You should only change your helix piercing once it is fully healed, which often takes three to six months and, in some cases, even more. It is because helix piercings are made on the ear’s cartilage, which has less blood, so the healing process is extremely slow.
The bottom line is healing time varies from one person to another. However, most piercers recommend taking the full 12 weeks before changing your helix piercing. It shouldn’t be sore, weeping, or painful once you tried to change your jewelry. Otherwise, if your helix piercing hasn’t recovered properly yet, it might cause more injury or develop an infection.
If you’re thinking of getting a helix piercing, here’s everything you need to know, from its healing process and timeline, pain level, and the best aftercare practices.
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What Is a Helix Piercing?
A helix piercing is a popular trend for people who want to go beyond getting the standard ear piercing. It’s a piercing made on the cartilage of the ear, but you shouldn’t mistake it for other types of cartilage piercings as there are many of them. Helix piercing is located in the outer upper cartilage of the ear.
You can get a standard helix piercing, which is one piercing on the outer upper cartilage of your ear. However, you can also stack multiple piercings in this area, a double helix or triple helix piercing. There are also several variations to this type of cartilage piercing, such as:
- Forward helix piercing, which can also be a single, double, or triple piercing.
- Anti-helix or snug piercing
- Low helix piercing
How Long Does It Take a Helix Piercing to Heal?
Helix piercings have varying healing times, but you can expect that it could take between three to six months or even more. If your piercing looks fully healed from the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s also properly healed on the inside.
Here are a few signs that will show you your helix piercing is still on the mend, and you shouldn’t attempt changing the jewelry just yet.
- There’s a healing bump on your piercing.
- You notice in and around the piercing area.
- There’s still mild pain.
- A small amount of itching.
- You notice a little bleeding on your piercing.
Piercings are wounds, and these signs are pretty normal to experience after getting a new piercing. If you still notice these signs after the first few weeks, especially the mild pain, the wound is still healing. Avoid changing your helix piercing until you’re sure that it’s properly healed.
Piercers mostly suggest allowing your new piercing to heal for at least three months but keep on doing aftercare practice and avoid changing your earrings until it’s 100% healed. In rare cases, the healing time can go up to a year, but it’s important to take care of your piercing for as long as you need to prevent infection.
When Should You Avoid a Helix Piercing?
Your ear has a lot of space to play around with if you want to have more piercings. Helix piercing is one of them, a trendy choice for many. And while you might think that getting one or two fits your vibe, you should consider if it’s a great option for you.
In some cases, you should avoid getting a helix piercing, like:
When you are genetically susceptible to keloids
When not taken care of properly, your helix piercing can end up with scarring and ugly bumps. Keloids are one of the potential bumps you need to be aware of when you decide to get your cartilage pierced. Unfortunately, the keloid is a genetic issue, and it would require surgery to get rid of one. So even after getting removed, chances are you will always have the scar.
If you are genetically predisposed to keloids, you might want to give a helix piercing or any other piercing a pass.
When you have little to no self-control over subconsciously messing with your new earring
Taking extra care of your new piercing is a must. A snag, bump, or scratch here, and there can cause intense redness, swelling, and even infection to your fresh wound. If you know that you can’t control yourself from messing with your fresh piercing, you might want to avoid getting a helix piercing. Your cartilage is easily damaged, and once it is, it would be irreversible. Plus, cartilage piercing takes a lot of time to heal, requiring much patience and self-control.
Does Getting a Helix Piercing Hurt?
Getting a piercing in any part of your ear hurts, but how much will primarily depend on your pain tolerance. However, helix piercings typically fall low on the pain scale, and most often, it depends on the location where you are getting pierced.
The helix piercing area has incredibly thin cartilage, so the process is quick. So if you plan to get a helix piercing and wonder if it hurts, you’re in luck because it shouldn’t hurt more than a slight and quick pinch.
After you get the piercing and up to a couple of days since you got it, expect a little throbbing and swelling. It’s pretty normal for a new wound, even as small as your cartilage piercing. Still, it shouldn’t be too distracting or unbearable if you take better care of it and avoid any complications or infection.
How Do You Take Care of Your Helix Piercing?
Because helix piercing takes a very long time to heal, it’s more prone to complications, especially once you start slacking in your aftercare practice. Taking care of your new helix piercing is necessary to promote faster healing and avoid infections, ugly bumps, and scarring.
First, check out some signs that something is wrong with your new helix piercing and that it’s not healing properly or as it should.
- When the swelling is getting worse
- Sustained redness
- Bad smell
- When the skin around the piercing feels hot
- When pus is leaking from the piercing
- When the skin is turning black
- Severe itching
- Blistering and rash around the piercing
Most of these signs are pretty common for a fresh piercing, but once the symptoms continue or increase up to the third or fourth day, something might be wrong. These symptoms can be caused by problems while cleaning your new helix piercing or signs of an allergy or infection.
Being unhygienic with your new piercing can cause many complications, but overcleaning it also has some consequences. Here are some aftercare tips for a new helix piercing you have to keep in mind.
Keep your piercing dry.
Moist and dampness is home for bacteria to grow, and you wouldn’t want that on your new piercing. If you’re not careful about keeping your new piercing dry, you risk it getting infected. Helix piercing infections can often lead to cartilage bumps, which won’t look good and difficult to reverse once they appear.
Always carefully clean your helix piercing.
Clean it every day for the first few weeks as it is the primary healing stage of the wound. Using a saline soak or salt bath in cleaning your new piercing can help keep any bacteria away.
Handle your new piercing with clean hands all the time.
Before you start cleaning your fresh helix piercing, make sure you’ve washed your hand thoroughly. You don’t want any bacteria going into the wound and causing any complications.
Don’t try to remove or change the jewelry as the piercing heals.
Moving the jewelry can damage the skin surrounding your piercing wound, which can lead to ugly scars. In addition, it would be smart if you were extra careful as cartilage wounds are less forgiving.
Keep your hair off of your new piercing.
Avoid anything that could irritate your fresh piercing, including your hair that can get easily snagged in the jewelry.
Avoid swimming as you let your new helix piercing heal.
Submerging it in a public pool or seawater is only calling for serious infection and damage to your skin.
Avoid scratching, picking, or playing with your new piercing.
It’s an open wound that needs time to heal. Also, rubbing and scratching your helix piercing can cause you discomfort or, worse, an infection.
Avoid sleeping on your helix piercing.
It’s recommended to keep off sleeping on your new piercing until it’s 100% healed.
Never use cream, bleach, or any form of peroxide to clean your piercing.
These solutions can only irritate your skin and might cause discomfort and infection. Peroxide is too strong for your delicate piercing and may only cause a lot of swelling and pain. Creams can also clog in the piercing, which only invites bacteria buildup. The safest option is to use the correct aftercare solution or distilled water to clean your fresh piercing.
Will My Helix Piercings Close Overnight?
Your helix piercing needs a lot of time to heal fully, and until it’s not, you should avoid removing the jewelry. Otherwise, you risk your helix piercing closing overnight. If your cartilage piercing is still fresh or hasn’t healed fully, it might even close within 20 to 30 minutes from when you removed the earring.