When Can I Change My Helix Piercing? What You Need To Know!

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The helix piercing is still trending!

And it’s not hard to see why. They are beautiful and sexy and can really elevate your look.

But committing to just one earring can be challenging and, for some of us, the moment we get our first piercing, we’re already wondering, “When can I change my helix piercing?”

It’s the inevitable question that pops into everyone’s mind when one begins scrolling through cute helix piercings on Instagram. (We’ve all been there!)

Maybe you have a helix piercing, and you’re itching to change it, or maybe you’re just getting ready to get your helix pierced for the first time and want to know how long it will take before you can change up your jewelry.

a close-up image of a woman's ear with multiple helix piercing

It’s a big decision, so it’s right that you take your time and do your research before getting your helix pierced.

And we’re here to help!

In this article, we break down everything you need to know about helix piercings, including the types of piercings, healing time, care tips, and the answer to the question: when can you change your helix piercing?

What Is a Helix Piercing?

Over the years, people have gotten more adventurous with their ear piercings.

After all, an ear is excellent for playing around with jewelry, and ear lobe piercings aren’t the only way to wear earrings.

These days, people are becoming as adventurous with their ear piercings as they are with their hair color and nail designs.

Many are going beyond the standard earlobe piercing and turning to helix piercing for something different and unique.

But what is a helix piercing? 

See that area in the curved outer rim of the ear? That’s known as the helix.

A helix piercing is a piercing located on the helix, which is the curved outer rim of the ear.

It can be placed higher or lower along this rim, depending on one’s preference, and can be a single or double piercing.

What differentiates the piercings are the number of piercings (single, double, or triple) and where they are located on the helix.

The Most Popular Types of Helix Piercing

An infographic featuring five most popular types of helix piercing and three types of jewelry used for helix piercings

Now that you know what a helix piercing is, let’s look more closely at the most popular types of helix piercings. 

Different ear piercings on a woman's ear.

1. The Helix Piercing

The traditional helix piercing is right through the middle of the helix. This is the part of the ear cartilage right under the upper curve and above the ear canal.

2. The Forward Helix Piercing

The forward helix piercing is located on the cartilage where your ear curves right before the temple. 

It is pierced through the forward-facing surface at the inner end of the helix, right above the tragus (the thick piece of flesh that covers the ear’s opening).

This type of helix piercing has been increasing in popularity because they look fantastic and usually heal without issues.

3. The Mid Helix Piercing

The mid helix piercing is lower down on the helix, usually toward the bottom of where the upper ear curves and in line with the tragus.

4. The Double Helix Piercing

Coined as the “double helix,” this refers to the two piercings placed in the upper outer cartilage of the ear, right above your tragus. 

It allows you to get more creative as you can wear two different earrings. 

5. The Triple Helix Piercing

This type of helix piercing is just like a double helix but has three piercings placed in the upper outer cartilage positioned in a vertical row. 

It can be more painful than the other piercings and will take longer to heal. 

Types of Jewelry Used for Helix Piercings 

Now that you know the popular helix piercings, let’s look at the different types of jewelry used for these piercings.

Choosing your first helix earring is exciting!

A woman with a piercings on her ear.

But it’s also natural for you to wonder, when can I change my helix piercing? 

After all, playing around with accessories and matching them to your look is half the fun! 

But more details on when you change earrings later on. Let’s first look at the different types of jewelry often first used for a helix piercing.

Remember, when choosing your first helix earring, choose one you’ll be okay with for the next several months as you heal.

Here are some of the standard pieces of jewelry you can use:

1. Captive Bead Rings

Captive bead rings are versatile pieces of circular jewelry designed with a small bead or ball in the center.

These are often used for lip, eyebrow, nose, or helix piercings. 

2. Studs

A stud is a small piece of jewelry with a metal backing or clutch. 

Stud earrings are often described as more subtle and versatile than other types of earrings like hoops or dangle earrings. 

You can attach a small fixture on the opposite side of the piercing to ensure that your stud stays in place. 

