Piercing Problems: Hypergranulations

HypergranulationOne of the most common problems you may have with your piercing is a red bump forming around the piercing. These bumps, called hypergranulations, can form even if you take a good care of your piercing, but are more common with neglected piercings.

One more reason to perform adequate aftercare and to take a good care of your piercings!

Hypergranulations form around the piercings in healing, though it is not unheard of to have one formed around an old piercing, particularly if it’s infected. That being said, most of hypergranulation bumps form around piercings in healing, which is one of the reasons to always take a great care of your new piercing and to observe it closely to notice any problems.

Keep in mind that a piercing is essentially a wound in healing. Hypergranulations form around wounds, and piercings are no different. These growths can form quickly around a piercing in healing, particularly if the piercing is subjected to significant level of moisture. Another common problem that can lead to development of bumps is infection – infected piercings often produce hypergranulations. Finally, keep in mind that trauma and other injuries to your piercing can lead to the development of hypergranulation tissue.

There are two ways in which hypergranulations manifest around a piercing. The first one is a reddish bump at one side of the piercing. It is typically formed on the side, but it can appear almost anywhere around a piercing. Many of those bumps look puffy and like they are filled with fluid.

The other common form is a red, puffy tissue around the piercing. These hypergranulations without a bump are more common around surface piercings, but it’s not a rule.

Hypergranulations always have a raised appearance and tend to be reddish in color. Often times, they resemble keloid scars, but are less extreme and usually much easier to remove. Keep in mind that a hypergranulation is always localized around the piercing and doesn’t spread much in other directions. It is an aesthetic problem but easier to control than keloid scars and it’s also less problematic for the health. That being said, some hypergranulations can get out of control so it’s always important to seek medical attention in the case of hypergranulations. While some cases can be successfully treated at home, sometimes there is nothing you can do. If the hypergranulations persist or if they grow and cause further problems, it is vital to seek medical attention.

As with many other problems with piercings, it is best to treat hypergranulations as soon as they start forming. This gives you the best chance to treat them completely and without much hassle.

How to Treat Hypergranulations

Oftentimes, hypergranulations form as a result of the pressure jewelry makes on the piercing. This is why changing jewelry to a more comfortable piece is typically the first thing to do if you wish to treat and stop hypergranulations. In this case, you may need to change jewelry for a smoother, lighter or longer jewelry piece. It is best to switch to jewelry made of hypo-allergenic material such as titanium or BioPlast.

If this happens during the initial stages of healing, make sure to consult your piercer to change the jewelry for you. Never attempt to change jewelry by yourself unless the piercing is healed or at least pass the initial stages of healing.

In order to get rid of the hypergranulation tissue, you need to use sea salt solution soaks several times per day. Alternatively, you may use specialized aftercare sprays made for piercings in healing, provided that they are not too harsh. The gentlest way to go is to make your own saline solution. If your piercing is in healing, use the solution you’d apply anyway as part of your cleaning regime. This time, however, make sure to add one or two more saline soaks per day than your usual amount.

Other than saline soaks, it is important to keep your piercing dry. Keep in mind that moisture makes the matters worse, so your piercing should be kept clean and dry.

You should see an improvement within a few days to a week. While he hypergranulation might not disappear completely, it should be smaller and your piercing should show signs of improvement. In case this doesn’t happen even after a week, you should seek advice from your doctor.

Do not wait – hypergranulations can turn into infections or scars, and you want to avoid that at all costs.

Additional Info and Tips

  • Do not mistake hypergranulations for other problems, such as piercing infections, acne or keloid scars. If in doubt, consult your piercer. However, keep in mind that it’s vital to talk to your doctor to get true medical advice and help.
  • Typically, hypergranulations form around navel and nostril piercings, but can develop anywhere. Do not assume that you are risk-free if you get a piercing that is not commonly known for causing hypergranulations.
  • To improve healing, make sure to get plenty of rest. Eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water.
  • Do not disturb your piercing. Make sure it doesn’t get caught on clothes or during your sleep. Never touch your piercing and don’t twist or turn the jewelry.
  • If you cannot treat a hypergranulation or if it gets worse, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
  • One of the best ways to prevent hypergranulations is to perform adequate aftercare for your piercing in healing and to observe your piercing regularly to notice any changes.
  • In some extreme cases, hypergranulations cannot be treated while the jewelry is still in and while the piercing exists. In this case, you will need to retire your piercing. However, if it’s done properly you may be able to get re-pierced when the tissue is rested and healed.

