Forward Helix Piercing: Pain, Cost, Healing Time, Benefits, Jewelry, Sizes, Risks, Aftercare

Forward Helix Piercing: Pain, Cost, Healing Time, Benefits, Jewelry, Sizes, Risks, Aftercare

Most people are introduced to their first piercing experience with a typical earlobe piercing. However, the ear offers multiple piercing locations that are both visually interesting and on-trend.

Chances are, you've seen or heard of many examples of these types of ear piercings. One of the most popular examples is the forward helix piercing.

What is a Forward Helix Piercing?

The forward helix piercing is located on the upper half of your ear on the side closest to your face. If you imagine the ear as a seashell that spirals in on itself, the helix is the outer rim of the shell. 

Helix vs Forward Helix Piercing

A helix piercing is done in the upper half of your ear. It can be a single piercing or multiple. It can also be positioned in various areas of your upper ear based on your preferences. Helix piercings may use hoops, studs, or other variations of jewelry.

Forward Helix Piercing Pain Scale

Does forward helix piercing hurt? The average person can expect a pain level of 5 or 6 on a 0-10 pain scale. The forward helix is usually more painful than a traditional earlobe piercing due to the presence of cartilage.

Individual experiences will differ depending on their own pain tolerance, the composition of their ear, and whether a needle or machine is used for the piercing.

Forward Helix Piercing Cost

How much is a forward helix piercing? In the U.S., a forward helix piercing may cost you between $30 and $70. Note that the price often doesn't include jewelry, the cost of which will differ based on the material it's made out of. You will likely pay up to $90-100 for a well-done piercing with jewelry.

Forward Helix Healing Time

How long does a forward helix piercing take to heal? The average healing time for this type of piercing is 6-9 months. Your new forward helix piercing may appear healed on the outside at 3 months, but it can take up to 1 year for it to be completely healed.

Following all aftercare instructions ensures faster healing, but be aware that cartilage piercings heal slower than soft-tissue piercings. 

Forward Helix Piercing Benefits

Outside of aesthetics and style, there may be some health benefits to receiving piercings in the ear. The forward helix in particular is a known acupressure point that can help alleviate head pains and tinnitus.

Forward Helix Piercing Jewelry

Types of Forward Helix Piercing Jewelry

Types of forward helix piercing jewelry include labret studs, curved barbells, and hoops.

1. Labret Studs

Labret stud implant-grade titanium with cubic zirconia 16G $18.9, SHOP NOW.

If this piercing had a standard type of jewelry, it would be the flat back labret stud. A compact stud is ideal for this small piercing area, and the flat back protects the inside of the ear from irritation.

For this reason, labret stud earrings are usually the first type of jewelry used for a new forward helix piercing.

2. Curved Barbells

Curved barbell piercing ASTM F136 implant-grade titanium internally threaded $16.9, SHOP NOW.

The first piece of jewelry for your rook ear piercing will be curved studs or barbells used during the healing process.

The curve allows decorative gems or other components to stand out more than a straight barbell. A downside, though, might be the barbell's tendency to flip inwards.

Bar-type jewelry will have a bar with a ball on each end. They can also be used on a fresh forward helix piercing in place of a labret stud. Because of the anatomy of the ear, a curved barbell may be more comfortable to wear than a straight one.

However, most piercers will recommend wearing a straight bar during the healing process to minimize any risk of complications.

3. Forward Helix Piercing Hoop

16 gauge captive bead ring implant-grade titanium $18.9, SHOP NOW.

Hoop earrings add a classy touch to any part of the ear but are only recommended for piercings that have healed completely.

The best type of hoop earring for this piercing is a seam ring, consisting of two halves that slide into each other to form a smooth seam.

Captive bead rings are also common for helix piercings. This type of hoop is identifiable by an incomplete ring with a bead in the empty space, which provides natural tension to hold the entire unit together.

Forward Helix Piercing Size

1. What Gauge Is a Forward Helix Piercing?

In most cases, a 16-gauge or 18-gauge needle is used for the forward helix, and the gauge of the jewelry should match the gauge of the needle.

2. Length

In addition, the length of the studs or barbells should measure between 5-8mm. The standard length is 6mm. You will want a post that's short enough to stay comfortably in place but long enough to accommodate any swelling that may occur.

3. Diameter

For hoops, the most common size is 6mm in diameter, but it can be more or less depending on if you prefer a snug or loose fit.

Recommended Materials

1. Titanium Industrial Piercing Jewelry

Implant-grade titanium forward helix jewelry is strongly recommended. It is lightweight, nickel-free, and won’t tarnish. It’s often recommended for those who are allergic to brass, nickel, and other metals common for jewelry.

2. Precious Metals

Platinum and 14-karat gold ear piercing jewelry can offer an elevated look. However, they may be more pricey and could tarnish over time. Also consider if you have allergies, such as an allergy to gold.

3. Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel

If you opt for stainless steel, you should opt for surgical-grade steel. It often contributes to a smooth healing process and is extremely durable.

