Forward helix piercings are a unique type of ear piercing, thanks to their slightly complicated nature and ability to be customized. While a normal forward helix wraps around the cartilage on your upper ear, what gives the uncommon piercings lasting power is that they can be done in multiples. Double forward helix piercings—or even triple—allow you to get multiple piercings at once for a truly unique and interesting ear piercing. Plus, considering the options to customize your jewelry are endless, a forward helix piercing has the potential to be a truly personal and individual choice. And while uncommon, the piercings are fairly low-maintenance after the initial healing period—so much so that you may forget you have them! See what the experts had to say about this type of piercing.
Meet the Expert
If you’re interested in learning more about forward helix piercings, read on to find out everything you need to know before going under the needle.
Forward Helix Piercing
Placement: Outer, upper cartilage directly above the tragus.
Pricing: $30-$100, with the possibility of jewelry costing extra.
Pain level: “I would rate this piercing a 5 or 6 on a pain scale,” according to St. Peter.
Healing time: 3-9 months
Aftercare: Wash the piercing site two to three times a day with unscented, gentle soap or sterile saline solution until fully healed.
What is a Forward Helix Piercing?
A forward helix piercing is placed on the outer (usually upper) cartilage closest to your face by being pierced through the forward-facing surface directly above the tragus.
This piercing is done in a very typical fashion, so there’s nothing too exciting about it. Once you and your piercer decide on the jewelry to use and the location, they’ll clean the area to ensure it’s sterile. Then, they’ll place a small mark on the agreed-upon placement, though you’ll typically get a last look at the marking to ensure it’s in the correct spot. Once the placement is set, your piercer will place a steel receiving tube behind the marked cartilage and push a needle through to the other side. This is then followed by jewelry to finalize and seal the piercing.
Pain and Healing Time
Because a forward helix is pierced through cartilage, you can expect a fair amount of pain—or, at least, definitely more than a normal lobe piercing. Of course, how experienced your piercer is, whether a needle or machine is used, and how high your pain tolerance is will all also affect just how painful the procedure feels.
“As with any piercing, you will typically feel a slight pinch and pressure—then it’s all over with,” says St. Peter. “I would rate this piercing a 5 or 6 on a pain scale, just because cartilage tends to hurt a little more than other piercings.”
You can expect your forward helix piercing to be fully healed within three to nine months, though it’s always recommended to err on the side of caution when practicing aftercare. If you don’t practice the appropriate aftercare, though, expect your piercing to take even longer—and maybe even become infected.
Cost of a Foward Helix Piercing
Because a helix piercing is a bit more complicated in terms of placement, you can expect to pay up to $90 or $100 for a well-done piercing. However, you can also find experienced, reputable piercers charging close to $30, so there’s a large range in terms of what you can expect to pay.
You also shouldn’t be surprised if your piercing cost doesn’t include the jewelry; oftentimes, that’s a separate charge. While some piercers may include the cost of the jewelry in with the overall piercing cost, be aware that any upgrades or changes to what’s included will cost extra.
All aftercare for your new forward helix piercing should be preceded by washing your hands to ensure you’re being as sterile as possible, as not doing so could transfer bacteria to the open wound. Once your hands are clean, you can turn to the piercing itself; try cleaning the site two to three times a day with either gentle, unscented soap or a sterile saline solution. Then, gently dry the piercing with a paper towel rather than a fabric one.
Dozier, advises that you stay away from antibiotic ointments, as they can suffocate the piercing and cause additional problems. “It’s simple; think of it like healing a cut,” says St. Peter. “Just keep it clean!”
Side Effects of Piercing
“First, I always recommend seeing a physician, such as a dermatologist, for evaluation and treatment right away if you develop any concerning symptoms!” says Dozier.
Infection: If you find that your piercing is overly tender, bright red, hot to the touch, or swollen, you should contact a medical professional immediately. While some of these may be normal immediately after the piercing, sustained symptoms are most likely a sign of an infection.