Ashley Piercing

AshleyAshley piercing is a lip piercing that is a variation of a more common vertical labret piercing. That being said, since vertical labret is also a relatively rare piercing, Ashley is considered a lesser common type of lip piercing. That being said, this is a very effective piercing type so there is no reason not to get one if you like how it looks.

Piercing and Placement

Technically speaking, Ashley piercing can be seen as an “inverse vertical labret”. With Ashley piercing, one of the ends of the jewelry (one bead) sits on top of the lower lip, while the other end of the piercing is inside the mouth. This is a variation of vertical labret piercing. With typical vertical labret, both ends of the jewelry sit outside of the body: one in the middle of lower lip and the other under the lower lip.

In this sense, Ashley is both a facial and oral piercing, similar to other lip piercings in which one end of the jewelry sits outside of the body and the other one is inside of the mouth.

Ashley is very effective and attractive because there is only one bead visible on the lip, while the other one is hidden.

Since the needle goes through relatively much tissue, Ashley piercings tend to be painful, but it’s manageable. However, they are definitely considered one of the more painful lip piercings, so keep that in mind if you wish to have this piercing done.

You can expect some swelling after the procedure, but it should go away in the following days. Just perform aftercare as instructed by your piercer and you should be fine. That being said, if the swelling persists and you encounter other problems, it would be for the best to consult your piercer.

Jewelry

Typical jewelry for Ashley piercing is a curved barbell. This one seems to work the best and provides the best comfort. It is also a very safe choice in terms of piercing health and preventing infections and other problems.

Another common jewelry type for this piercing is a Captive Bead Ring. If this jewelry type is used, the bead should be positioned to sit comfortably in the middle of the lower lip.

However, some other jewelry types are also possible, such as straight barbells or labrets (labret studs). When choosing jewelry for Ashley piercing, it is important to make sure that the jewelry is long enough to accommodate the piercing.

Straight barbells might be more comfortable if you choose to have your Ashley piercing off-center (and to the side). Some people choose to wear these side Ashley piercings in pairs, so it’s a very attractive choice.

Because of the swelling, some piercers recommend longer initial jewelry that has to be changed after the first swelling is gone. In this case, make sure that your piercer is the one to change your jewelry – never attempt to change initial jewelry on your own!

Additional Info and Tips

Ashley piercing is also known as Inverse Vertical Labret, so this might be the name your piercer will use.

The healing time for Ashley piercing is similar to that of the vertical labret: 8 to 10 weeks.

Ashley piercing is typically done at 16 gauge or 14 gauge, though there are some cases of piercings done at a bit larger gauges. Some piercers even use an 18 gauge needle for this piercing, but this might be too small to be comfortable for most users.

Ashley piercings tend to close up fast when the jewelry is removed. They will start to shrink after 15-20 minutes if you take your jewelry off, so keep that in mind.

Checking Safety and Sterilization in a Piercing Studio

Safety and Sterilization in a Piercing StudioIn order for a piercing studio to be safe, it has to follow all the procedure requirements. This is particularly true for hygiene standards and sterilization. All the reliable studios will follow these procedures but sometimes it’s difficult to tell a good studio from the bad.

The main issue is that there are so many things that go behind the scenes. As a client, you will not be able to witness all the safety and sterilization measures in a studio. That being said, keep in mind that it’s your right to know that a studio is safe, and that you can request to see results of certain tests.

Checking Safety and Sterilization in a Piercing Studio: How To

It is important to ask and observe. Visit a studio and see how clean it is. Ask questions. Note how the staff behaves. During the procedure, observe how tools and other equipment is handled. Here are some important things to note when judging safety and sterilization in a piercing studio:

Cleanliness

The first thing you need to note is the state of cleanliness in the studio. It can be seen right at the door, even before you enter the piercing room. Make sure that the studio is clean and well-maintained. Clean, dust-free floors, chairs and counters. This is often a very telling thing about the hygiene in the whole studio, particularly the piercing room.

The room where procedures are performed should be extra clean. Pay attention to the state of the floors and any furniture in the room. Again, while it is not enough that the room is clean, it is an indicator about hygiene. That being said, there is more to safety and sterilization than just clean furniture, but it’s a huge red flag if the piercing room is messy.

Also, it is important that the room used for piercing procedures has adequate containers to dispose used needles, gloves and other equipment. Make sure that your piercer follows these procedures. If you notice that they toss used tools and needles around, it’s a bad sign.

