Sunday

Forward Helix Piercing Questions Answered

A huge amount of my traffic comes from people looking for information on my piercings. Analytics shows a heap of questions such as How much is a forward helix piercing, How long will my forward helix piercing take to heal? and, of course, Do forward helix piercings hurt? With this in mind, I thought it was high time I created a forward helix piercing Q&A. All of these questions are real search results, by the way!


What is a forward helix piercing?
A forward helix is a piercing at the top front of your ear. The outer rim of your ear is called the helix, so the forward helix is at the front of this rim, pretty much where your ear meets the side of your face.

Short answer: Here, have a photo. It's the one at the top.Forward Helix Piercing

How are forward helix piercings done?

First of all, your piercer will mark a spot on your ear and allow you to check if you like it. When you're happy, they will clean your ear and place a clamp on it (this doesn't hurt, although it sounds scary!) They'll quickly push the needle through your ear before putting the jewellery in. The piercing itself only takes a couple of seconds.

Short answer: The needle will be quickly pushed through in a couple of seconds. Easy!

Does getting your forward helix pierced hurt?

Ah, the age-old pain question. Of course, everybody has a difference pain threshold and certain areas will hurt people more than others. In my experience, however, the answer is yes. Yes, it hurt a bloody lot! I think this may be largely down to the fact that I was a bit cocky, having already had something like 23 piercings, and knowing I had a high pain threshold. I also got cramp in my leg at exactly the same time as the needle went in, which didn't help.

Short answer: It hurts more than most piercings but, if you go in expecting the pain, you'll probably be alright.



How long does a forward helix piercing take to heal?

Again, the question of healing is a tricky one because, not only does it differ for everyone, but it's usually hard to tell when it's completely healed. Your piercing may no longer be swollen or painful, but that doesn't mean it's healed. In my experience, it took perhaps 6 weeks to stop being tender and around 4 months to heal properly. It healed really nicely with no complications whatsoever which helped speed up the process.

Short answer: Around 3- 6 months, depending on each person.

Is it normal to have an extra long barbell to allow for swelling?

Yes! Don't panic and for the love of God, don't swap it for a short one straight away. Pretty much every piercing will swell in the aftermath and a decent piercer will put a long barbell in to allow for this. As your piercing heals, you will notice the barbell seems to grow longer as your ear goes down. At this point it's best to return to your piercer who will swap it for a shorter one to prevent it catching on anything. 

Short answer: Yes. Just go back and get it changed when the swelling dies down. 

How much are forward helix piercings?

Can you guess what I'm going to say? Again, it depends. Pricing varies wildly depending on the studio and your location. In the UK, a reputable studio will charge around £30. Don't be tempted to go for a bargain rate somewhere dodgy. It's well worth paying extra to be secure in the knowledge that you're going to have a safe piercing experience.

Short answer: In the UK, around £30 at a reputable studio.

How do I take out a forward helix piercing?

Grip the ball at the end of your barbell and firmly, but not using overt amounts of pressure, twist to the left. Remember righty tighty, lefty loosey. If it's tugging or pulling sharply on your piercing, or creating pain, wait and try again later. If you're having real trouble, pop down to your local piercing studio as most piercers are happy to help. Just remember not to take it out while it's still healing and if you feel any pain, stop!


Short answer: Twist the ball firmly to the right but only once your piercing has healed.

Can forward helix piercings grow out? How do I know if it's rejected?

Any piercing can reject but some piercings are more likely to than others. For example, surface piercings grow out very quickly. A forward helix piercing is less likely to reject but that doesn't mean it can't. If you notice anything unusual, from the piercing moving position to strange lumps and bumps, pay a visit to your piercer who will be able to advise you.


Short answer: It's unlikely but they can. See your piercer if you're worried.

How should I prepare for my forward helix piercing?

In much the same way you'd prepare for any piercing- Have a light meal before you go and make sure you're hydrated. Take a sugary snack along with you in case you feel light-headed afterwards. Stay well away from alcohol! If you have long hair, keep it tied up tight so it doesn't get in the way or catch on your jewellery after it's been done.