3. Hoops

Hoops are one of the most popular choices for helix piercings.

A hoop is an earring shaped like a big or small hoop ring. There are different sizes and shapes ranging from small and delicate to big and chunky.

These are the most basic jewelry types and usually the best for the first piercing.

Eventually, you can play around with your jewelry with fun shapes, designs, and styles like dangling piercings, ornate designs with gems and charms, or even longer jewelry shaped like leaves or swirls.

How Long Does It Take for Helix Piercings To Heal? 

Now that you know the popular types of helix piercings and jewelry used, the next thing you need to know to answer the question “When can I change my helix piercing” is how long they take to heal.

The healing time for a helix piercing is subjective and may vary from ear to ear.

But know that a cartilage piercing will definitely take longer to heal than a classic earlobe piercing.

Generally, the healing time for a helix piercing can take anywhere from three to six months to heal. 

But this healing time usually depends on various factors including your body’s individual healing process, your skin’s sensitivity, aftercare, and the size and type of jewelry you chose. 

Keeping the piercing clean, religiously following aftercare instructions, and avoiding irritation are crucial during healing and will quicken the process. 

Make sure to follow your piercer’s instructions if you want your healing to be complete and quick so you can change your jewelry sooner.

A woman is getting her ear pierced by a doctor.

How Do You Take Care of Helix Piercings? 

Like all piercings, helix piercings need extra aftercare to stay healthy and not get infected.

Properly caring for your helix piercing can speed up the process of healing and allow you to change your jewelry faster.

Here are some things you can do to speed up the healing time and prevent the piercing site from getting infected. 

1. Clean the Piercing Site

Cleaning your helix piercing properly is very important. Before touching your ears, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 

To clean your piercing site, make a homemade saline solution by mixing ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with eight ounces of warm distilled water. 

Then soak a sterile cotton ball or pad in the saline solution. It might be tempting, but never use a Q-tip when cleaning your piercing area as its fibers can transfer onto the piercing. 

Hold the soaked cotton ball or pad against your piercing for three to five minutes. A friendly reminder to be extra careful not to move the jewelry too much as you clean it. 

Moving it too much could damage the surrounding skin and leave bumpy scars.

And avoid using harsh products or chemicals near the piercing, including alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or ointments. 

2. Keep the Piercing Dry

It’s important to keep your piercing dry during healing because moisture usually causes bacterial growth and might delay your healing. 

This is because moisture at the piercing site can create a breeding ground for bacteria and increase the risk of infection, leading to complications such as scarring and the need to remove the piercing. 

3. Don’t Twist or Move the Jewelry as Much as Possible

As with any fresh piercing, avoid touching or twisting the jewelry while it’s healing. 

Moving the piercing or the jewelry too much can irritate the surrounding tissue and disrupt the healing. 

Similar to moisture, moving the piercing now and then can also introduce bacteria into the piercing site, increasing the risk of infection.

Additionally, moving the jewelry can cause scar tissue formation or even cause the jewelry to become embedded in the skin, resulting in keloid. 

4. Sleep on Clean Pillows

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how much bacteria, oil, and dirt live on your pillow. 

When you sleep on a dirty pillow, you expose your piercing to these contaminants, which can cause irritation. 

If possible, change your pillowcase nightly to avoid bacteria growth.

But if that’s too difficult, you can also cover your pillow with a clean T-shirt every night until your piercing is fully healed.

5. Do Not Remove or Change Piercings as the Helix Heals

You shouldn’t move or change your jewelry while the piercing heals or else you can damage the skin surrounding your piercing wound. This can lead to infections or scars.

Plus, cartilage wounds are a lot less forgiving because of the sensitive nature of the skin in that area. Don’t risk it. Save the jewelry change until the piercing is fully healed.

When Can I Change My Helix Piercing?

So you now have a basic understanding of helix piercings: what the different types are, what kind of jewelry is used, and how to help speed up the healing process. 

But the big question remains: “When can I first change my helix piercing?”

