Wondering what to expect when you get a helix piercing in Singapore? I’ve got all your questions covered.
A helix piercing is defo one of the hottest ear piercings out there, and for good reason. Its position is noticeable and easily catches the light. Many celebs have it – think Scarlett Johansson, Lucy Liu and Kylie Jenner. The standard helix piercing is situated on the upper, outer cartilage of the ear. But, there’s also the flat helix located just a bit inwards, and the forward helix that’s in a completely different position: the outer cartilage at the front of the ear. If you stack two or three piercings in the same area, it’s known as a double or triple helix.
It’s a piercing I’ve wanted ever since I saw it years ago on Beyonce, who has a drool-worthy collection. Yet I never dared to take the plunge for fear of the pain. That is, until last month, when I finally decided #yolo (cliche, I know). Spoiler alert: the piercing hurt way less than I thought it would. So if you’re contemplating getting one, let me tell you what to expect, how to choose a piercer, and give you aftercare advice.
Everything you need to know about getting a helix piercing
Is it for everyone?
Anatomically, anyone can get a helix piercing. But if the curve of your ear cartilage isn’t prominent enough, the piercer may recommend you get a flat helix instead. Don’t worry, it still looks just as fab!
How to choose a good piercing service
There are a number of reputable piercing studios in Singapore, but here’s a checklist to make sure you have what you need. First, ask what piercing equipment they use. Opt for a piercer who uses a needle, not a gun. The sharp needle goes through the skin like butter, while the gun uses blunt force and may end up damaging the cartilage.
It goes without saying, but ensure your piercer is sanitary. Check that they wear gloves during the piercing and that all the equipment is sterile. You don’t want a nasty infection! Finally, go for jewellery studs in pure silver, 14K gold and above, titanium or surgical stainless steel (it’s corrosion-resistant and suitable for biomedical purposes). Only get the best for your body – these hypoallergenic metals won’t irritate your ear or hinder the healing process.
Let’s talk prices
Expect to fork out anything from $11 to over $100. Prices depend on the location and type of jewellery used. Of course, you’ll pay more if you get an 18K gold stud as compared to a titanium one.
What to expect: My experience in Singapore
I personally opted to get mine done at Needles N Pinsz, a piercing and tattoo studio. After selecting an earring, my piercer assessed the most suitable placement for it, marking it out with a pen for me to see if I liked it. Next, he sterilised the area with an alcohol swab. Finally, time to do the deed!
As the needle pierced my skin, I felt a sharp pinching pain that only lasted a second or two and subsided pretty quickly. After the needle was through and he threaded the stud through the hole, my ear felt hot and uncomfortable – but none of that sharp pain from earlier. And just like that, I was done! The process was fast, lasting less than five minutes.
So, exactly how much did it hurt? Honestly, it wasn’t too bad. I’d rate the pain a four out of 10. Comparatively, I’d say my lobe piercing pain was a one.
Piercing aftercare: What now?
Remember when you thought pounding soju shots was a good idea until you woke up the next morning with an absolute banger of a hangover? Well, piercing aftercare may feel like that. Once the excitement is over, caring for it may feel less than worth it. But I promise it is!
The piercing should stop hurting shortly after, though you may feel an uncomfortable sensation for a day or two. Be careful not to snag anything on it, as it may leave you wincing in pain – so remove your mask gently.
Taking care of your piercing isn’t rocket science. Clean the area with saline twice a day. (If you’re purchasing it from a pharmacy, get saline wound wash. It should be sterile and contain 0.9% sodium chloride.) But remember: saline isn’t a magic formula that heals the piercing; it irrigates the wound and flushes out any debris and build-up. Don’t use alcohol or peroxide on the area as your body is healing a fresh wound and doesn’t need extra chemicals in the mix.
Despite what you may have heard, there’s no need to lather on tea tree oil if the piercing is healing well. It’ll dry out the area and may cause it to itch or develop a rash. Instead, its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties will come in handy if you develop a keloid or infection.
Needless to say, you can’t sleep on that ear for quite a while. But if you’re afraid you’ll move in your sleep, this is your excuse to buy a donut pillow! Some piercers may also ask you to avoid certain foods, though there’s no definitive evidence to back up those claims.
How to look for signs of infection
The piercing may be swollen for the first few days and crusties may appear around the area. But they’re no cause for concern; they’re just discharge of bodily fluids – all part of the healing process. However, pus isn’t normal and is likely a sign of infection. If it starts to hurt, swell excessively or feel hot, it’s best to see a doc for advice.
When will the helix piercing fully heal?
It can take anywhere from four months to a year. In the meantime, do your best to leave it alone. That includes not twisting or prodding the earring, and not even changing the jewellery! Even when it looks healed to the eye, don’t be fooled, as piercings heal from the outside in.
When it doesn’t hurt to touch and the redness and crusties subside, you can switch out your stud for something fancier. Be patient, ‘cos changing the stud prematurely may cause bleeding or an infection. Or worse, your body may reject the piercing altogether.
The healing process is annoyingly long, but once it’s done, the possibilities are endless! Put on a classy diamond stud for a night out, a hoop for everyday wear, or a striking huggie earring for extra flair. But until then, focus on keeping your hands off it.