Autoclave

Make sure that your chosen studio has an autoclave. It is an absolute must and you should never agree to get pierced at a place that doesn’t have an autoclave. Autoclave has to be used to properly sterilize all the instruments and tools in the studio.

That being said, having an autoclave is not enough. It has to be properly checked and inspected regularly. You should always request to see the spore test results at your chosen studio. All studios should have the spore test performed by an independent inspector. This is the only way to ensure that the sterilization process is complete.

Sterilization Pouches

All tools and equipment should be stored in special pouches after sterilization. There is no use in using autoclave if the sterilized equipment is not kept clean afterwards. To ensure safety, it is vital that everything sterilized in the autoclave is kept in special pouches or another type of a sealed packaging.

You should never allowed to be pierced by a person handling unsterilized equipment. The only way to know it’s safe is to see how the piercer handles the equipment (it has to be unpackaged in front of you).

Gloves

It is vital that your piercer wears sterile gloves throughout the procedure. Never allowed to be pierced if the person is not wearing gloves. The gloves should be new and unpacked in front of you. The piercer should not just use gloves that were used for another client before.

Keep in mind, however, that one pair of gloves will probably not be enough for the whole procedure. In other words, your piercer will likely have to change several pairs of gloves to perform a single piercing. Typically, one pair of gloves is used for preparation and marking while the new one is used to perform the actual piercing. In some cases, several pairs of gloves have to be used for a single piercing, particularly in the case of more complex piercings or if there is a bleeding.

Also, it is important that your piercer wears gloves for things like jewelry changing and any consultation work. Just because you are not getting pierced at the moment doesn’t mean that your piercer should not have the gloves on!

New Piercing Needles

The needle used to pierce you has to be new and come in a sealed packaging. This is an absolute must. For the obvious reasons, you should never allowed to be pierced with a needle that’s already been used on someone else. You should not even allow to be pierced with the same needle used to pierce you (in case something has to be repeated).

It is important to make sure that your piercer takes a new, sealed needle. The needle should be unpacked in front of you and used immediately. This is the only way to ensure safety. Make sure that your chosen piercer follows all of the needed safety procedures.

Jewelry Settings: Prong and Bezel

14K Gold 6 Prong Round Gem Set Fixed Ring

14K Gold 6 Prong Round Gem Set Fixed Ring

There are many different ways to secure the gem to the jewelry. The most basic ways is to simply glue the gem to the jewelry. Needless to say, this is a very bad method, but it’s used surprisingly often, especially to produce body piercing jewelry.

You should always avoid this type of jewelry and choose jewelry with a more secure way to hold the gems. This is achieved through various settings made on the jewelry with the purpose to hold the stones. The most popular of these are prong and bezel settings.

Prong Setting

Prong setting is the most popular of all jewelry settings used to secure the stone to the ring. Prongs are small metal tines made in on ring. The stone is put under the prongs and prongs are places on the ring to secure it in place. This type of setting is often referred to as “claw-shaped” because the prongs resemble claws holding decoration in place.

There are many different types of prong settings, mainly depending on the number of prongs used to secure the gem. Some prong settings use only one prong, though it’s typically more: 3, 4 and 6 prongs are the most common. Some jewelry pieces use even more, such as 8 prongs to secure the stone.

The prong setting makes what is call a head of the jewelry. The head can be made from the same material as the rest of the jewelry piece or made from another material, often a precious one, such as gold. This is why you’ll find description of jewelry where the body of the jewelry (typically a ring) is made of one metal while the setting is made of another.

Prongs can be designed in different ways, and it often depends on the gem’s size, shape and design. Some of the most common shapes of heads used for setting are round, oval, pear, emerald cut, marquise cut, trillian cut and princess cut. When reading a jewelry description, there will typically be a description of the cut used on the stone.

Prong setting is very beautiful and stylish, but it’s vital to check your jewelry regularly to ensure there are no loose prongs on your jewelry piece. Prongs sometimes get worn out after prolonged use so it’s important to check them out to ensure they are still tight enough to hold the gem securely in place.

On the other hand, this setting is very popular because it allows the gem or stone to be seen more than in some other setting types. There is no much metal surrounding the gem so more light can pass through the gem, which makes it more sparkly.

Bezel Setting

Bezel setting is a specially designed part of the ring made to accommodate a gem or other decoration. It is wider and thicker than the rest of the ring. Bezel setting is typically located on the upper and outsider side of the ring.