Short answer: Stay hydrated and eat. Tie your hair up and don't drink alcohol.

Other questions

Is a forward helix piercing worth it? YES!
Can I wear a forward helix piercing only? Wear as many piercings as you like!
Do forward helix piercings look good? Hell yeah!
Do you get your forward helix pierced at a tattoo place? You can but there are also dedicated piercing studios. I prefer to go to piercing specialists.
Do you have to get silver jewellery in your forward helix? Silver is the most popular but you can get any colour you like. Be aware that coloured metals can irritate your piercing though.
How can you cover a forward helix piercing? With your hair, I guess. They're not that easy to cover. Probably best not to get one if you're not supposed to.
How do I know if my ear is right for a forward helix piercing? You need to have enough cartilage to be able to pierce. Your piercer will be able to tell you if it's ok.
How old must you be to get your forward helix pierced? There's no legal requirement so every studio is different. I'd recommend taking an adult with you if you're under 16.
Is a forward helix piercing dangerous? Not if you go to a reputable studio and take good care of your piercing.
Should I get a forward helix piercing? If you want one!
What do people say about girls with forward helix piercings? I don't think they say anything but who cares?
What hurts after having your forward helix pierced? Your ear...
What is a double forward helix piercing? Two piercings, and therefore two pieces of jewellery, instead of one.
What side is more popular for a forward helix piercing? I have no blooming idea but who cares? Go for the side you like more!

More information
To find out more about my piercing, check out my post- Forward Helix Piercing: One Month On. For more general piercing information, I also have a similar post on my rook piercing and a chronology of all my piercings. I hope it's useful! 

56 comments :

  1. I've never thought to get my helix pierced; I had the top of my ear pierced and it wouldn't heal at all. I've also had my nose pierced which managed to get horribly infected! I would have it done again though! x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness x

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  2. I have this same piercing! I had it done at Blue Banana and it cost me £15 I think. My sister's boyfriend is a piercer and he's since told me never to go back to Blue Banana as they're apparently not good. So now he does all my piercings.
    When I had my forward helix done I didn't think it hurt (not as much as my inner conch anyway) but they accidentally put the needle halfway through the back of my ear resulting in a lot of blood! Mine didn't take ages to heal and now I have a cute Neo Metal bar in! I love it :)

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    1. It depends on the branch, I think. I've been to the Plymouth and Cardiff branches and they were both fantastic so I wouldn't write Blue Banana off completely!

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  3. Aah I love this piercing, I've already got one but considering getting another above it maybe!

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  4. I've been wanting this piercing for AGESSS.

    Sophie x

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  5. this is an absolute brilliant post Becky x

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  6. I love your answers to the questions. I've had my forward helix for 13yrs now and that and my conch are probably the 2 I get quizzed on most. Lisa x

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  7. I really want a new piercing - I have my lobes twice and belly done... This one looks great, but I think I'm too much of a wimp atm hahah! I was just looking at the A-Z post that you linked and my second ones on my lobes are wonky. I think it's my ears, but one piercing seems to go back and the other goes more sideways xD

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  8. I got a triple forward helix 6 months ago and I'm finally ready to change out the jewelry but it won't budge! I'm going to end up back at my piercers and with more piercings, I swear she welded these fuckers on! Haha BTW I absolutely LOVE the look; I also have my tragus in this ear and a regular helix plus a double regular (?) piercing. I need to even out the other side that has only the 2 regs and a helix..what to do when I go back?

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    1. I am considering getting the triple forward helix as well. I just have a question for you.. did u get them all at once or did u go back to get them until u had all three? Please let me know and if you got all at same time (which I am considering) what was your experience

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    2. I got all three at once. It hurt a lot for the 20 or so seconds that the piercer was moving things, and then felt like any other piercing while it's healing. Mine are healing slowly, but that's just how my body is. They're almost a year old and can't be changed yet.

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    3. What was the pain level of the forward helix compared to the helix? I have a double helix and would love a triple forward helix but I am a little concerned about the pain level.

