

How to Alleviate the Pain of a Helix Piercing?

Even though the discomfort experienced during a helix piercing is minimal, there are ways to mentally and physically prepare yourself to ensure everything goes smoothly. In short, you can "hack" your body to reduce the pain.

Here are some tips that might help:

  • Maintain a positive attitude: everything is going to be alright! The helix piercing is quick and feels like a pinch.
  • Control your breathing: inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • Communicate with your piercer: they are there to take care of you.

These tips will help you better manage the helix piercing process and might even reduce the discomfort you feel.

Healing: Duration, Care, and Tips

After getting a cartilage piercing, your body starts working to heal the wound and close the hole. The healing process begins as soon as the wound appears. However, it's important to know how to care for a helix piercing during the healing process.

How Long Does Helix Piercing Healing Take?

The healing of your helix is a quick process that occurs in three distinct phases. From the end of the piercing session, your body enters a healing phase that takes place in three stages:

  • The first 15 days: the wound is red, swollen, and may secrete a clear fluid. This stage is called the inflammatory or exudative phase.
  • The following months: the fluid turns slightly yellow and hardens to form scabs. The skin may itch and take on a brown tone. This is the granulation phase.
  • Finally, the hole is clean and fully healed. Healing a helix piercing can take between 3 and 6 months. However, it's important to note that the helix piercing is more prone to irritation or snagging, which can prolong the healing process. You must be vigilant and take care of your piercing by avoiding all contact with hair, clothing, or accessories like hats or helmets.

To know if your helix piercing is completely healed, check if the wound is clean, isn't swollen, and doesn't hurt. Never remove your piercing jewelry before the healing is complete, as this could cause infections and complications.

women taking care of her helix piercing

How to Heal a Cartilage Piercing?

To promote healing of your helix cartilage piercing, it is essential to follow a rigorous care routine that you should perform twice a day for the first two weeks, then once a day:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and dry them well.
  2. Pour a small amount of saline solution (physiological serum) or mild soap with neutral pH onto a sterile gauze.
  3. Gently apply the gauze with saline solution or soap onto the helix, moving it slightly.
  4. Remove any dirt and debris with the gauze. Never use cotton swabs, towels, or absorbent paper.
  5. Rinse your piercing well with warm water.
  6. Ensure your jewelry is correctly positioned.
  7. Never remove your helix piercing until the healing is complete.
  8. For the first two weeks, you can also use an antiseptic solution.

These care steps help to deeply clean and disinfect your helix piercing, optimize healing, and prevent infections. If the cartilage is not cleaned regularly, healing may take longer.

Tips and Tricks

These tips are essential to avoid any complication during the healing of your helix piercing. Avoiding snags and friction is crucial as they can cause pain, bleeding, and delay the healing process. Also, avoid harsh shampoos that can irritate the pierced area.

It's important to limit sports activities that can cause excessive sweating and bacteria accumulation. Avoid sleeping on the pierced ear and change your sheets regularly to avoid any infection.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as eating balanced meals, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep, will also help speed up the healing of your helix. Don't play with your piercing outside of care times and don't bathe in lakes, seas, or swimming pools, as this can introduce bacteria and germs into the pierced area.

Finally, if you decide to change your jewelry, ensure you disinfect it thoroughly before placing it. By following these tips, you'll be able to enjoy your helix piercing without suffering complications.

Complications: Keloids and Lump Behind the Ear

It's important to be alert to signs of infection like pain, redness, swelling, heat, and the presence of pus. If you suspect you have an infection, consult your piercer or doctor promptly. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary to avoid complications.

Friction or snags can cause irritation on your helix piercing. To avoid this, you can use a silicone cover or a protective bandage to reduce friction.

Lastly, if you have a lump near your helix ear piercing, it may be due to an allergic reaction to the metal of your jewelry. In that case, you may need to change the jewelry to a hypoallergenic material such as titanium or gold.

In summary, to avoid complications with your helix piercing, follow the care tips, avoid snags, and be alert to signs of infection.

Cartilage Infection: How to Recognize and Treat It

Infection is a natural body response to combat bacteria that enter an open wound, but it can be prevented by carefully following care instructions. Minor cartilage infections are quite common but can be easily treated if detected in time. If you notice signs of infection like fever, severe pain, redness, or swelling, it's important to consult your piercer or a healthcare professional immediately to avoid complications.

How to Recognize an Infection in a Helix Piercing?

Infecting the helix piercing is common as this area of the cartilage is more exposed to external aggressions. Bumps and snags can reopen the wound and allow bacteria to enter the body.

To identify an infection in the helix, it's important to monitor the following symptoms: swelling, pain, redness, a large amount of yellow pus, bad smell, bleeding, fever. It's crucial not to confuse the infection with inflammation or irritation, which are normal phenomena after piercing and should disappear after a few days.

However, if the symptoms appear suddenly and persist, it's likely that your helix piercing is infected. The causes of infection can range from using a non-sterilized gun to practicing water sports, to an allergy to the metal or negligent care. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively prevent and treat the infection.

How to Treat an Infected Piercing?

If you have a mild infection in your helix ear piercing (which represents 90% of cases), here are the tips to follow for effective treatment:

  1. Follow the care instructions we've provided and repeat them twice a day to help heal your infection more quickly.
  2. Avoid touching or playing with your jewelry, as this can worsen the infection and cause additional pain.
  3. Use a disinfectant during the first week to kill bacteria and prevent the infection from spreading even further.
  4. If you notice swelling in the helix area, apply a cold compress to relieve inflammation.
  5. Wash your hands before touching your ear and make sure they're well dried to avoid any further contamination.
  6. Avoid bathing in swimming pools, public baths, or stagnant water, as this can introduce new bacteria into your piercing.
  7. Use a hairband when doing sports to prevent sweat from coming into contact with your piercing and thus avoid infection.
  8. Be careful with snags that could damage your piercing and worsen the infection.
  9. Never remove your jewelry, as this could trap the infection in your hole and make it harder to treat.

