Mid Helix Piercing: Pain, Healing Time, Cost, Jewelry, Sizes, and Aftercare
Mid-helix piercings are a great way to express yourself if you are looking for something beyond the standard lobe ear piercing. You may have plenty of questions about this body modification, especially if you are new to cartilage piercings.
Let this guide help answer some of the questions you may have about the before, during, and after of getting one.
What Is a Mid Helix Piercing?
When you hear people talking about helix piercings, they are referring to a cartilage piercing on the upper part of your ear. A mid-helix piercing hole sits farther down the outer edge, approximately in the middle of the cartilage.
The location is approximately the same level as the ear hole if you were to draw a horizontal line between the two.
Variants: Double Mid Helix Piercing
A double helix piercing uses two adjacent piercing holes in the mid-helix region. The holes sit one on top of the other, making a stack.
Variants: Triple Mid Helix Piercing
You can add another hole and make your stack a triple, providing a stand-out display for rings or studs.
Helix vs Mid 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.
Mid Helix Piercing Scale
Does mid helix piercing hurt? Many people rate the pain at 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 through 10.
While helix piercings are through cartilage, the material on the outer edge of your ear is thinner. That makes mid-helix piercings one of the least painful cartilage piercings you can get.
Mid-Helix Piercing Healing Time
How long does a mid helix piercing take to heal? A mid-helix piercing will take between six and nine months to heal.
Another advantage of thinner cartilage in this part of the ear is healing time. Thinner material means it takes less time to fill the hole and regenerate cartilage, skin, and tissue.
Mid Helix Piercing Cost
How much is a mid helix piercing? You can expect to pay between $30 and $100, depending on several factors. The jewelry you get can increase cost, as can the location of the shop you use.
You will pay extra for an experienced piercing technician too. Cleanliness, single-use needles, and studio guidelines can also alter the final cost.
Mid Helix Piercing Jewelry
Types of Mid Helix Piercing Jewelry
Common types of mid helix piercing jewelry include studs, bars, curved barbells, and hoops.
Labret stud implant-grade titanium with cubic zirconia 16G $18.9, SHOP NOW.
You will likely start with a stud in your mid-helix piercing. The advantage here is they are better for healing than jewelry like hoops.
There is less pressure placed on the edges of the hole and it allows tissue to fill in the space between the stud and your ear. The downside is that piercing studs are often plain in appearance.
Piercing barbell 14g 16g titanium $17.9, SHOP NOW.
Many people switch out to bars when they remove their piercing studs. You will find a large selection of lengths and gem sizes with bar jewelry. You can select shorter bars for a tighter fit too. Some feel that bars are commonplace, though, and look for more unique expressions.
3. Curved Barbells
Curved barbell piercing ASTM F136 implant-grade titanium internally threaded $16.9, SHOP NOW.
Curved barbells are a popular choice for replacing piercing studs as well. They are a bit less common than straight bars, but that can mean less variety for gems and other decorative effects.
Many customers also prefer curved barbells as they feel the curve is more gentle on the piercing hole and it doesn't dig into the back of the ear like a straight bar can.
4. Mid Helix Piercing Hoop
Hoop piercing with CZ made of titanium $18.9, SHOP NOW.
Hoops are an interesting choice for the mid-helix placement. Avoid them while healing, as they place undue pressure on the piercing hole walls and can cause more agitation from things like snags.
They can create visually stunning pieces, especially if you have a double or triple stack. It is likely the least used type in a mid-helix location.
Sizes of Mid Helix Piercing Jewelry
Many ear cartilage piercings use 16 gauge jewelry, with some using a thicker 14 gauge wire. Smaller diameter pieces in the 18 to 20-gauge range are rare, as the thicker diameter is often needed for cartilage piercings.
Piercing studs for helix piercing, including the mid helix, should measure 8mm to 11mm in length. You can reduce the length to 6mm to 8mm once your ear has healed.
The variance in length noted here is due to the difference in cartilage thickness between individuals. You want to start with longer studs to avoid agitation during healing. Once healed, dropping the length will allow you to avoid snags and your jewelry will display better.
Smaller is the choice for those wearing hoops in their mid-helix piercing holes. That puts most hoops in the 6 to 9-millimeter range, with variance accommodating cartilage thickness.
You can use the smaller hoops for a hugging effect or get something slightly larger for a bit of dangling from the hole.
Safe Metals for Mid Helix Piercing Jewelry
1. Titanium Industrial Piercing Jewelry
Implant-grade titanium mid 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.
1. Mid-Helix Piercing Infection
A piercing hole is an open wound that takes weeks to heal, making it vulnerable to bacteria. Cartilage piercings take longer than lobe piercings to heal, so it stands to reason they will be open to more infections.
Symptoms can include redness, swelling, pain, and discharge. Warm compresses and saline washes can help open it. Using antibiotics can help eliminate the infection.
2. Piercing Rejection
Sometimes the metal used in jewelry or your genetics can cause your body to reject a piercing. If the piercing hole increases in size, the skin begins to flake or peel, or the piercing area becomes calloused, your body may be rejecting the mid-helix piercing.
Treatments can include changing the jewelry material, opting for smaller sizes, or taking the jewelry out.
When Can I Change My Mid Helix Piercing?
Most piercing technicians and health care providers suggest waiting until your piercing is fully healed before changing jewelry. Those who want to change out jewelry sooner than the six to nine-month window should wait at least a month or two.
Remember, if you swap out jewelry before the piercing hole heals, you run the risk of damaging it.
How to Clean Mid 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.
- To clean the piercing, you’ll soak something like a cotton ball in the saltwater solution.
- 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.
- 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.
Mid Helix Piercing Care
- Use a homemade saline solution or an antibacterial cleanser approved by your piercer each day.
- Use safe metals like 14K 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.