A popular type of ear piercing is the helix piercing. Also known as a cartilage piercing, a helix piercing is located in the upper half of your ear, in the cartilage. There are several different placements for the helix piercing, which can impact what type of sizing you go with.
What gauge is a helix piercing? Learn about sizing considerations to ensure you get the right fit for your new jewelry.
Standard Helix Piercing Size
When choosing the type of jewelry you’d like for your helix piercing, it’s helpful to understand standard sizing suggestions:
- Gauge: 16 gauge;
- Length: 6mm and 8mm;
- Diameter: 5mm and 7mm for outer helix piercings (closer to the edge of the ear) and 8mm and 11mm for inner helix piercings.
However, keep in mind that the size that’s right for you will vary based on the thickness and anatomy of your ear. Ideally, you’ll find a fit that isn’t too snug or too loose, allowing for proper healing and comfortable wear.
1. Helix Piercing Gauge: What Gauge Is a Helix Piercing?
Piercers typically recommend 16 gauge for helix piercings. This size is considered stable and a good option to support the healing process. This is largely because it caters to the placement and thickness of your ear.
While some may offer 18 gauge, it’s not common because it’s smaller, more delicate, and can be more likely to catch, cause tearing, or even lead to your piercing shrinking and rejecting the jewelry.
2. What Length Is a Helix Piercing?
If you choose to go with a stud, labret stud, or barbell for your helix, there are different lengths to consider. The most common lengths are between 6mm and 8mm.
If your cartilage is thicker, you’ll likely go for an 8mm stud. If your cartilage is thinner, such as with a forward helix, you may opt for closer to 6mm.
There is a chance your piercer will recommend something a tiny bit smaller, such as 5.5mm if your ear is particularly thin.
If your jewelry is too long, it makes it more susceptible to catching, pulling, and tearing. This can lead to complications or even require you to take the jewelry out and allow your piercing to close up.
If your jewelry is too short, it can be too snug and lead to pain, discomfort, increased swelling, and complications in the healing process. You want the piercing to be snug, but not too snug.
3. What Diameter Are Helix Piercings Rings?
Since rings are another popular helix jewelry type, you should also review different diameters. The right diameter will depend on the placement of your helix piercing.
If your helix is closer to the edge of the ear with a smaller portion of cartilage to go through, you’ll likely need a diameter between 5mm and 7mm.
However, make sure the size isn’t too small, or else the fit will be too snug and could cause the piercing to move, tear, and face other complications.
If your helix is further away from the edge of your ear and going through a larger portion of cartilage, or if you just want a looser fit, you’ll likely need a diameter between 8mm and 11mm.
However, make sure the size isn’t too large where it’s going to catch on your hair, clothing, and other items, leading to tearing, ripping, and other complications.
4. Sizing for Specific Types of Helix Piercings
If you have a specific type of piercing and jewelry in mind, here are some general sizing recommendations:
- Forward helix piercing: 16 gauge, 5mm or 6mm stud length or hoop diameter
- Upper helix piercing: 14 or 16 gauge, 6-8mm stud length or hoop diameter
- Mid helix piercing: 14 or 16 gauge, 5-7mm stud length or hoop diameter
- Lower helix piercing: 14 or 16 gauge, 5-7mm stud length or hoop diameter.
Again, know that your sizing will vary based on your ear.
How to Choose the Right Helix Piercing Size?
When you go to get your helix pierced, your piercer can help you determine the most accurate size for your jewelry.
If you’ve already had your piercing done, it has fully healed, and you’re ready to switch out the jewelry, you can measure what you already have, if it was a good fit, and use that to make your next purchase.
How to Measure Helix Piercing Size?
You can also go through some simple steps to measure your own ear to figure out your helix piercing size. To measure for a helix hoop:
- Cut a small strip of paper.
- Hold the paper up to your ear and grab a writing tool.
- Make two marks: one where your piercing is and one at the outer edge of your year.
- Take away the paper and measure between the two marks.
- Add 1mm to this measurement if you want a snug fit for your hoop and add 2mm to this measurement if you want a looser fit for your hoop.
To measure for a helix stud, you can use the same process, but don’t add 1mm or 2mm at the end. This will usually match the thickness of your ear. You can also try existing sizes that you have or have someone use a ruler to reference the thickness of your year. Again, just ensure the fit isn’t too snug.
Recommended Helix Piercing Jewelry
Piercing stud implant-grade titanium with cubic zirconia 16G $18.9, SHOP NOW.
For an inner helix piercing, you’ll want to select a stud. This will go right through the center of your ear and can be adorned with a metal ball, diamond, shape, or arrangement of gemstones.
Gold hoop with a chain and CZ titanium 16G $21.9, SHOP NOW.
For an outer helix piercing or an orbital conch piercing, you’ll likely be selecting a hoop. Hoops come in different materials and styles that you can change out once your piercing is fully healed.
Curved barbell piercing ASTM F136 implant-grade titanium internally threaded $16.9, SHOP NOW.
Some of the most popular materials for helix earrings include:
1. Implant-Grade Titanium
Helix piercing jewelry made of implant-grade titanium is a great option because titanium is lightweight, nickel-free, and won’t tarnish. It may help you avoid an allergic reaction and the need to frequently change out the jewelry. This metal is also used in the medical field for things like joint replacements and bone pins.
2. 14K Gold
Gold offers an elegant look and is a durable material, though yellow gold is often more hypoallergenic, and white gold can be more durable because it has nickel and other metal alloys.
3. Implant-Grade Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is durable and high-quality but does contain trace amounts of nickel that can be tricky for sensitive skin.
Soft, flexible plastic that may be recommended if you undergo surgery, X-rays, or other procedures that require you to remove metals from your body.
When Can I Change My Helix Piercing?
You should wait until your helix piercing is fully healed to change it. This typically takes between 6 months to 9 months. However, this timeframe could be longer if you don’t take proper care of the piercing or if you have complications.
It can also just depend on the person. For example, some people require a full year before their piercings are completely healed.
Helix piercings can be a great ear piercing to get with many different jewelry and placement options possible for you to customize the look.
As you prepare for your piercing or to swap out the jewelry, ensure you understand typical sizing recommendations and how they could vary for your ear to help ensure a comfortable fit and smooth healing process.