The helix piercing
is a perforation of the helix
or upper ear (cartilage) for the purpose of inserting and wearing a piece of jewelry
. The piercing
itself is usually made with a small gauge hollow piercing needle, and typical jewelry would be a small diameter captive bead ring
, or a stud.
Sometimes, two helix piercings hold the same piece of jewelry, usually a barbell, which is called an industrial piercing.
A sterile needle is pushed through the cartilage and then kept while the jewelry is added. This can be painful, depending on the individual's pain threshold, and bleeding and swelling are expected after the piercing process, especially if the jewelry is bumped or snagged on hair or clothing.
Piercing guns are not commonly used due to a risk of shattering the cartilage, infection, and sudden shock to the ear.
Bleeding, swelling and redness of the skin is common after a helix piercing. Always wash hands before touching the piercing, the area around it and the jewelry. Simply using hot but not boiling water with sea salt added helps to keep the piercing clean.
The helix piercing usually takes 6-8 months to heal. In some cases, however, it takes as little as 2 months and as long as a year to heal. Make sure to keep it clean. Knocking the piercing or rotating the jewelry may prolong the healing time as it can usually break away the clot/scab/plug that is preventing the bleeding. The jewelry acts like a plug, so removing it before the piercing has properly healed may cause complications.