With the rise of the curated ear trend, double helix piercings have become increasingly popular. Jeweler Maria Tash has spearheaded this movement towards multiple complementary ear piercings. Like an art collector choosing the pieces for their gallery, the curated ear trend is all about being intentional. You can express your sense of style, whether that’s with delicate, dainty jewelry or bold statement pieces.
The helix – the outermost curvature of your ear – is perfect for this trend. You have prime ear real estate to feature a double helix piercing and matching jewelry!
We’re going to cover what a double helix piercing is, pain levels, aftercare, and some important things to keep in mind before getting one.
What is a double helix piercing?
A double helix piercing is two piercings done on the upper ear cartilage. The two piercings can be placed on the outer rim of your ear, or they can be placed closer to where your ear meets your head, above the tragus area. It sounds like it’s one type of piercing, but the name is deceptive. It is unlike an industrial piercing, where there are two piercings connected by one piece of jewelry. The double helix is two separate piercings with separate jewelry that lay right next to each other.
You can also simulate the look of a double helix with a single piercing by using spiral jewelry. This can be a great way to test drive the look to make sure you like it before committing to both piercings!
How badly do they hurt? How does it compare to a regular ear piercing?
Double helix piercings will hurt a medium amount, as compared to other piercings. They go through cartilage, which is stiffer and more painful to pierce than the soft flesh of your earlobe. On the plus side, this cartilage is much thinner than other cartilage-piercing locations, such as your tragus or rook.
One last consideration for pain levels is that there are two of them. If you choose to get both done at the same time, that might be more difficult or less, depending on how much anxiety you feel over the piercing procedure.
If you have a lot of anxiety and anticipation of pain, then it might be better to knock them both out in one go. Or, you can get them done one at a time if the one piercing is all you can handle for that day.
You know your body best, and if you’re feeling drained after getting one done, don’t be afraid to speak up! You can always come back after it heals and get the second done.
Can you get both piercings at the same time?
Yes, it is possible to get both helix piercings at once. Some people prefer this and some people prefer getting them done one at a time.
Here are some things to take into consideration:
Getting two piercings at once will lengthen the time both take to heal. Instead of focusing all your body’s energy on one piercing, there are two. It’s kind of how raising a child bilingually will cause them to take longer to speak either language. In both cases, you get the desired outcome, it just takes a little longer to achieve. The good thing about getting them done at the same time is that once they’re healed, that’s it, and you don’t have to sit through an additional 6 months for the other.
It usually isn’t a problem to get both done at the same time. However, if you’ve gotten other piercings that have healed on the lower end of the recommended healing times or have been more difficult to heal, it might be better to get each done one at a time. Having two wounds, especially in your cartilage with its limited blood supply, compounds problems that arise. An infection will spread from one piercing to the other. You know your body best, so if you’re a slower healer, it’s best to exercise caution.
Some piercers prefer to do both at the same time to align the placement, and some prefer to do them one at a time to allow each to swell and heal. Consult your piercer for their reasoning. Getting both done at the same time means you’re committed to the placement. Some people find that after their piercing heals, they find the placement too far apart or too close together.
Consider the shape of your unique ear; if you have a fold to the top of your ear, you may not be happy with the way the piercing and jewelry sit in your ear. Reddit user meepette regretfully describes their experience as follows:
Now I really don’t like the placement. The two studs are too close together and one you can barely see because it’s too low. They are also very much hidden in the curvature of my ear sitting very inside the helix instead of sitting on the flatter surface of my ear. So it can barely be seen from a side view.
Getting them done one at a time would allow you to take your time choosing the best spot, instead of rushing it all at once.
Considering the ear you’ll be getting the piercings done will be sore while it is healing, can you be patient throughout the healing process? Getting them done one at a time extends the time your ear will be sore and in a healing phase. This means it will be difficult to sleep on that side, wear headphones, and you’ll have to clean and protect that area for longer. You might have to avoid wearing a helmet or going surfing.
How long does it take a double helix piercing to heal?
Double helix piercings take about 6 months to a year to fully heal. Your healing time will depend on your body and how well you engage in proper aftercare.
Around 3 to 6 months the piercing may have healed enough to switch the jewelry. Consult with your piercer for switching the jewelry out for the first time to make sure the process goes smoothly.
How long will they be sore?
The intense soreness you experience after getting your double helix piercings will generally fade after about a week. They can be sore during the entire healing process, though. This is less likely if you avoid unnecessary touching of the area and avoid infections. Some people report that even after a year, the piercing can be sore if they sleep on it incorrectly. If this is the case, you may be able to solve this by switching your jewelry.
What is the aftercare like on a double helix?
Aftercare for a double helix consists of cleaning and leaving the piercing alone, which might be the hardest part of the process! Wash your hands and clean the area with a fragrance-free gentle soap or saline solution, twice a day.
You can also soak the piercing in a salt solution. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to a cup of warm water and stir to dissolve. Don’t use too much, as this will irritate your piercing. Soak for 10 minutes.
It’s vital to leave the piercing alone while it heals. Avoid touching it unless you’re cleaning it. Protect it from irritants, such as hair products. Avoid snagging or hitting it when you’re brushing your hair, using a curling iron, or putting on a hat.
Do they get infected easily?
Double helix piercings can get infected easily if you get them both at the same time. Since they’re right next to each other, infection will spread from one piercing to the other. To help prevent infections, avoid submerging your piercing underwater while it’s healing. If you’re prone to infections, we recommend getting them done one at a time so you can focus on healing them separately.
How to sleep with a double helix piercing?
You must avoid pressure on your double helix piercing while it heals, so be sure to sleep on the opposite side or your back. If you tend to move around while sleeping, a travel pillow can help stabilize your neck and prevent rolling over. One thing to keep in mind is that depending on the jewelry you get and the placement of the piercing, some people are never able to comfortably sleep on that side, even after it heals.
Do people get helix piercings on both ears?
Yes, people get helix piercings on both ears. It depends on your aesthetic. Some people like to balance the piercings out between both ears and some go for an asymmetric look. We recommend spending some time looking at piercer’s work on Instagram or Pinterest and getting a feel for the amount and placement of piercings you are drawn to. Planning your ear piercings is the best way to work healing times around vacation, pregnancy, or other life experiences you have. You’ll be able to make sure you end up with a look you love!