Yellow-green discharge: Your piercing will most likely leak some off-white liquid over the first few days after getting pierced, but if you see it happening after that, it’s most likely cause for concern. Discharge that you should pay attention to will be yellow-green in color and won’t dry over into a crust like the good kind of natural discharge.
Keloid: A keloid is a thick, typically round scar that may form during the aftercare process. It’s hard to care for these scars once they form. Keloids aren’t usually harmful, but they are annoying and unsightly.
How and When to Change Out a Forward Helix Piercing
A forward helix piercing can easily be changed out, but it’s imperative that you wait until it’s fully healed before attempting to put in new jewelry. Because your forward helix piercing is basically an open wound, trying to change the jewelry before it is fully healed will greatly irritate the site and may lead to an infection. Plus, the back of the studs used in helix piercings can be quite stiff and hard to remove at first, which will tug at the piercing site as you try to do so, further irritating the forward helix. Remember the longer you leave a piercing alone to heal, the more certain you can be that it’s safe to swap out the jewelry. If you’re not sure about the healing status of your piercing or you’re worried you may harm it, it’s recommended that you go to your piercer for a change-out.
“If your piercing is fully healed and you feel comfortable changing it yourself then you may,” says St. Peter. “If you aren't fully confident in yourself, then most piercers will change your jewelry out for you for a small fee.”
What Type of Jewelry Is Used for a Forward Helix Piercing?
- Stud: A small stud is the most typical jewelry used in new forward helix piercings. These are small pieces of metal that go through the pierced hole with a backing of some sort to hold it in place—think of the stud earrings you wear in a pierced lobe.
- Ring: Once your forward helix piercing is healed, it’s common to switch out your stud for a new piece of jewelry, and usually it’s a ring. These are small, round metal pieces of jewelry that connect at one point, giving the appearance that it wraps around the helix rather than going through it.
What Jewelry Material Is Used for a Forward Helix Piercing?
- Titanium: Titanium is likely going to be the safest option for any type of body jewelry, as it doesn’t contain nickel. Nickel has the potential to greatly irritate your skin if you’re not allergic (and worse if you are!), so this is a good choice for sensitive skin.
- Gold: Gold is another good choice for body jewelry if you’re someone who prefers it over silver. It’s also necessary to be sure that gold jewelry is at least 14 karats. Gold higher than 18k could be harboring bacteria due to its soft texture.
Rook Piercing 101: Everything You Need to Know
A forward helix piercing is placed on the outer (usually upper) cartilage closest to your face by being pierced through the forward-facing surface directly above the tragus. This piercing is done in a very typical fashion, so there's nothing too exciting about it.How should a forward helix be pierced? ›
A forward helix piercing is placed on the outer (usually upper) cartilage closest to your face by being pierced through the forward-facing surface directly above the tragus. This piercing is done in a very typical fashion, so there's nothing too exciting about it.Does forward helix hurt a lot? ›
Keep in mind that it's normal for the site to feel a little swollen or sore for a few days after you get a helix piercing. However, that should go down within the first week — if it doesn't, or gets worse, that may signal a possible infection.Do forward helix piercings get infected easily? ›
There's a reason for all this: forward helix piercings are among the most difficult ear piercings to do correctly. Since you're dealing with cartilage instead of loose skin, a poor job can lead to a lot of pain and potential infections for you.Do forward helix piercings reject? ›
While it's not very common, it is possible for forward helix piercings to reject. Normally, this only happens due to how the piercing was done. For example, if it's too close to the edge of the ear. If you can feel your piercing rejecting, take the piercing out immediately to prevent potential scarring.Should I get a 6 or 8mm for forward helix? ›
The bar length you need will depend on your skin thickness and piercing location, recommended lengths are usually 6mm or 8mm. For a short and snug fit, we recommend a 6mm length, if you have thicker cartilage or prefer to leave a bit of space either side then an 8mm may be better suited.When can I sleep on my forward helix piercing? ›
When can I start sleeping on my helix piercing? There's no set time frame for this. It must be fully healed at a bare minimum. But the truth is that it can depend on how sensitive your ear is and what kind of jewelry you're wearing.What are the cons of a helix piercing? ›
Cons - As with all cartilage piercings, the healing process can take slightly longer to heal. During this time the area is more vulnerable to infections and irritations depending on how well the aftercare instructions are followed.What hurts more a tattoo or a helix piercing? ›
In general, tattoos tend to hurt more than piercings because the needles used for tattoos are larger and go deeper into the skin than the needles used for piercings.What are the benefits of the forward helix? ›
The forward helix is on the very front of the ear, closest to the head. This specific acupressure point can help with muscle tension and encourage blood circulation. By encouraging increased blood flow, this piercing may also aid in preventing wrinkles.