When it comes to body jewelry, bezel setting can be positioned in two different ways, vertically or horizontally, in order to accommodate two different piercing types (vertical and horizontal piercings).

Bezel setting is made in such a way to hold the gem tightly and a specially designed lip encircles and overlaps the stone to hold it in place. This way, the gem is secured more than being simply glued to the surface of the jewelry (which is often done with poorly made, cheap jewelry pieces).

A bezel setting can be full (to completely surround the gem) or partial (to leave the sides open). The full bezel is more secure but partial allows more of the gem to be seen. One great thing about bezel setting is that it’s more secure than the prong setting. It gives a good protection to the gem so it’s a good choice for those with an active lifestyle or for piercings where you expect clothes to rub on the jewelry a lot.

Surface Piercing Aftercare

oberflaechenpiercingAs you probably know, aftercare can make or break your piercing. What does it mean? It means that a lot depends on proper aftercare and how much attention you give to your new piercing. Healing is a sensitive time for all piercings and you need to take a special care in order to ensure that your new piercing heals properly and without problems.

This is why all reliable studios will provide extensive information on aftercare and this is why your piercer will instruct you how to perform aftercare for your new piercing so it can heal without infections and other problems.

While aftercare is always important, it is particularly crucial for surface piercings. Here are some reasons why:

Surface Piercings are More Sensitive

Keep in mind that surface piercings are, by their nature, more sensitive and prone to problems such as migration, rejection and other issues. While these problems can occur with regular (non-surface) piercings, it is important to remember that surface piercings are more vulnerable. This is not a general rule (indeed, some regular piercings are very sensitive), but it’s something you need to keep in mind.

Another major issue is the placement. Many surface piercings are located at areas that are covered by clothes or that get touched a lot, such as back, neck, fingers, finger web, chest, legs, and more. These placements make surface piercings even more vulnerable.

Also, surface piercings are not permanent: sooner or later they will need to be retired. This is one major difference compared to regular piercings. While some regular piercings need to be retired at some point, this is a rule for surface piercings. Appropriate aftercare can ensure that your surface piercing lasts longer.

For all these reasons, it is important to perform adequate aftercare. With good aftercare, your surface piercing will have more chances to stay healthy and to last you longer. This is why aftercare becomes particularly important in the case of surface piercings.

Surface Piercing Aftercare Tips

Luckily, there are some important aftercare tips you can follow to make your surface piercing as healthy and long-lasting as they can be. Keep in mind that in the case of surface piercings, “aftercare” means more than the usual cleaning regime you need to perform for any new piercing in healing.

Some important tips to remember:

  • Choose placement carefully. Unlike standard piercings, which typically have their pre-defined placements (such as earlobe, lip, nostril, nipple, navel, etc.), surface piercings can be performed almost anywhere. Some of these places are better than the others in terms of preserving your piercing. For example, eyebrow piercings are among the most popular surface piercings because they are located at a relatively safe area in terms of disturbance. Some other surface piercings are more problematic. For example, those surface piercings that are typically covered with clothes can suffer a lot from friction and other problems. Therefore, the first advice – which begins even before aftercare – is to choose placement carefully if you want your surface piercing to last.
  • Be patient. Surface piercings often take a lot of time to heal. Or, more precisely, surprisingly long, considering the fact they are often less complex than some other piercing types. What makes surface piercings more complicated, however, is the fact that they are often done in pairs and groups. It all contributes to the long healing time. In order to preserve your surface piercing be prepared to perform cleaning and other aftercare instructions for months.
  • Perform adequate cleaning. As you probably know, proper cleaning is the most important aftercare instruction you need to follow. With surface piercings, cleaning has to be not only complete but also very careful. Since surface piercings are extra sensitive and prone to migration and rejection, cleaning has to be performed in such a way not to disturb the piercing in any way. When cleaning, try not to touch or move jewelry at all (twisting and turning jewelry is a major mistake for any piercing!) and try to disturb the skin around the piercing as little as possible.
  • Wear appropriate clothes. The goal is to reduce friction between the jewelry and clothes. Less friction means less chances for your surface piercing to be hurt. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid super-tight clothes whenever possible. On the other hand, fabric that is too loose may also cause problems by snagging on the jewelry. Simple cotton clothing items seem to work the best. If possible, do not wear any clothes on top of your surface piercing, at least during the initial healing time.
  • Protect your piercing. Since surface piercings are so sensitive, you need to do your best to protect it from any disturbance, particularly during the healing time. It means avoiding any unnecessary contact with your piercing. Keep your clothes, fingers, hair and any other object away from your surface piercing whenever possible. Let it breathe freely and make sure it’s not disturbed. Special care should be taken during the night. To prevent the jewelry from catching on the bed linens, place a gauze over your piercing. Perhaps the best practice is to be aware of your piercing at all times. This way, you will not forget about it, which means there is less risk of accidentally scratching it or hurting it in some other way.

