Update: Triple Forward Helix

Back on November 20, 2011 I got a triple forward helix piercing on my left ear.  It’s been about 8 months now, and I haven’t posted an update, let alone talked about it much.  So, here’s a (rather lengthy) update on my piercing.

The First Few Weeks
For the first few weeks, my piercing was fairly tender.  I couldn’t sleep on it at all, had to be very gentle with it when cleaning, showering, drying my hair, and talking on the phone.  I was really careful with it, cleaned it twice a day, was conscious of not touching it, and otherwise took excellent care of it.  There were a couple times where I caught it on something (usually my hair while drying, but once, a knit hat) and saw stars… but other than that, following the instructions my piercer gave me was easy, and kept the pain down.  If you don’t recall what it looked like when I first got the piercing, you can see pics here.

The First Jewelry Swap
As I had mentioned in my first post about getting the piercing done, the jewelry that had been put in initially was extra long to allow for swelling.  The posts were likely even longer than they needed to be, to allow for extra swelling.  After catching my top earring on a knit hat about 2 weeks in, I decided that I’d change my jewelry out as soon as possible, which according to my instructions, I could have done by another piercer just 4-6 weeks after the piercing was done.  The weekend before Christmas I was visiting a friend in Peoria and went to a shop down there (I used to take a friend of mine there often in college, so I was familiar with it) and had them switch out my earrings.  Well, 2 of 3, since they weren’t comfortable with putting my shorter post in the bottom hole.  The woman who did the swap said that I was, indeed, not fully healed but that things looked pretty good.

Unfortunately, the jewelry I swapped in was still too long on my middle hole, and instead of sitting flush, it stuck out all funny.  The top one was perfect, and the bottom one was still too long, but easy to hide.  I decided to leave it until I was fully healed though, and then research some other earring options.

At this point, I largely kept my piercing hidden with my hair.

Slight Setback
Between Christmas and New Years, my top hole got infected.  I’m not sure what caused it, but thankfully, it was fairly minor, cleared up fast, and I didn’t have to remove any earrings.  I was able to get rid of it with an increase in anti-bacterial washes (I had been just doing it in the shower in the morning, but did it at night before bed as well), picking up daily soaks (which I had only been doing every other day), and a few gentle dabs of Neosporin each night (for about 4 days, if I recall correctly).

The Second Jewelry Swap
Towards the end of March, I decided things were healed enough where I could switch out my jewelry to something that would fit better and hopefully be permanent.  After doing a little bit of research on my own, talking to Heather (my far-away piercer), and talking to a coworker who has experience with piercings (on the receiving end), I decided to go with Bioflex/Bioplast jewelry, instead of trying to find metal earrings that would measure up.  For one, Bioflex/Bioplast jewelry is more flexible than metal, which meant it should be a little more comfortable.  You can also cut it, which meant that if the posts I ordered were too long (and I did err on the side of too long), they can just be cut down to fit better.  The posts are also clear, which will make the backs not stand out so much.

Most of the places in the area that I called didn’t carry Bioplast or Bioflex jewelry like I needed, so I ordered my jewelry from the Body Jewellery Shop, a UK-based store that ships worldwide and has price that I couldn’t beat anywhere else.  I placed my order for 6 different earrings (with 3 varying size posts to make sure I had the size I needed for all 3 holes) on April 11.  I got my jewelry late morning on the 16th!  I was really exited–I’d ordered 2 clear crystal studs and 4 different other studs: a black star, a small pink heart, a titanium-colored pyramid stud, and a rose gold butterfly.  I posted a picture on Facebook when I got them, but here they are in case you missed them when I posted them.

SSC's New Earrings

My intention was to be able to have the top earring be a gem and be able to change out the bottom two myself based on what I was wearing or feeling.  Not an everyday thing, but I just liked having the option.  Plus I thought it would be cute… I can’t lie.

Anyway, when my jewelry came I went into a tattoo/piercing shop not too far from work on my lunch break on April 17 to get my earrings swapped out (where the girl who did the work called my piercing an “Orion’s Belt”, which has a pretty nice ring to it).  Having had the top and middle ones swapped, I knew the middle one was going to be a little bit rough, but oh boy it was way worse than I expected!  Because of where the hole is, getting the earring in is a challenge to begin with, but on top of it the post wasn’t going into the earring.  It was, uh, rather unpleasant, with a lot of pushing, tugging, and hurting going on.  I had her put a different topper in instead of messing with the one I originally wanted, which I figured I’d trade out myself a few days later when it stops hurting.  I didn’t particularly like the way the 2 bottom toppers sat together (I didn’t like it much at the shop either, but didn’t want to endure another round of pain to swap it out again).  I figured I’d go with my original plan of having the top 2 earrings being simple gems and the bottom one being different.

