With so many different kinds of ear piercings out there (the days of a singular "ear piercing" are well and truly gone)—it's easy to feel totally overwhelmed with all the choices. I mean, how are we supposed to know that the words "helix," "tragus," and "daith" are types of piercings and not characters in Harry Potter?
If it is a helix piercing that you want, read on to find out exactly WTF it is—aside from being the structure of DNA, obvs—as well as all the variations you can have done and the logistics behind getting your first helix piercing.
What is a helix piercings?
A helix piercing is any piercing made to the upper cartilage of the ear—but there are different kinds of helix piercings. A standard helix piercing is made in the outer upper cartilage—if you have two or three piercings in the same spot, just above each other, these are called double and triple helix piercings.
What is a forward helix piercing?
Follow the curve of your cartilage around the ear until you reach the side of your face and this piercing area is called a forward helix. You can also have double or triple forward helix piercings.
Does it hurt?
Pain is all in the eye of the piercee, so if you know that you tend to be more receptive to pain then keep in mind that you're likely to feel some discomfort both during the piercing and the healing process. That being said, the helix isn't the most painful area on the body to have a piercing in general.
How long does it take to heal?
This is where lobe and cartilage piercings really differ. While you might get over a lobe piercing in around a month, a helix piercing can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months to heal. Unfortunately, like the pain factor, it's hard to give an exact healing time as everyone is different. Expect the piercing area to feel sore, turn red and even swell or bleed (initially). Lovely.
How do you take care of it?
Like all piercings, keeping the area around the jewellery clean is the most important way to avoid infection. Use a saline solution and a cotton bud to clean gently around the area. Don't twist or change the jewellery until you are certain that the piercing has healed as this could prevent a proper healing process and even lead to infection.
What happens if your body rejects it?
If it feels like your piercing is moving, taking too long to heal, or is showing signs of infection, go to a piercing professional straight away to find out what the problem is.
Now you know what a helix piercing is, discover the style you'd like for yourself...
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.