Piercings and tattoos might be an itch that must be scratched, right? If you think about it, a cartilage piercing is sort of a gateway drug. Of course, earlobe piercings are where they start, but having your cartilage pierced is the first “above board” step, as far as piercings are concerned.
In the Post
- What Exactly is the Helix?
- Types of Helix Piercings
- Important Points to Consider before Getting a Helix Piercing
- What about The Bumps
- What to Expect After a Piercing
- What Should have You Worried after a Piercing?
- Final Thought
Well, nowadays, babies as young as two months old are having their earlobes pierced, which means that there isn’t much pain associated with this type of piercing, but when it comes to your helix, you may wonder just how much pain you are likely to experience.
Now, the amount of pain you shall feel depends on your tolerance level. Some people have a high threshold for pain, while others will start screaming at the sight of a needle, so they may experience much more pain. But,
What Exactly is the Helix?
The helix is on your ear’s outer rim. It is the curve on your ear known as the auricle. Depending on your preference, the piercing can either be on the lower or higher part of your helix.
Helix piercings are trendy, and they are sometimes referred to as the cartilage piercings. An industrial piercing is different from this, because it involves the use of two helix piercings that are connected to each other using a hardware called a bar – we shall explain this in great details later on. You probably have seen a few people with these types of piercings.
The beauty of a helix piercing is that you can easily hide it if you do not want people to see it. This comes in handy when in a conservative environment that does not allow piercings.
Types of Helix Piercings
If you have decided to have a helix piercing, here are the different types;
The anti-helix piercing
Also known as snug, this piercing is found on the raised part of the ear, which is inside the curved part. It is extremely popular, especially for people who do not want others to notice the piercing.
The tragus is the flap that separates your face from the ear canal. It is thick cartilage that is ideal for piercing. The area usually is pronounced, and, therefore, perfect for people who wish to show off their ear-piercing by exposing it.
This is the most extreme type of helix piercing and the most popular as well. It is not one, but two or more piercings, made on the ear cartilage.
The ear is pierced at the two furthest sides of the helix, and then a bar is inserted between the two holes to join them. Needless to say that this is also the most painful type of piercing.
Interested in other piercings?
Important Points to Consider before Getting a Helix Piercing
1. Find a reputable piercing specialist
This is the first and most crucial point. Your BFF is not a professional, and neither is that weird guy with a bunch of holes on his body. This is a serious piercing that is likely to get infected if it’s not done in the right way, using the proper tools.
You have to look for a licensed piercer. According to dermatologists, it is wise to get your piercing done by your doctor or at a tattoo parlor, as they have the proper tools and the appropriate training to do such things.
Improper piercing could also lead to disfiguration and scarring, and it may cause you to have cysts underneath your skin.
2. Consider having the piercing on the side you do not sleep on
Most people have piercings done on a whim, and they never spend time thinking much about it. If you get your piercing on your sleeping side, then, chances are that you shall end up having trouble sleeping, as the pain is magnified by sleeping on the pierced ear.
3. Consider the aftercare
Before going in for a helix piercing, it is essential to note that the aftercare is exceptionally crucial. There is a precise way of cleaning the area, and there are specific rules that must be followed. If you do not follow the aftercare rules carefully, you may develop an infection or a bump at the back of your ear.
Do not touch the piercing before it heals, and do not allow anyone to touch it either. When you keep touching it, especially with dirty hands, you may end up contaminating the area and cause an infection, amongst other problems.
If you must touch the pierced ear, ensure to use hands that have been thoroughly cleaned with soap and warm water for at least two minutes, and do not let your hands come into direct contact with anything before the touching.
4. Cleaning the area
You must ensure to clean the wound a few hours after it has been pierced and before you go to bed at night. Use the liquid that you were given and do not apply any peroxide, cream, or other product you may have collected from people.
These creams usually contain bacteria that can build up and clog the area and lead to an infection. Peroxide, on the other side, is way too strong for a piercing and may end up prolonging the healing process and even lead to swelling or blistering’s.
5. The healing process
So, how long will it take your new piercing to heal?
Cartilage piercings usually take time to heal, and some can even take 2 years to fully heal. Most, however, are ready after 2-4 months. The longer you leave the jewelry in without changing, the better for you.
So, even if you check after a month and assume that the piercing is fully healed, do not make the mistake of changing the earing just yet because sometimes, it can close up in a few seconds after you remove the earring.