Auricle Piercing

auricle piercingAuricle Piercing is a piercing done at the middle part of the outer rim of the ear cartilage. It is located under the ear’s helix. This is a highly sensitive spot rich in nerve endings, which makes auricle piercing one of the more painful ear piercings. However, it can look very effective so it is not surprising there are so many people who choose to have this type of piercing on their ears.

Placement and Procedure

Auricle piercing is positioned on the middle of the outer rim of the ear. As noted above, it is a very sensitive spot rich in nerves, so the procedure can be uncomfortable and painful. Because of this, and because auricle piercing is not among the most popular piercing types, it is important to find an experienced piercer who is familiar with this piercing type. You need a reliable individual who has experience with this particular piercing type – someone who knows how to perform only earlobe piercings will simply not do!

The piercing is done using a piercing needle, typically at 14 gauge. However, your piercer will decide if smaller or larger gauge is best for you. The procedure itself does not last long, but it may cause sharp pain and burning sensation even when it’s completed.

After the procedure you may experience some soreness, bruising and swelling. Minor bleeding is also possible. However, they should go after a week or so. If problems persist, make sure to consult your doctor.

After getting your auricle piercing done, it is important to perform proper aftercare in order to prevent infections, migration, rejection and other problems. To clean your new piercing, use a simple saline solution twice per day. Make sure not to overclean your piercing because it may irritate the skin and cause problems.

Jewelry

Auricle piercing typically requires relatively small but attractive jewelry. There are many different jewelry types to choose from. Some people prefer simple labret studs for their auricle piercing but with richly ornamented beads. This is one common choice for auricle piercing.

However, other options are also possible. For example, some people opt for circular barbells or Captive Bead Rings for their auricle piercing. Like in the case of labret studs, it’s best to choose ones with shiny and ornamented balls to make your piercing look extra attractive and noticeable.

Additional Tips and Info

  • Auricle piercing takes about 3 to 9 months to heal.
  • To prevent problems during healing, make sure to use only a mild soap when washing your ears and face. This will prevent irritation.
  • Try not to sleep on your piercing during the initial healing time.
  • During the initial stages of healing, avoid heavy shampoos, lotions and other chemicals that may irritate the piercing.
  • Don’t twist or turn your jewelry. It will only cause problems during healing.
  • It is important to keep your hair away from your ear during the initial healing time.
  • Another word of warning: never, under any circumstance, should you allow to be pierced with a piercing gun. Auricle piercing is a cartilage piercing and it simply cannot be done this way properly. That being said, piercing guns are generally bad so no piercing should be done using them.
  • Auricle piercings are often done in pairs and groups. Therefore, you can have a double auricle piercing, a triple auricle piercing or a multiple auricle piercing. These are all separate piercings done close together. If you choose to go this way make sure to use identical or matching jewelry for the each piercing so it’s clear they form a group.

Male Pubic Piercing

pubicPubic piercing is a surface piercing performed on the pubic mound, right above the penis. It is a relatively rare piercing even though it’s not a complicated one, so there are men who choose to get it. This is one of the lesser known male genital piercings, so there are often some misconceptions about it.

Placement

The Pubic piercing is performed on the pubic mound, at the place where the body meets the penis shaft. While some people believe that “pubic mound” refers only to female anatomy, it is true that all people have it. In this sense, it is possible to talk about male pubic piercing or pubic piercing for men.

This piercing doesn’t have a specific colloquial name, but it is analogous to Christina piercing in women.

This is a very interesting spot for a piercing because it is very visual and can be done for aesthetics. It may also serve as a functional piercing by enhancing sexual experience, even though it’s not as effective as some other forms of genital piercings. In fact, pubic piercing can enhance the experience – but mostly for the receiving partner during intercourse.

Women are particularly at advantage here, since a man’s pubic piercing can rub on the clitoris and make the experience more arousing and pleasurable.

About the Piercing

Keep in mind that this is a surface piercing, and as such, it comes with all problems associated with surface piercings. At the same time, it is relatively easy to perform, so it doesn’t cause much pain and other problems.