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    4. If I were u I’d get a double forward then go back for the last one. I’ve had my double for less than a week and the pain... oh god. Lol. It’s just very painful to clean still so if u can take the pain go for it. I tend to soak mine with saline on a cotton pad and then clean them.

      Getting the forward helix does hurt, but it’s the after pain that’s hard to grasp.

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  9. hey ((:
    could you tell me where you got those beautiful plugs? love your piercings (:

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    1. thanks for the quick answer:) they're really cute:3

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  10. I got my forward helix pierced about 2 months ago but it shows no sings of healing at all and it is extremely sensitive.. It's in the same position it was when I got it pierced, maybe moved slightly but I can't really tell but i dont know what to do ☹any tips?

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    1. This sounds fine to me! If you're worried, see your piercer but otherwise keep it clean and it will soon stop hurting.

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  11. I got my triple forward helix done. It's a great piercing and it looks nice. My advice to anyone wanting this: don't get all three done in one sitting. The pain went up with each one. But personally, I think it was worth it!

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  12. I got my forward helix pierced two weeks ago, I love it, not much pain and no swelling. I really want to make it into a triple forward helix - the first one was a test to see how painful (not bad at all) and roughly how much swelling/discomfort afterwards there would be (again all very good). How long should I wait to have the other two done. I'm wishing I had had them all done in one go. Thank you

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    1. So sorry for the late reply, Corinne- I didn't see this comment!

      I'd wait until your piercing is fully healed before getting the next ones done.

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  13. Have been wanting this piercing for quite some time but am scared of the pain. How much does it hurt compared to something like a third lobe? Great post btw, very helpful!

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    1. It hurts more than a lobe but if you go in expecting the pain, you'll probably be alright. Just prepare for the worst and then if it hurts less than you thought, you'll get a nice surprise!

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  14. How do I tighten the ball on the barbell? Its my left ear. And its the ball on the top outside of my ear. I just got the triple forward helix peircing a few days ago and the ball came off..I got it back on but don't know how to make sure its tight enough not to fall off again. Thanks

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    1. Keep twisting it to the right. If it won't turn any more, it's probably because it's as tight as it's going to go. If you're still worried, go back to your piercer and they'll be able to secure it for you.

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  15. I had the forward helix done about a month ago now and stumbled across this as mine is still tender. Thanks for the info, i love my piercings and they make me feel extremely confident :)

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  16. I just got a rook and tragus done it both of my ears a week ago and I wanted to know if I could get a triple forward helix in both ears without waiting for them to heal. Or would I have to wait for them to completely heal up?

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    1. If it was me, I would wait. I once had two piercings done at the same time and it made me quite faint, and the piercings took much longer than heal. You could get them done now but it's likely to be more painful and make the healing process longer since you've had two piercings so recently

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  17. I got my triple forward helix done nearly a month ago. Everything seems fine and when I clean it they are a bit tender to touch. When will I know if it's okay to change my barbell to regular jewelry?

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    1. I'd wait until it's no longer tender before you change it, just to be on the safe side

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  18. Ladies, does this piercing tend to get caught in your hair? That is really the only thing holding me back!

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  19. I have had my triple forward helix for 4 months. It is still tender. I lost the middle earring and brought a small hoop as it was the only thing I could get to work! ( surgical steel ) The piercing went very fast and did not bother me. But healing is the long haul!

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  20. Had a triple forward helix done 4 months ago. The piercing was very fast and not that painful. However healing has taken some time! They are still sensitive and can swell a bit. I knew that going into this. I love my piercings! Yes- hair can tangle only as I grab it to pull a pony up. But it's no different than any other piercing I have in my ears! If you want a double or triple- do it all at once. If the person is good- it will only take a couple minutes :)

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  21. Hey! I had a single forward helix done last week and looking online for what I wear in it once it's healed... But I'm a bit confused about the right type of earring. Obviously barbells like the piercer put in but it seems there isn't a massive selection of them around (at least hypoallergenic and in the UK)? Can you give any advice?

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  22. I don't know whether to get my forward helix or my Tragus done help!!!

