How Much Does a Tragus Piercing Hurt? (Pain Guide)

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 15, 2018
    Last Updated: January 14, 2021

Trendy ear-piercing variations remain the most asked for procedures at pretty much any body-piercing studio. However, not all ear piercings are as low on the pain scale as the ever-popular lobe piercing.

Fortunately, I’ve got some information to help you understand everything you need to know about tragus piercing pain, and what to do to successfully overcome it.

Tragus Piercing Pain

In general, tragus piercings don’t hurt as much as many other types of body piercing thanks to the low amount of nerve endings in the area. You can expect a stinging feeling as the needle penetrates the skin, along with some sensations of pressure, but the sharp needle should go through quickly and easily, making the pain short-lasting.

The thing to know about tragus piercings is that they go through cartilage in your ear. Although, as you can tell by looking at or touching your ear, the cartilage is thicker in some places than others. Generally speaking, the thicker or harder the cartilage, the more painful a piercing will be in that area. 

The cartilage in your tragus (the little flap at the front of your ear), is extremely flexible, and that makes it one of the less painful areas to get pierced. 

It’s generally accepted that the tragus area has fewer nerve endings than other body parts, which limits the pain felt in that area, and the needle used during the procedure will be thin and sharp. The sharper and thinner a needle is, the less painful it feels.

You may even hear what sounds like crunching or popping, but don’t be alarmed. It’s just that the tragus is extremely close to your ear canal, so you are more likely to hear the sounds of the needle going through the cartilage, which is quite tough and gristly.

How Long Will A Tragus Piercing Hurt For?

Although the initial pain of the needle is brief, lasting only a few seconds, you will experience some pain during the healing process. Usually, the tenderness and swelling will go away in less than a week. If it lasts longer, you should go back to your piercer to make sure the jewelry isn’t too tight or you don’t have an infection.

What Factors Can Affect Tragus Piercing Pain?

Aside from your own personal pain tolerance, here are a few things that may affect how much your tragus piercing hurts.

How well-rested you are

I always advise people to get pierced when they are well-rested. That goes for any piercing. Your body simply tolerates pain better when you’ve allowed it to rest and recharge.

How well you generally take care of yourself

Anything that damages your health is stressful on your body, and if your body is already stressed, it’s not going to handle the additional stress of a piercing well.

Make it a point to eat healthily and avoid smoking or drinking too much before you get pierced. It will really make a difference.

Use of a numbing product

Some people like to use a topical anesthetic to reduce piercing pain. It may help, but doesn’t work for every single person.

However, don’t use the kind of products that you spray on to freeze the area; they can increase damage to the tissue being pierced, and prolong healing times.

One of the most effective piercing numbing products currently on the market is Zensa Numbing Cream, which contains the highest level of Lidocaine allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter use. The feedback left by thousands of customers for this product is nothing short of exceptional.

Just follow the instructions on the packaging, apply shortly before your piercing procedure is due to begin, and look forward to a less painful and more comfortable piercing experience.

Piercer experience and technique

Just like everyone’s pain tolerance varies, every piercer’s technique will vary. Some are rougher, and some will minimize the pain as minimal as possible. The only way to know is to ask others who have used that particular piercer.

In general, though, a body piercer who has done tragus piercings for several years is going to give you a better experience than someone who just started. So if you’re worried about pain, ask for someone with more experience.

State of mind

Yes, how you think can make a big difference in how you experience pain. If you go in freaking out that it’s going to be horrible, you are not going to have as good of an experience as if you take a few calming breaths and remind yourself how quickly it will be over.

Ways To Deal With Tragus Piercing Pain

The pain is pretty much going to be what it is, so what can you do to help yourself handle it better? Here are my suggestions:

Distract yourself

You can’t really listen to headphones when you’re getting your tragus pierced, but you can put an earbud in the ear not being pierced. Listening to music has been proven to reduce pain in various settings. You can also try talking to your piercer, or bringing in a friend to talk to during the piercing.  Do some deep breathing – inhale and exhale nice and slowly and it will all be over soon!

Think about the results

Instead of thinking about the painful process of getting pierced, think about the awesome piercing you’re going to have when it’s done. Thinking about results really puts it into perspective because the initial sting lasts just a few seconds, but you should be able to keep and enjoy your tragus piercing for many years.

Be comfortable

On the day of your piercing appointment, wear comfortable clothes so you can feel relaxed during the process. You’d be surprised how much extra tension you hold in your body when clothes are constricting. If you catch an illness, consider rescheduling your tragus piercing for when you’re feeling better so that you will feel good and heal well.

Eat before you go into the shop

Eating something will ensure that your blood sugar levels aren’t low when you get your tragus pierced. Low blood sugar can make the pain feel sharper, and it can cause you to pass out. That’s because experiencing the trauma of the piercing can make your blood sugar drop lower. Staying hydrated is equally important.

Educate yourself

Reading articles like this one help you to know what to expect when you go in for a piercing. It also helps you know the right steps to take to prevent pain during the piercing process and later when you are practicing piercing aftercare.

By knowing what to expect, you can defer some of the anxiety you may have felt about getting your tragus pierced. Remember, the pain we experience usually isn’t nearly as bad as what we imagine.


Tragus piercing pain can be a worrying thought in the lead-up to your appointment, but remember that they’re really are among the less painful piercings. As with any cartilage piercing, you just need to follow good aftercare and keep your hands off the piercing to help it heal quickly and get over the pain.

The tragus can feel tender in the first week following the procedure, especially since it’s on a part of your ear that moves when you talk or chew.

If you want to ensure your piercing heals the best it possibly can, it’s imperative that you follow your piercer’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality aftercare solution to aid recovery.

The best piercing aftercare product I’ve ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application.

When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.

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