But, I had to wait, because all the tugging and stuff put a lot of pressure on my ear, and it felt like a brand new piercing again.  I was told to take care of it like a new piercing for a few weeks as well, which I did to avoid any further issues.

Sidenote: I was a little annoyed by the shop because when I called to ask about swapping out jewelry, I was told it would be no charge but a tip would be appreciated.  After the piercer tore up my ear, she asked me for $10.  I had $8 cash, or otherwise had to charge it.  She took the cash (it was a $3 charge to charge it) and didn’t seem all that pleased.  But whatever… someone at your place told me it was no charge, so yea.

The Top Swap, Part 2
Once the pain and swelling went down from the swap to bioplast, I tried pulling out the toppers on my bottom 2 holes.  I couldn’t do it.  At all.  I ended up going to a different shop in South Elgin to get the tops switched out.  It was painless, took a few seconds, and cost me nothing.  I gave the guy who did it a nice tip and went on my way happily.  As I write this, I have 2 crystal studs in, one in the top and one in the middle hole, and a pyramid stud in the bottom hole.  Not completely thrilled with the way it looks just yet, but it’s better than how it was with the heart and the star in there.  I’m thinking of just getting another crystal for the bottom hole and nixing the spike and just going simple, but we’ll see.  I’m waiting for now.

I’ve had a little bit of irritation a couple other times since the infection back around New Year’s, despite regular anti-bacterial washes.  The most recent was only a few weeks ago, but I am pretty sure it’s because I was wake boarding in Fox Lake (which is disgusting, being a small, mud-bottom lake) and fell a few times.  However, despite the fact that my holes look stupidly uneven, I’ve decided that I’m going to wait another couple months before I do anything else.  Even swap out the tops of the jewelry.  I still feel like it’s a little swollen, and don’t want to cut the middle post for a perfect fit until it is a perfect fit.  In the meantime, I’m going to continue to leave it alone.  It’s not tender any more, though sometimes if I sleep on it it bothers me a little (partially, I think, because of the irritation from the swap to Bioflex).

Here’s a picture of it right now, in all it’s “I swear my holes are even” glory.  As you can see, the top post is actually a little long (that’s the back of it peeking out).  I can probably have that cut down later on, when I get the middle one cut down.  The bottom one is, as far as I’m concerned, fine the length it’s at.

And really, I swear they’re even.  The stupid middle post being long really throws everything off, as does the fact that the bottom hole is a little sunk in simply because of how my ear is built.  But I assure you, the holes are even, I checked them before they were made, and it’s all good.

The Hardest Part So Far
By far, the hardest part for me has been to not mess with the piercing and/or earrings.  There have been times where it’s itched like crazy and all I wanted to do was stick a finger in there, move the earrings around, and scratch.  Or times where I just wanted to take the earrings out because of frustration with how things were going or how they looked (mostly how they looked).  But I haven’t.  It’s also been a challenge to just generally be conscious of it, especially when it was new.  As it healed, it was easier to forget it was there.

If I Could Go Back & Do It Over
I’d seriously consider only getting one piercing instead of the 3.  I really like the placement of the bottom hole, and think that by itself, it’d look pretty dandy with just a simple crystal stud in there.  In fact, eventually, I’ll probably remove the top 2 and just keep that one.  It’s a little unexpected and different, and I like that.

But, if I decided to go with 3, I’d reconsider the placement.  I didn’t think about the little fold in my ear and how it would affect jewelry, and I regret that.  The fact that jewelry hits that fold and pushes out because of it makes everything look misaligned, and that drives me crazy.

Heck, I might even reconsider the piercing placement altogether.  Since I’ve gotten this piercing, I’ve seen others I like more, that I think might be more suited to the shape of my ear.  Not something I was really conscious of initially, I guess.

I think I’d also ask if I could be pierced with Bioflex right off the bat, instead of metal first, regardless of where I ended up getting stabbed or how many times.  It’s far more comfortable, and looks better because it’s clear.  It sort of conceals the long posts a little easier, I think.

So That’s It
My thoughts on my piercing.  Feel free to ask me questions if you have any.

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