One of the main problems is sure migration and rejection. While it’s possible to have a pubic piercing without any issues there is still a high risk of problems commonly associated with surface piercings. Also, as a surface piercing, male pubic piercing is not permanent. You should not expect it to last forever, but with a good care you can make it last long enough.

The placement itself can cause some problems during healing. This part of the body is typically covered with clothes. The clothes can rub on the skin, which makes healing more difficult and pose a specific risk for migration and rejection.

This sort of piercing is usually done with a needle that is slightly bigger than ordinary piercings: 12 or 10 gauge. It makes the piercing go through more tissue and thus reduces the risk of migration, rejection and other problems.

You can expect pubic piercing to be healed in about 3 to 4 months, but it can be longer or shorter and a lot will depend on how careful you are with it.

Jewelry

As said above, initial jewelry for pubic piercing is typically 12 or 10 gauge. It might stretch a little, but it’s not wise to put so much pressure on the area since it can cause tearing and other problems.

The same can be said for jewelry: it should not be too heavy or long, but it should be large enough not to cut through the tissue, which is why it’s not recommended to use small gauge jewelry for this piercing.

Typical jewelry for this piercing type is a surface bar or a circular barbell. Some people choose to wear different jewelry types, such as curved barbells or Captive Bead Rings.

Keep in mind that the jewelry will play a role during intercourse, so if you wish to use pubic piercing for stimulation it is important to pick a jewelry piece that will be both comfortable and arousing for the receiving partner. Jewelry with smooth but pronounced beads might be the best choice.

Spiral Barbells

14k Double Side Set Gem Spiral

14k Double Side Set Gem Spiral

Spirals are special types of barbells with a twisted shaft. They are very effective jewelry pieces and they make for very eye-catching addition to any piercing.

While spirals are not as widely used as other types of barbells they are very attractive so it’s not surprising many piercing enthusiasts adore them.

The Design

Spiral barbells are a type of barbell jewelry with a twist (literally!) They are also known as twisters, twisted barbells or helixes. This is not surprising since that’s what they actually are: barbells with a twisted or spiraled shaft.

Barbells are body jewelry pieces consisting of a shaft and two balls. Each barbell can also include additional decorations, such as gems, chains and other decorations, but the basic design is always a shaft and two balls.

Internally threaded barbells have a shaft threaded on the inside and a ball with a thread rod while externally threaded barbells have a shaft with a thread rod and the ball is threaded on the inside.

The main difference between barbell types is the shape of the shaft. The shaft determines if a barbell will be straight, curved or circular. These are the three most popular barbell types. However, there is another barbell type: spiral barbell. This barbell is unique because its shaft is spiral or twisted.

Depending on the design, spiral barbells can have one or more twists or one or more spirals. Simple spiral barbells will have only one, so they resemble a zigzag shape. More complex and elaborate spiraled barbells will have multiple coils and twists, which is great for unique visual appearance and a more effective look.

How to Use Spirals

Spirals can be used like any other body jewelry piece, and like any other barbell. However, it’s important to use it only for piercings that can accommodate twists and spirals. Therefore, they are not recommended for very sensitive piercings, though there are people who can wear them even in more elaborate piercings, such as some genital piercings.

One great thing about spiral barbells is that they always look special. Even the simplest spiral barbell will dress up your piercing nicely and

Spirals are a great way to add a new twist to your ordinary piercing. This is why they are great for ear piercings. Multiple cartilage piercings will look very effective with a spiral barbell inserted in several piercings at once. It’s also possible to wear spirals in belly piercings or nipple piercings.

Spiral barbells are made in various gauges. The smallest ones are ideal for eyebrow piercings and other piercings made in small gauge. Thicker, large gauge spirals are a bold choice reserved for larger gauge piercings and ideal for those who truly wish to attract a lot of attention to their piercing.

The only thing to remember is that spirals need to be comfortable, so avoid wearing them where they can irritate the piercing or cause additional pressure on the tissue. Also, spirals are not recommended as initial jewelry for any piercings. They are good for fully healed piercings only. As usual, use your common sense: if your spiral barbell causes any discomfort, remove it and insert a different jewelry piece.

Keep in mind that spiral barbells are ideal for special occasions because they really look attractive and effective. They are perfect when you wish to look your best or attend a special occasion.

Helix Piercing Guide

Helix PiercingHelix piercing is an ear piercing type done on the helix of the ear. It is a form of ear cartilage piercing, and as such, it brings all the benefits and risks of cartilage piercings. Namely, it looks very effective but it needs to be done by a reliable, knowledgeable piercer in order to prevent any potential problems.

