Helix, Rook, Daith and Tragus Jewelry
This section covers the choice of jewelry which is best for Helix, Rook, Daith and Tragus piercings. I grouped them together because they often have the same issues and needs.
When it comes to Helix, Rook, Daith and Traguse piercings it's important to consider that the jewelry and piercing will be in contact with hair, clothes and bedding during and after the healing. So the jewelry needs to be simple, without points or edges that will get caught on things but still allows rooms for swelling, discharge and cleaning. Since the jewelry tends to hang it's important especially during the healing that there is no additional weight that might add stress to the piercing during healing.
The best options are Rings or Circular style jewelry and Post style jewelry depending on the placement of the piercing and the shape of the ear.
- Rings and Circular style jewelry such as Captive Bead or Beaded Rings and Circular Barbells:
- The Advantages:
- There are no sharp edges and points that may get caught on clothing, bedding and etc..
- Since the jewelry is not tight and wider than the piercing area, allowing extra room for swelling, discharge and cleaning.
- Especially with Captive Bead and Beaded Rings the jewelry is designed to be secure long term wear and there isn't the worry about ends coming unscrewed and losing the o-rings. So it reduces the maintenance and gives the piercee one less thing to deal during the healing.
- Much easier to move for cleaning.
- Captive Bead and Beaded Rings are usually lighter in weight then threaded jewelry.
- The Disadvantages:
- The profile of the rings may cause additional contact, abuse and stress on the piercing.
- Especially with Captive Bead and Beaded Rings, they can be difficult to remove or replace. In some cases requiring special tools to remove the jewelry.
- Threaded Straight or Curved Jewelry such as Barbells, Curved Barbells and Labret Studs:
- The Advantages:
- Lower profile may reduce abuse from contact with clothing, bedding and etc.. and less noticeable.
- Since the jewelry is threaded it can be easily removed if needed.
- The Disadvantages:
- Jewelry must be longer than needed to allow for swelling, discharge, and cleaning. This often means more weight, increased likelihood of abuse from contact or catching on clothing, bedding, etc... or being pulled or twisted.
- If the jewelry is too tight there is no extra room at all and can cause the jewelry to become impacted.
- The tightness of the ends needs to be check regularly to avoid the jewelry falling out and the piercing closing. This increases contact with the piercing and increases the likelihood of cross contamination.
- In most cases the jewelry is heaver than a simple Captive Bead Ring which increases the stress on the piercing which could lead to migration or other problems.
- Due to the shape the jewelry is prone to twist causing stress. Also because of the weight one side well be laying against one of the piercing holes which can block discharge.
- Jewelry that should be avoided during Healing:
- Novelty jewelry with large charms, sharp edges or points, and/or anything hanging off the jewelry.
- Ear Piercing Studs and other traditional jewelry:
- The jewelry is often too short to allow for the thickness of piercing area. Which doesn't allow for swelling and can cause the jewelry to be impacted into the piercing. Also if the jewelry is too tight it can block both discharge and the flow of oxygen that can increase healing time and/or increase risk to infection or other problems.
- The backs or locks are lose and can tighten with normal wear.
- Often the jewelry material is not body friendly. Even those that are marketed to those with sensitivity to metal are only plated.
- In most cases can not be sterilized correctly.
Size of the Jewelry and Weight:
With Helix, Rook, Daith and Tragus weight and the size of the tissue taken does greatly reduce the options when it comes to gauge. This is especially true with the Rook, Tragus and Daith.
As a refresher gauge is the thickness of the wire that the jewelry is made out of. Body piercing jewelry generally starts at 18 gauge jewelry and goes up to 0000 gauge jewelry. The smaller the number the thicker the jewelry will be. As I'm sure you know, the thicker the jewelry is the more weight and thus the more stress on the piercing during the healing period. Also the thicker the jewelry the more tissue that needs to be produce and thus the longer the healing period. Though in most cases a 18 gauge lobe piercing will heal out in about the same time as a 12 gauge lobe piercing will.
When choosing the gauge of the jewelry, the jewelry needs to be thick enough to reduce rejection or migration and have resistance to tearing but light enough that it will not cause added stress during healing. When deciding on the best gauge for the piercing, I've found that 18g to 14g works best. Though if the piercing area is not well pronounced smaller gauge jewelry is often the better choice. Since the area available to pierce is often limited, smaller gauge jewelry maybe a better option to increase the tissue between the piercing and the surface.
That said the gauge of the jewelry still needs to be thick enough to reduce the likelihood of migration, rejection and tearing. Usually 18 or 16 gauge is the best choice when balancing resistance, size of the piercing area and weight. The gauge is always dictated by the shape and size of the piercing area.
Since these piercings do not lend themselves well to stretching, i suggest piercings at the gauge that is going to work best for the jewelry that the piercee and their future plans. Since there is a much greater variety of threaded jewelry that is 16 gauge or larger and such a minor difference between 18 gauge and 16 gauge, I usually ask the piercee if they are planning on wearing threaded jewelry like curved barbells, barbells or labret studs in the future. If the answer is yes than I will suggest 16g.
The jewelry needs to be large enough to allow extra room for swelling, discharge and cleaning. If the piercing is done with a barbell this usually means that the jewelry must be done with a much longer piece then is needed, thus adding additional weight and added risks. With a ring the jewelry should be at least 1/8 of an inch wider than the distance between the two piercing holes. The piercing should not be wider then a 1/4 turn of the ring. Also consideration needs to be taken to make sure the jewelry hangs free of the ear and doesn't add stress to the piercing.
Even in a healed piercing you do not want to put jewelry in that has a tighter circle than the jewelry it was pierced with. In other words if it was pierced with a 3/8 inch wide ring, you do not want to put a 1/4 inch ring in because it would be a tighter circle. The reason for this is it can cause migration, scarring and tearing of the piercings. If you want something with a lower profile, a curved barbell maybe a better choice because they are usually a mild 1/4 turn. Even with a curved barbell you do want it to be a little longer than the piercing. The jewelry should never be so tight that it changes the shape of the piercing or piercing area.
In conclusion, nothing replaces the first hand knowledge of a professional piercer when it comes to choosing the correct jewelry. There is vast differences in shape and size and often what works for 99.99% of the public is not the best choice for you. The goal of this is to give you a working understand of jewelry selection, so that you can have an educated discussion with your piercer on what will work best. Every piercer understands that one of the motivations of you getting the piercing is fashion but jewelry that will produce the best out come should always rule out fashion. Think of the jewelry that the piercing is done with as trainer jewelry that will be replaced with what you like after the piercing is healed.