Helix piercing refers to piercing of the upper outer portion of the ear through the cartilage. Most people are familiar with traditional ear piercing through the ear lobe which contains no cartilage. Helix piercing tends to be more painful than traditional ear lobe piercing because puncturing the cartilage is a bit more painful. That being said, just like with traditional piercing, it’s a quick pinch and the discomfort doesn’t last long. I find it’s the anticipation that bothers people more!
The main caution I tend to have for patients obtaining piercings through cartilage is to make sure that the earring used is made of stainless steel or hypoallergenic. It’s common for piercings to ‘tattoo’ the skin in this area (also an issue for nose piercing). This happens more with silver jewelry and is called localized cutaneous argyria. This can be lasered but it’s easily avoided. It is also important to note that these piercings should stay in place for a few months and not the usual 4-6 weeks for the ear lobe. They can take a little longer to heal successfully.