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Helix Piercing – Jewelry Types, Pain, Healing Time, Pictures

Updated on October 2, 2013

The helix is the cartilage part of the upper ear. Puncture of the helix so as to adorn it with ear rings and other pieces of jewelry, is referred to as helix piercing. It is a popular form of ear piercing.

Helix piercing is usually performed with the help of a curved needle or an 18 gauge tiny hollow needle. It is important to avoid the use of piercing guns as it can cause sudden shock to the ear.The piercer may also use a tiny cork to block the ear canal opening and prevent the entry of foreign materials into the ear.

As the helix is made of cartilage, helix piercing requires the application of additional pressure so as to puncture the site. You will need to maintain a steady and still head while the procedure is being carried out. Hence, most professionals perform helix piercing after ensuring that the customer is comfortably lying on a bed.After the perforation of the helix any jewelry of your choice is placed in the hole. There are many different varieties of jewelry that can adorn the helix.

Different jewelry for helix piercing

Helix piercing can be decorated with jewelry that come in varied shapes, sizes, and colors. The jewelry can also have embedded jewels or gems, and can be custom made to suit your sense of style. A few common types of jewelry for helix piercing include labret studs, captive bead rings, microdermals, and barbells.

  • A labret stud consists of a straight rod that has a jewel attached to one end and a flat disc at the other

  • A captive ring is made up of a metal ring. Its ends can either be connected by a straight bar or a single bead. The former gives the jewelry a full circular look.

  • A microdermal looks like a small implant in the ear. It is often placed on the top part of the helix.

  • A barbell used to adorn helix piercing consists of a single rod that has beads at both of its ends. Barbells can be horseshoe-shaped, curved, semi-circular, or fully circular.

Pain associated with helix piercing

The helix does not have any nerve endings. Therefore, helix piercings are not that painful. However, a few individuals may experience pain during the procedure. This is mainly due to the additional pressure exerted by the piercer to perforate the cartilage. The intensity of such pain also varies from one individual to another.

Helix piercing pain is also dependent on the expertise of the professional to carry out the procedure without causing a lot of discomfort, your resolve to get your helix pierced, and the amount of pain that you can easily bear. The actual pain only lasts for a short time, for about thirty to sixty seconds. You may also feel a little distressed when the jewelry is placed in the newly formed hole.

As per the location of the blood vessels, helix piercing can sometimes result in minor bleeding which may continue for about an hour. It may however be noted that the destruction of blood vessels during the piercing process naturally causes bleeding, and hence is not to be fussed about.

Release of pale yellow or clear lymphatic fluid, as well as some localized tenderness and swelling is also normal. It is not a symptom of infection. The lymphatic fluid often crusts over and covers the exit holes. Such crusting can be easily removed with warm water. Picking it can irritate the skin puncture and increase the risk to bacterial infection. Hence avoid picking the crust.The helix piercing may be sore for a few days. You have to take care while sleeping and prevent any snagging. This will aid the wound to heal more quickly.

Helix piercing infection

  • Helix piercing is vulnerable to infection by bacteria and other pathogens. It is therefore important to keep the area clean. Wash the area with an antiseptic soap and warm water at least three times a day. Excessive cleaning should be avoided as it can irritate the piercing.

  • You also need to ensure that proper jewelry is used. Avoid the use of imitation jewelry till the time the wound has completely healed. Wearing the jewelry too tight can also increase the risk to infection.

  • Persistence of pain even after some days post piercing can be a symptom of an infection. Pus filled pustules, extreme redness, and inflammation of the pierced site warrant medical attention.

  • You also need to visit a doctor if the area is warm to touch or if there is continuous bleeding.

Helix piercing healing

  • Pain associated with helix piercing usually disappears in about 2 to 4 months. This is when you will be able to sleep freely.

  • Complete healing and elimination of pain may take about one year.

  • It is important to immediately remove the jewelry and seek medical attention in case of an infected helix piercing.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You should never remove a piercing if you think that it is infected. else the skin can heal over and seal the infection in which can cause abscesses under the skin.


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