You can’t change your helix piercing until it is fully healed. 

In the case of most helix piercings, this will take approximately three to six months, depending on your aftercare regimen and your skin.

The piercings that often take longer to heal include the forward helix piercing or any of the piercings in the inner part of the ear

These normally require a minimum of four to nine months as the skin in that area is more sensitive.

Only when your piercing is healed should you begin to consider removing the earring and changing it.

When Can I Change My Double Helix Piercing? 

A double helix piercing takes roughly the same time to heal as a single piercing, so the answer to this question is the same: when it’s healed, it takes approximately three to six months.

Look out for the healed signs stated in the next section before you try to replace or change the piercing.

When Can I Change My Mid Helix Piercing?

The healing time for most helix piercings on the outer cartilage of the ear is the same, so the answer is the same as regular helix and double helix piercing: three to six months or when fully healed.

What Happens if I Change My Helix Too Early?

Unfortunately, patience is important when it comes to changing up your helix piercing.

If you change it too early, you risk potential infection, inflammation, or even the piercing closing up completely.

If that happens, you’d have to start all over again.

So be sure to pick an earring you really love when you do it the first time and wait until it’s completely healed before making any changes.

A woman with a pierced ear.

How Do I Know if My Piercing Is Healed? 

Are you itching to change your piercing after finding a new earring you love? Trying to figure out if your helix piercing is already fully healed?

After all, three to six months is a big window.

If you want to know if your piercing is healed, there are different ways to check.

Look for these signs to indicate your helix piercing is fully healed:

  • The piercing site is no longer sore, painful, or tender to the touch.
  • You’ll notice that the area around the piercing is no longer red or swollen. 
  • You’ll notice that there is no longer any crust or scab formation around the helix piercing. 

If a minimum of three months has passed and you’ve been diligent with your aftercare and you notice all these signs, your helix piercing has most likely healed and can safely be changed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Helix Piercing a Good Piercing for a First-Timer? 

There’s no one right piercing for your first piercing. However, you should also consider your pain tolerance and commitment to aftercare.

If you have a low pain tolerance, you may want to start with a traditional ear lobe piercing as it’s less painful than a cartilage piercing.

How Do I Prepare for My First Helix Piercing?

The most important thing you need to do when considering getting a helix piercing is to choose a reliable and professional piercing studio.

A helix piercing needs a professional piercer as it is a little more advanced. 

Second, it’s recommended that you eat something roughly two hours before your appointment. Eating maintains your blood sugar and prevents dizziness or even fainting. 

Plus, while you may want to take a painkiller (or down a shot of liquor) to help with the pain of the piercing, don’t do it. 

Painkillers and alcohol can thin your blood. And when your platelets are too low, it can cause excessive bleeding and bruising.

Changing Your Helix Piercing: The Bottom Line

If you want to get creative with your ear piercings, a helix piercing is a great way to do it!

But it’s a big decision, especially if it’s your first time, so be sure not to take it lightly. Do your research and find a professional piercing studio that you can trust.

And decide on jewelry that you’re okay to wear for at least three months minimum (maybe six months) as your piercing heals. The last thing you want to do is change your earring too early.

So the answer to the question “When can I change my helix piercing” is when it’s fully healed, or approximately three to six months for a standard helix piercing.

Just follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions and your helix piercing will heal in no time.

If you wait patiently, then you’ll be ready to enter the next exciting phase of changing your piercing and playing around with gorgeous earrings and accessories!

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  • Michelle Alejandro

    Michelle has had a lifelong love affair with makeup. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications /Journalism, she began an illustrious career as a writer. Michelle penned a beauty and lifestyle national newspaper column for over a decade and became the Beauty Editor for Chalk Magazine and Editor-in-Chief for Metro Weddings for over nine years, working with some of the biggest makeup artists and trusted beauty brands in the business. During this time, she also completed a course in Creative Artistic Makeup Design and worked as a freelance makeup artist, beauty editor, and writer.

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