However, it does contain small amounts of nickel that could cause allergic reactions in those with skin sensitivities. Talk through all material options with your piercer to figure out what’s best for you and your skin.

4. Sterling Silver

A metal that is durable, affordable, and appealing to the eye with its shiny appearance. However, sterling silver is often not recommended for new piercings because it can complicate the healing process.

5. Bioflex Plastic

Flexible jewelry made from renewable materials that are metal-free and can come in different colors.

When Can I Change My Forward Helix Piercing?

You should wait until your helix piercing is fully healed to change it. This typically takes between 6 months to 9 months. However, this timeframe could be longer if you don’t take proper care of the piercing or if you have complications.

It can also just depend on the person. For example, some people require a full year before their piercings are completely 

How to Change or Remove Forward Helix Piercing?

Along with being relatively comfortable, labret studs are easy to change out. Push-pin labrets have a stud on a pin that "pushes" into a hollow post, and they can be removed by gently pulling the stud out of the post.

On the other hand, screw-on labrets have studs that screw on and off the threaded end of the post.

Most bar earrings will also have a screw-on mechanism and can be removed by screwing off one of the balls on the end of the bar.

Hoops can be changed by gently pulling the hoop apart to open the seam or release the captive bead, depending on the type of hoop.

Forward Helix Piercing Hurts When I Smile?

Some people have ears that move a little when they talk or smile, so it's normal to experience some pain after a new forward helix piercing. The pain is most noticeable during the first few days and should subside as the piercing heals.

Consult your piercer or physician if the pain lasts longer than a few days, gets worse, or is accompanied by new symptoms.

In the meantime, you can manage any discomfort by avoiding unnecessary facial expressions and following your aftercare instructions.

Potential Risks

1. Infected Forward Helix Piercing

A yellowish, pus-like discharge is a telltale sign of infection, which differs from the clear, watery discharge that naturally occurs with healing. Other signs include redness, itching, burning, and prolonged swelling beyond the first few days after receiving the piercing.

A saltwater rinse three times a day is the typical course of action when an infection occurs.

2. Bump on Forward Helix Piercing

A hard bump near your piercing in the absence of infection symptoms is likely a granuloma. Granulomas are concentrations of blood cells and vessels that occur as the body's natural reaction to trauma.

They are very common in cartilage piercings and should fade with time with proper care.

3. Forward Helix Piercing Rejection

Rejection occurs when your skin begins to push out your new jewelry instead of forming scar tissue around it. It can occur from improper piercing placement, the material of the jewelry, or the condition of your skin.

If you notice your new piercing is migrating towards the surface of the skin, consider changing the material or size of the jewelry.

How to Clean Forward Helix Piercing?

The best way to prevent complications is to perform the right aftercare. This involves cleaning your piercing at least twice a day.

Your piercer may give you a saline solution, or, you can make your own at home by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into 1 cup of warm water.

  1. To clean the piercing, you’ll soak something like a cotton ball in the saltwater solution.
  2. Then, you’ll apply it to the front and the back of the piercing to saturate the area. If needed, you can use a dampened cotton swab to gently brush away any crust.
  3. Pat the area dry using a paper towel or low-ply cloth that won’t snag.

To help your piercing heal more quickly, soak the area at least twice daily with your solution. Depending on the location of your piercing, this may be difficult, but you can use a large bowl or soak a cotton swab in the saline solution and place it on the piercing site. If you have any questions about this process, your piercer can help.

Forward Helix Piercing Care

  • Use a homemade saline solution or an antibacterial cleanser approved by your piercer each day.
  • Use safe metals like K gold and implant-grade titanium that you aren’t allergic to.
  • Avoid touching and playing with your piercing jewelry.
  • Allow it to fully heal before changing the jewelry.
  • Avoid sleeping on the ear you had pierced.
  • Avoid contact with scented soaps, perfumes, chemicals, and other chemicals.
  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap when you do clean or touch the piercing and jewelry.

You should ensure you get pierced by someone experienced and reliable who utilizes the right cleaning and sterilization procedures. You’ll also need to choose high-quality jewelry that you aren’t allergic to. After you get your piercing, be sure to follow all instructions from your piercer.


New piercings can be exciting because they provide more opportunities for expressing your creativity and personal style.

For best results, choose an experienced piercer who can recommend the appropriate jewelry and placement for your anatomy. If you're eager to add more jewelry to your ear, a forward helix piercing is a unique and stylish choice that you can enjoy for years to come.

Read More

Helix Piercing: Healing, Pain, Cost, Jewelry, Aftercare, Pros and Cons

Industrial Piercing: Cost, Pain, Healing, Jewelry, Risks, Cleaning, Aftercare

Rook Piercing: Pain, Healing, Cost, Benefits, Jewelry, Risks, Aftercare

Conch Piercing: Placement, Pain, Healing, Cost, Jewelry, Aftercare, Pros and Cons

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