Of all the body sites commonly pierced, the navel is the most likely to become infected because of its shape. Infections can often be treated with good skin hygiene and antibiotic medications. With this type of infection, jewelry generally does not have to be taken out.Do forward helix piercings bleed a lot? ›
Cartilage piercings are riskier than piercings of your skin, such as your earlobe. You may have more bleeding when you get your cartilage pierced. It's important to keep these piercings clean since an infection could lead to necrosis, or tissue death, in your cartilage.What percentage of helix piercings get infected? ›
Even with meticulous care, cartilage piercings become infected about 30% of the time.Can you wear earbuds with a forward helix piercing? ›
Once your piercings have healed, its time to enjoy things the way you did before! You can safely wear headphones and earbuds as usual! It may take some experimenting to find ways and jewelry styles that work with them, but it is possible!How hard are forward helix piercings to heal? ›
Forward Helix Piercing
The healing time for this piercing is around 3-9 months. While the wound recovery process may take some time, this piercing tends to be fairly low maintenance once it fully heals.
What piercings reject the most? Surface piercings have the highest rejection rate. Surface piercings such as microdermals as well as eyebrow piercings and navel piercings reject the most because they are closest to the surface of the skin.What is the best size for forward helix? ›
Forward Helix rings normally range from 5mm to 7mm, depending on your anatomy and whether you prefer your hoop to be snug or loose fitting so it hangs down a little. In my experience, 6mm tends to be a good starting point for most people.What studs are best for forward helix? ›
Generally flat back stud earrings are the jewelry of choice for the forward helix piercing. It is also possible to wear small cartilage hoops in your forward helix piercing, but they may cause irritation and inflammation around the area.What size bar do I need for forward helix? ›
The standard bar thickness for a forward helix piercing is 1.2 mm. The most commonly used bar length is 6 mm. The most frequently chosen ball and stone sizes are 3 mm for a ball and 4 mm for a stone.Should I get a single or double forward helix? ›
There's no one style of cartilage piercing that's right for everyone, and healing times will vary depending on how many piercings you're getting at once. If you like to wear a lot of body jewelry, a double or triple helix may be up your alley; if you're more of a minimalist, a single helix piercing may suit you better.
SLEEPING ON YOUR HEALING PIERCING
Sleeping on your healing piercing, especially ear piercings, can cause it to heal angled and crooked. The pressure from laying on it causes the jewelry to become tilted, and VERY irritated. This will do all of what not downsizing your piercing will do. It's the same thing.
Cartilage piercings are some of the longest-healing piercings. This is because cartilage does not heal as easily as other tissue. It does not regenerate quickly, and it has little blood flow, which is necessary for healing.Is a helix piercing classy? ›
A helix piercing is any piercing in the upper ear cartilage / outer edge of the ear. Stylish and classy, the helix piercing is one of the most common ear piercings out there, with many people getting multiple helix piercings, and goes particularly well with huggie hoop earrings.
It has about the same level of pain as the helix piercing. The tricky thing about tragus placements is keeping them clean during the healing process. You should avoid irritating the area, so you do not get an infection.