Helix piercing may not be the most popular ear piercing type – earlobe piercing is sure the most famous ear piercing! – but it’s relatively common. The reason is because it’s very attractive and effective, so it’s not surprising that so many people choose this piercing type.

These piercings are often worn with other ear piercings, and it’s not rare to have more than one helix piercing done in pairs or multiple piercings done next to each other. Another great thing about helix piercings is that there are special jewelry types, helix shields, made specifically for this piercing type.

Placement and Procedure

Helix piercing is done on the helix of the ear. The helix is defined as the outer rim of the ear cartilage. Typically, helix piercing is done on the tip of the ear, but other placements are also possible.

Keep in mind, however, that some of these alternative placements actually make it into a different type of a piercing. For example, outer conch piercing may sometimes be mistaken with a helix piercing. This is why one should never focus too much on the names of piercings themselves. It’s always better to simply explain to your piercer where you wish to have your piercing done. You don’t need to trouble yourself with the exact terminology.

That being said, helix piercing is relatively easy to understand, since it is located on the outer rim (helix) of the ear. Any piercing done on this area counts as a helix piercing. Since the outer rim of the ear is cartilage, this is also cartilage piercing, which dictates the procedure and aftercare.

The procedure itself is not complex, but it requires a knowledgeable piercer. For this reason, make sure to choose a good piercing studio and an experienced piercer to perform the procedure. Helix piercing is usually done with a hollow piercing needle. The gauge is typically 16 gauge or 14 gauge, so this is considered a small-gauge piercing.

A good news is that helix piercings are typically not painful if your piercer knows what they’re doing. Another reason to get a knowledgeable individual! This part of the ear is not rich in nerve endings, so it should not be too painful on itself. However, many people report some pain during procedure, probably due to the pressure the piercer has to apply in order to pierce the cartilage. This is why your comfort with this type of piercing largely depends on your piercer’s technique. However, the pain should not be significant during the procedure.

On the other hand, cartilage piercings are known to be painful afterwards, so this is something to keep in mind. Expect some pain in the hours after the procedure. However, it should slowly go by the next day or at least to be less intense. If the pain persists in the same or greater intensity, it might be a sign that something is wrong. Since ear cartilage piercings can lead to complications pretty quickly it’s advisable to seek medical help if the pain and discomfort persist.

Helix piercings take a long time to heal, around 8 to 12 months. You should be able to notice improvement and more comfort before this time, but keep in mind that the piercing is fully healed only after this period. If you wish to change your initial jewelry, you need to wait at least 2-3 months before doing it.

After the procedure, you may expect some tenderness and localized swelling. You may also notice some clear or very pale discharge (lymphatic fluid). These things are normal. However, pain, tenderness and swelling should not persist. If that happens it may be a sign of infection.

Jewelry

Typical jewelry for helix piercings are Captive Bead Rings, but some people choose to use studs and labret jewelry types. Some people even prefer to wear short straight barbells in their helix piercings.

Many people choose to have two helix piercings connected by a single jewelry piece, creating an Industrial Piercing. Industrial Piercings use special, long straight barbells as jewelry. During the healing time, however, you may need to wear two separate jewelry pieces (such as two Captive Bead Rings) until the helix piercings are healed. Some piercers, however, choose to connect an Industrial Piercing with a single straight barbell right from the start.

A special type of helix jewelry is helix shield. This is a special, richly-ornamented jewelry piece made to sit on the surface of the ear. Helix shields are very beautiful and attractive, but they can be used only on fully-healed piercings.