If you have any doubts, don't hesitate to ask your piercer and consult a doctor if you think your infection is serious. Appropriate treatment can be prescribed to help you heal faster.

meditation is usefull before making Helix Piercnig

Helix Piercing: Ideas for Compositions and Jewelry

If you want to avoid any infection and be at the forefront of fashion with your helix piercing, the choice of your jewelry is crucial. But, what should you choose between a hoop or a stud? Gold or silver? We're here to help you make the right choice.

When to Remove Your First Piercing?

It's essential to wait until your helix piercing is entirely healed, usually between 3 to 6 months, before choosing the color or design of your new jewel. If you wish to change the jewelry before this period, ensure the replacement is done by an experienced piercer.

It's also vital to ensure your ear piercing is clean and healthy before changing jewelry. If you notice signs of infection like redness, pus, bleeding, or crusts, it's best to consult your piercer before changing jewelry.

When you're ready to change jewelry, you can choose between a stud and a hoop, but we recommend using the same type of jewelry for the first year to strengthen your hole, typically a hoop for the helix. However, there are other jewelry designs you can choose from. It's essential to follow your piercer's advice to avoid any risk of infection or complication.

What Type of Jewelry to Use in the Helix?

When choosing a jewel for your helix piercing, it's important to consider some factors. Firstly, your skin color may influence the choice of your jewel. If you have light or pale skin, it's better to opt for silver as it can highlight your skin tone. On the other hand, if your skin is darker, gold can be an excellent option. If you have tan or brown skin, you can afford different colors and jewelry materials.

It's important to choose a jewel that suits your skin tone, as it can impact the overall appearance of your helix piercing. You should also consider your personal preferences and the style you want to adopt. Lastly, ensure you choose quality jewelry and follow your piercer's advice to avoid any complications or infection.

The hoop is the most commonly chosen jewel for a helix piercing, and it's easy to understand why! Versatile and timeless, the ring can be simply gold or adorned with small diamonds for a more elegant look. You can choose a diameter ranging from 6 to 10 mm depending on your preferences. Don't hesitate to play with accumulation, using two, three, or even four rings in your helix.

The stud, also known as labret or straight bar (a small bar with a threaded head), is another popular choice for your helix piercing. At Luna, we love labrets set with small zirconia crystals for a chic and sophisticated look. We recommend studs of 6 mm in length and 1.2 mm in thickness for optimum comfort.

If you don't have your piercing yet, don't worry! You can always try earcuffs (fake piercings) to decorate your ear cartilage. These rings "clip" on the edge of the ear, in the helix or in the conch, for a piercing effect without having to go through the healing process.

Helix piercing hoop Eleonor by Luna Piercings.

Materials for Helix Piercing

If you've fallen in love with a jewel for your helix piercing but you're not sure if your ear will accept it, it's important to choose the right materials to avoid any risk of infection or allergic reaction.

Professional piercers usually recommend three types of materials. Firstly, ASTM-F138 stainless steel (or surgical steel) is an economical and effective option. Secondly, ASTM-F136 titanium is considered the best choice for your piercings, as it is hypoallergenic, affordable, and stylish. Lastly, 14 or 18 karat gold is a metal well accepted by the body, although relatively expensive. You can choose between rose gold, white gold, or yellow gold for a touch of luxury.

On the other hand, 925 sterling silver can darken and contain traces of allergenic metals such as nickel, copper, or zinc. However, gold-plated silver can be a good alternative. Just make sure the plating is thick enough to prevent it from fading quickly and exposing the allergenic metal underneath.

In summary, if you want your helix piercing to last over time and not get infected, it's important to choose the right materials. Make sure to consult your professional piercer for additional advice on suitable materials for your skin type and piercing.

Inspirations and Ideas

The helix piercing offers many possibilities of compositions for a rebellious and glamorous look, often worn by celebrities like Emma Watson and Kristen Stewart. It pairs well with other piercings like the conch, daith, and tragus.

For a striking look, we recommend playing with accumulation using two or three identical rings at the top of the cartilage. You can also pair your helix piercing with earrings for a more complete look.

If you're looking for inspiration for your ear compositions, don't hesitate to visit our collections of 18 karat gold-plated silver piercings. You will surely find a model or a pattern that you will love.

Finally, the ultimate question: are you more of a ring or a stud person? It all depends on your personal preferences and the style you want to adopt. Rings are often considered more versatile and timeless, while studs can offer a more subtle and sophisticated look. The choice is yours!

Variations and Other Ideas

In addition to the classic helix piercing, there are two less common but very popular variations.

The anti-helix piercing is placed on the inner edge of the ear, above the tragus, and on the opposite side of the helix piercing. Also known as the "forward helix," this piercing is uncommon and original due to the shape and size of the cartilage in that area. Some ears can accommodate up to three piercings, while others cannot be pierced at all.

The orbital piercing is even less common and consists of a ring that passes through the anti-helix twice.

Helix piercing for men is less common than for women, probably due to cultural connotations associated with ear piercings as a symbol of femininity in the West. However, more and more men are getting their ear cartilage pierced, although this may not be accepted in some professional settings. This may change with time, but it might be a few years before men sporting a ring in the helix are common in traditional professional environments.

men wearing a helix piercing with style

Back to blog