Piercing guns are never used for other parts of the ear or body such as the helix or nose. Needles work best in cartilage areas, due to their scalpel-like sharpness and precision. Needle piercing in these areas promotes better healing! Both piercing methods can happily co-exist.What piercing helps with anxiety? ›
The daith piercing is an increasingly popular option to treat migraines, anxiety, and some other symptoms. On social media, people may come across images of this unique piercing on the inner ear, alongside promises that it will ease anxiety and improve quality of life.How can I make my forward helix heal faster? ›
The same rules apply to helix piercings as to other cartilage piercings: turn down the gun in favor of the needle and sick to a single piercing in this area for the time being. Twice-daily saline swabs, and fresh pillowcases go a long way towards speeding up the healing times.How long does it take for forward helix swelling to go down? ›
“After the first few days, it's completely normal to have a little bit of redness, soreness, and swelling. The swelling can last upwards of 10 to 14 days, and you'll get a little bit of clear or white discharge, which will turn into what we call 'crusties. ' [Ed note: Ew.]What not to eat after ear piercing? ›
Don't eat spicy, salty or acidy foods or liquids while you are healing. Avoid hot drinks such as hot chocolate, coffee, and tea. Eat cold foods and drinks as they lessen swelling. Be extra careful when eating crunchy foods.What is the safest piercing to get? ›
Along with the nostrils and belly button, the earlobes are the safest and most common body part to be pierced. The flesh of the earlobe heals well when the area is cleaned regularly and the piercing is done at the proper angle.
Upper ear piercings are more likely to get infected. Left untreated, these infections can lead to a condition known as perichondritis. An infection can also spread into your body (systemic infection). In some cases, an infection can cause your piercing to close up.Should I leave the dried blood on my piercing? ›
3) It is normal for dried blood or serous fluid (yellow crust) to form around the edges of your piercing. DO NOT pick it away while it is dry.How do you sleep with a helix piercing? ›
Try using a “U” shaped pillow. The “U” shaped travel pillow will allow your ears to stick out a little more than a regular pillow. With you ear placed in the hole, there will be no pressure on the piercing. Sleep with your neck in the middle of the “U” in order to sleep comfortable through the night.How do you prevent an infected helix piercing? ›
- choose a qualified, experienced and licensed piercer.
- clean your piercing twice a day.
- use warm, salty water to soften any crusting.
- gently turn the jewellery while cleaning the piercing.
- use a clean paper towel to dry the piercing.
Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue caused by trauma to your skin. They're common after ear piercings and can form on both the lobe and cartilage of your ear.Is it normal for helix piercing to throbbing after 5 days? ›
Since the cartilage in the helix piercing area is so thin, the piercing process goes quickly. For a few days after piercing, you'll feel some throbbing and see swelling and slight bleeding. In moderation, these symptoms are normal. If you experience these in excess, consult a medical professional.When can I wear headphones after ear infection? ›
Patients with an ear infection are advised to avoid wearing earbuds for a several weeks to allow the affected ear to heal. They may also need to take antibiotic or steroid ear drops. The infections are usually painful and typically take between three and seven days to clear up.When can I wear earphones with a tragus piercing? ›
You need to wait at least three months before wearing your earbuds or headphones as it could irritate your tragus piercing, slow down healing and possibly cause an infection. You can also wear over the ear headphones that don't apply pressure to the piercing.How long does piercing take to heal? ›
Piercing holes heal by forming a layer of cells called epithelial cells. The epithelial cells form a tube-like layer of skin along the inside of the piercing to protect your body from the foreign object. The healing process takes at least six to eight weeks.How do you know if your forward helix is healed? ›
“The initial healing time for a helix piercing is two to four months. For the piercing to be fully healed, it takes six to nine months. Healing timelines will vary based on your specific piercing and your body, but you'll know your ear is healed once any discharge, swelling, redness, flaking, or soreness stops.”
