Helix vs Flat Piercing: A Comparison Guide

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Are you interested in getting a new ear piercing? The helix or the flat piercing may have piqued your interest, and you can’t decide between the two. This guide will help you decide as we discuss both piercings in detail and how they compare against each other. 

What’s a flat piercing?

Flat piercing


As its name suggests, a flat piercing is a cartilage piercing positioned on the flat area in the upper ear. Unlike the helix or industrial piercing located in the ear’s rim, the flat piercing is situated below the rim in what is known as the flatter portions of the ear anatomy. 

Flat piercings require a flat-back or stud earring. The flat piercing is relatively painful due to the thick cartilage it goes through and ranks at a 6-7/10 on the pain scale. This piercing can take six months to a year to fully heal.

What is a helix piercing?

Helix piercing - Helix vs Flat Piercing: A Comparison Guide


A helix piercing is an ear piercing along the ear’s upper and outside cartilage ridge. There are different types of trendy helix piercings. Two or three piercings in this area are known as a double helix and triple helix piercings. The forward helix is located on the frontal cartilage closest to the face, and the antihelix or snug piercing sits directly across from the helix (hence the name), above the ear canal.

The helix piercing is more painful than a lobe piercing as it goes through cartilage. Cartilage tissue is denser, requiring more force to pierce through, resulting in more pain. The initial healing time is two to four months, but for the piercing to heal completely, it will take three to six months. 

Helix vs flat piercing: Which should you choose?

To help you decide which piercing you should get, we have listed the pros and cons of helix and flat piercing. 

Pros of flat piercing.

  • It’s appealing on its own.
  • It compliments the forward helix and the auricle piercings well.
  • It’s affordable as it can cost about $40-$80.

Cons of flat piercing

  • It’s more painful since it pierces through cartilage.
  • It takes a long time to heal, about six to twelve months.
  • It requires more diligent aftercare to prevent infections and bumps. 
  • You can’t sleep on the piercing until it heals completely.
  • You can’t wear hats and headphones until it heals fully.

Pros of a helix piercing

  • A helix piercing is versatile as you can wear studs and hoops.
  • It’s believed to relieve insomnia and stress levels.
  • It may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Cons of a helix piercing

  • It’s quite painful as it goes through cartilage.
  • It takes a long time to heal since cartilage lacks a good blood supply. 

How they compare: Helix vs flat piercing

Let’s look at how the helix and flat piercings compare against each other.

Helix vs flat piercing pain

Both piercings go through cartilage thus they are both painful. However, the flat piercing is more painful than the helix. The helix is one of the least painful cartilage piercings since the outer curve of the ear doesn’t have many nerve endings. On the pain scale of 1-10, the helix piercing is at a 4 and the flat piercing is between 6 and 7.

Flat vs helix piercing healing time

With proper aftercare practices, the flat piercing will take six months to a year to completely heal. In contrast, the helix piercing will take a shorter time of three to six months to fully heal.

Frequently asked questions about helix vs flat piercings

You may still have some questions about the helix and flat piercing. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Does a flat piercing hurt more than a helix?

Yes, a flat piercing hurts more than a helix because the outer ridge of the ear where the helix sits has less nerve endings. 

Can you sleep on a flat piercing?

You can’t sleep on a flat piercing until it’s completely healed; that’s why it’s advisable to get the flat piercing done on one side first. 

Do helix piercings heal well?

Yes, with consistent and appropriate aftercare practices, the helix piercings heal well. Avoid swimming pools and bath tubs as they can expose the piercing to bacteria. Also, wash your hands with soap before touching the piercing.

Does the flat piercing help with anxiety?

No, the flat piercing doesn’t help with anxiety.

Do helix piercings need flat back earrings?

Helix piercings don’t need flat back earrings. However, for the forward helix piercing, flat back stud earrings are the jewelry of choice. 

Will it be the helix or flat piercing?

Now that you know the differences and similarities between the helix and flat piercing, you can choose the one that suits you and book your appointment with a professional piercer. Remember, both piercings take time to heal, and you must follow through with the aftercare practices to prevent complications.

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