Ask the piercer for advice, and you can even go back to them and see if they can change the piercing for you.
We have mentioned this above, the possibility of the piercing getting infected. Now, although these infections are rarely ever serious, as almost 30% of them usually are bacterial infections that can be easily treated, it is essential, nevertheless, to ensure that you take good care of your new piercing to avoid an infection.
One of the reasons why cartilage piercings have a high infection rate is due to the fact that there is no blood supply to the area. Other areas with blood flow are milder to treat because your blood can carry antibiotics to them, but this is not the case with the cartilage.
What about The Bumps
You have probably heard of the bumps associated with ear piercings, and probably have seen one or two people with them and are probably scared and worried you might get one.
Bumps are small raised scars that develop around pierced holes. Usually, they are not dangerous, and they do not cause any irritation or itching, but having a bump on your piercing can close the hole and make the ear appear unpleasant.
The good thing to note is that these bumps do not remain there forever, and they may disappear in a month or two.
What causes bumps to form?
It is essential to understand why bumps form, so you can be careful and on the lookout. Here are a few factors that may cause them to appear on your pierced ear;
- Poor personal hygiene
Hygiene is an extremely important part of piercings, and this determines whether bumps will form or not. You must be careful to clean the wound as directed and avoid touching the area before it has fully healed.
Also, do not let your hair to keep touching the area either, as this could cause a buildup of bacteria and lead to an infection.
- Use of an infected piercing equipment
This is why we mentioned getting your piercing done by a professional who understands the business and how to keep you safe. If the equipment used has not been properly sterilized, then it may cause an infection in the pierced area.
Bacteria tend to grow on unsterilized equipment, and they become contaminated. As a result, the piercing will end up being severe, painful, and infected.
- Using the wrong jewelry
You must ensure to choose the appropriate jewelry for the piercing. Using a poor quality earring such as cheap metals may lead you to have bumps. Nickel is usually contained in most jewelry, and this causes allergic conditions in most people, so it is safe to stay away from it.
Conduct an investigation on which metals you are allergic to before getting a piercing, as this will go a long way into ensuring that you do not end up with an infection and then an unsightly bump.
What to Expect After a Piercing
- Swelling – this is a wound, and it is likely to swell up due to the aggravation. This is completely normal, and your piercer should use a long bar or a large ring to allow the proper swelling.
- Redness – of course the introduction of a foreign object shall irritate the area and cause your ear to appear red for some time. This should go away on its own in a day or two.
- Discomfort – With cartilage piercings, there is usually some slight discomfort, sensitivity, and pain. You might find it difficult to smile or lie down on the pierced side. This is completely normal, and it shall go away in a couple of days.
- You may feel run down – this is a pretty common feeling after a piercing. This happens because your body sees the piercing as a foreign object, and hence it will send up troops to fight it – this is your immune system.
- Itchiness – you may have a small amount of itching during the healing process.
What Should have You Worried after a Piercing?
If after the third and fourth days your ear is still swollen, then something is probably wrong, and you may need to see a doctor.
If you notice the skin around the piercing keeps increasing in temperature and becomes uncomfortable, which could be accompanied by excessive redness and swelling, then this is a sign that there is an allergic reaction and possible infection.
It is normal to have some whitish or yellowish pus leaking from the pierced area, but anything dark in color, especially brown color is a sign of a bad infection.
If you happen to start smelling the piercing, then this is not normal.
If you start having high temperatures, nausea, chills, feeling fatigued, vomiting, and generally having flu symptoms, this is a bad sign. It means you have an infection, and you should go to the hospital immediately.
While some itching is normal, severe itching however is a bad sign, and it shows that you are probably allergic to the metal in the earring, or the cleaning solution you were given. Speak to the piercer, or seek medical advice.
In most cases, piercings don’t bleed, and if you must have blood, it should be a very small amount. However, if the bleeding is occurring after a couple of days, then there could be a problem, and you should seek immediate medical attention.
Although this is a sign of bruising on the piercing, it could also mean that you have a metal allergy and especially the surgical steel.
While most piercings usually go without a hitch, it is important to be on the lookout for anything unusual. It’s because a small infection can magnify into something serious quick.
The most important point, however, is to ensure that you get your helix pierced by a licensed piercer or someone who is well known and has a good reputation.