Uncommon piercings may be more costly due to the fragile nature of the procedures. A few more uncommon piercings are eyeball piercings, dermal piercings (pictured to the left), corset piercings, some genital piercings, uvula piercings, bridge piercings, and anti-eyebrow piercings (the latter two are pictured above).What is the most loved piercing? ›
- Helix piercing. ...
- Standard lobe piercing. ...
- Tragus piercing. ...
- Conch piercing. ...
- Industrial piercing. ...
- Surface tragus piercing. ...
- Snakebite piercing. ...
- Nipple piercing.
Nose. Nose piercings are notoriously hard healers, as they are a very sensitive area due to the nerves that run though. They take at least 12 weeks before being able to be changed, and even then, may need more time.What length should a forward helix piercing be? ›
Forward Helix rings normally range from 5mm to 7mm, depending on your anatomy and whether you prefer your hoop to be snug or loose fitting so it hangs down a little. In my experience, 6mm tends to be a good starting point for most people.What earrings go in forward helix? ›
Generally flat back stud earrings are the jewelry of choice for the forward helix piercing. It is also possible to wear small cartilage hoops in your forward helix piercing, but they may cause irritation and inflammation around the area.Can you put a normal earring in a forward helix piercing? ›
Do You Need Special Jewelry for a Helix Piercing? Although you do not need specific jewelry for a helix piercing, it is crucial to make sure that the earrings you do use are the proper size. The standard gauges for helix piercings are 16-gauge and 18-gauge, and the standard lengths are 3/16”, 1/4”, 5/16”, and 4/8”.Should I rotate my forward helix piercing? ›
There's no reason to rotate your piercing. You could damage the delicate, healing skin by rotating the jewelry. In the past, rotating the jewelry was recommended, but it has been found to cause damage that can lead to infection and scarring. For happy healing, NEVER rotate your body jewelry.What are the benefits of the forward helix piercing? ›
The forward helix is on the very front of the ear, closest to the head. This specific acupressure point can help with muscle tension and encourage blood circulation. By encouraging increased blood flow, this piercing may also aid in preventing wrinkles.What is the most painful piercing? ›
- Genital piercing. Your genitals are among the most nerve-dense areas on your body. ...
- Nipple piercing pain level. The nipple is another commonly pierced area that's pretty sensitive. ...
- Nose piercing pain level. ...
- Dermal piercing pain.
What Jewelry is Worn in a Forward Helix Piercing? Just like most cartilage piercings, a small ring, circular barbell (that won't impede hearing or mess with any other ear piercings nearby) or a small helix labret stud.
Some anecdotal reports suggest it may help people with migraine find relief, though research has not confirmed this. The helix, or the spot where daith piercings are inserted, is a spot used during acupuncture and acupressure. Both are well-known headache treatments.What not to do with a new helix piercing? ›
It's also important to avoid touching or upsetting your piercing as much as necessary, as irritation could cause inflammation or even, in some cases, infections. Dr. Earnest also says that if you have to touch your piercing, you should wash your hands first.Can you get 3 forward helix piercings at once? ›
You can get multiple piercings at once, but you have to be able to properly care for them. Even though there's really no limit, many piercers recommend no more than four piercings at one time. You can also stagger your piercing sessions weeks apart to make the process easier.How do you sleep with a new helix piercing? ›
Try using a “U” shaped pillow. The “U” shaped travel pillow will allow your ears to stick out a little more than a regular pillow. With you ear placed in the hole, there will be no pressure on the piercing. Sleep with your neck in the middle of the “U” in order to sleep comfortable through the night.How long does forward helix take to stop hurting? ›
“The initial healing time for a helix piercing is two to four months. For the piercing to be fully healed, it takes six to nine months. Healing timelines will vary based on your specific piercing and your body, but you'll know your ear is healed once any discharge, swelling, redness, flaking, or soreness stops.”Can I swim with forward helix piercing? ›
You should avoid swimming for at least 24 hours after having a piercing, and ideally until it has healed properly. While it's still healing, it's important to keep the piercing dry as there's a risk of infection.