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  23. hi, I got my forward helix pierced 10 weeks ago and apart from a little pain it's been fine, I have been doing salt soaks a couple of times a week.
    but now it has a lump/bump on it!!
    I'm not sure when I can get to my piercer, please any tips, advice? :(

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    1. This happens a lot. Until you can make it to your piercer, keep cleaning it as normal and hopefully it will go away

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  24. I'm looking to get a new bar what length bar should i get for the forward helix?

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    1. Good question! It depends entirely on your ear. I'd go to somewhere that sells bars- a tattoo studio, piercing parlour, alternative shop- and ask them what they think since they can judge the perfect length for your ear and piercing

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  25. Loved the detail on this, and I definitely wish this was up when I got my own done. I do have a question though, I got my double forward done maybe 2 and a half years ago, healed beautifully and everything. I'm not exactly what possessed me to take out one of the bars and somehow procrastinate 6 months before realizing I should put something back in. I'm wondering though if it would have healed, I can stick a safety pin in but the bar feels to thick, and I'm not sure if I just gotta tough out the pain and push it through or if it started healing and I would need to go to a professional and get it redone. I know for my tragus I have to just push though the pain and the same for my nose. I'm notoriously bad for taking them out... But always after healing. I'm just not so sure about this one.


    And again awesome post, I don't think I've ever come across one with this much detail.

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    1. I wouldn't try and force it through. Last thing you want to do is rip it. I'd say go back to a pro and let them sort it out. At least that way you'll know you're in safe hands

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  26. I JUST got a double piercing done on my forward helix three days ago. Yesterday was a good day, pain wise. Today, more sensitive, but it goes with the territory. Thank you for posting all of this information! I have read information on several sites, but yours is the most honest and straightforward and I appreciate your honesty! I guess that I have quite a while to was for the pain to diminish, which is good to know what to expect. Thanks again!

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  27. So, I have 3 lobe piercings on both sides and a normal helix piercing on my right ear. I would eventually like to have a triple forward helix. My question is, would you suggest doing them all at once? I've heard that if you get them all at once that the pain is awful. I've had 3 major back surgeries, 4 kidney stone surgeries, and many others. So I'm no stranger to pain and have a very high tolerance for it. I recently had an IV put directly into my veins on the inside of my wrist. That might be one of the worst pains I've ever experienced. ��

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    1. I wouldn't suggest getting them all done at the same time. Only because I the last time I had two done at once I went all dizzy haha. I definitely think three will be difficult at one time so maybe split it into two sessions- get two done and then the final one a few weeks later.

      That IV sounds horrendous! You can probably take on anything after that!

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  28. Hi, Found this really helpful as I am considering getting my double forward helix pierced this summer. One question- Do you recommend getting both done at once and getting the pain over and done with or to wait and have them done at separate times? Thanks Siân

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    1. There are pros and cons for both really.

      Pros: Getting it out of the way quickly, not having to pierce next to a piercing that may still be tender, might be cheaper if you get both done at once.

      Cons: May be more difficult to heal, your body might react more strongly (when I had two piercings done, I got a bit faint)

      Really it depends on how you feel. If you want to get both done, and you're prepared for it being more painful/ more annoying to heal, then go for it!

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  29. I have had my double forward helix done for about 7 months and they are finally healed:) I want to get more piercings so I was thinking about getting my double forward helix done on the other ear. Any ideas of that would look good or weird?

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  30. I have had mine pierced recently and i can't get t back in argh!!!

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  31. Had my tragus done with little pain. Is the forward helix similar sensation to the tragus?

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    1. I'm afraid I haven't had my tragus so I can't compare the pain

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  32. Can you wear L shaped nose rings in you helix piercing?

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    1. I wouldn't recommend it- they'll fall out so easily!

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  33. I've only had my helix piercing done for about 5-6 days but I have been turning it a lot whilst it has been healing now my ear is swollen, red and I'm in the most pain. I'm not sure what to do to stop the pain and maybe heal my ear again??

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    1. First of all- stop turning it so much. Pop back to your piercer so they can have a look at it and recommend what to do

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