Additional Info and Tips

  • A common variation to helix piercing is the inner helix piercing, which is located on the inside of the helix. It is positioned on the inside of the rim of the ear.
  • Antihelix piercing, on the other hand, is a special piercing type. This one is done on the antihelix of the ear. The antixelix is located under the helix and closer to the ear canal.
  • Industrial Piercing” is usually understood as two helix piercings connected by a single jewelry piece, but the term actually refers to any body part – whenever you have piercings connected by a single jewelry piece it is an Industrial Piercing. Helix Industrial is just the most popular form.
  • Never agree to be pierced with a gun! Piercing guns are sometimes used for cartilage piercings by amateurs, and they put you at a significant risk. Find a reliable studio and a knowledgeable piercer – a good piercer will never use a gun!
  • Since cartilage piercings are difficult (or nearly impossible to stretch) if you wish to have a larger gauge helix you will need to use dermal punches.
  • As a cartilage piercing, helix piercing comes with similar risks as other cartilage piercings. Namely, if not done properly, it can lead to infections and even ear collapse in more serious cases. If can happen very quickly (a few days or even hours after getting your piercing done) so it’s important to seek medical help immediately if you experience prolonged pain and other problems. To prevent this from happening make sure to choose a reliable piercer to perform your helix piercing.
  • Helix piercing aftercare is similar to other piercing aftercare instructions. Make sure to clean your piercing a few times per day using a saline solutions. Do not twist or turn the jewelry and make sure to touch your new piercing as little as possible (in fact, it should be left alone except when you clean it). During the healing time, it’s advisable to avoid harsh chemicals (perfumes, shampoos, body lotions, etc.) from getting into your piercing.
  • The lymphatic fluid may build up around the hole and jewelry and form a crusty substance. However, you should not twist or turn the jewelry to remove it! Don’t worry, your piercing is not “growing into” the flesh. Simply remove the crust during cleaning and leave your ear alone. Do not pick on the crust and never attempt to remove it with your fingernails. This crust is not harmful and can wait for your next cleaning (you should clean at least twice per day so it’s easy to remove the crust).
  • Helix piercing, as any cartilage piercing, is prone to migration and rejection. Many helix piercings are long-lasting but you need to take appropriate care of it and observe it regularly to prevent and notice any changes. If you catch it on time, you may be able to prevent infections and other problems and thus make your helix piercing long-lasting.

Inner vs Outer Conch

conch-piercingA Conch Piercing is one of the more unusual ear piercing types, even though it’s popular with some people. It is one of the cartilage piercings, which makes it a bit trickier to perform than earlobe piercings. Cartilage piercings also tend to be more painful. However, this is not a reason to give up if you really desire to have a Conch Piercing.

There is a certain confusion about Conch Piercings. Namely, there are two distinctive types of Conch Piercings: Inner and Outer Conch. People sometimes confuse the two and are unsure about their similarities and differences. If you wish to get one of those (or both!) you need to know which is which and what their main differences are.

Inner Conch Piercing

Inner Conch is by far the more popular variant. If no closer distinction is mentioned, chances are that “Conch” will refer to Inner Conch piercing. Inner Conch is done on the specific part of the cartilage in the center of the ear, adjacent to the ear canal. There is a small cup-shaped area that is pierced.

This specific placement is characteristic of Inner Conch. All Inner Conch piercings are done on this cup-shaped cartilage area, or else the piercing in question cannot even be considered “Inner Conch”.

If the area is large enough, it is possible to have a large gauge Inner Conch piercing. However, the only way to achieve this is with a dermal punch. Cartilage piercings are almost impossible to stretch properly, so if you want to have a larger Inner Conch piercing it’s best to go with a dermal punch.

Outer Conch Piercing

Outer Conch piercing is a more unusual placement. It is performed on the flat part of the ear cartilage, ideally between the helix and the antihelix of the ear. The placement itself is tricky, because it has to be done on this specific spot to “count” as an Outer Conch piercing, or else it would be a simple Helix or Antihelix piercing.

In fact, these spots on the cartilage are located near each other so there is often some confusion whether the piercing in question is Outer Conch or not. Ideally, an Outer Conch piercing should be done on the cartilage but away from the rim/edge, unless you are going for a Helix piercing.

However, those who do not care about the names and simply want a piercing on this particular spot have nothing to worry about – you can simply tell your chosen piercer the exact spot where you wish to be pierced. You don’t need to know the name of the piercing or stress about getting it right.

Another way to perform an Outer Conch piercing is through dermal punching. This way, it is relatively easy to have a large gauge piercing in the cartilage, which would otherwise be very difficult (or impossible) to achieve.

Inner vs Outer Conch: The Verdict

As you can see, Inner and Outer Conch Piercings are very similar (hence the name), so it’s easy to confuse one for the other. Both are cartilage piercings done on the inner side of the ear, though Inner Conch is more so (as the name implies).

The main difference is the placement: Inner Conch has a very specific placement on the cup-shaped area near the ear canal. Outer Conch doesn’t have a special placement so there is more freedom when performing this piercing type.

Another potential difference is jewelry. Typically, Outer Conch allows for more space and freedom when choosing jewelry (for example, Captive Bead Rings), while the Inner Conch typically uses simple studs. However, this is not set in stone and there is always room for some experimentation.