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

No matter what kind of piercing you plan to get, you probably want to know if it hurts. The tragus piercing is increasingly popular, especially since it’s an ear piercing.

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 lobe piercings.

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.

Will A Tragus Piercing Definitely Hurt?

Simply put, yes. All piercings hurt. However, everyone experiences pain differently, and if you tend to tolerate pain well, then a tragus piercing will likely not be a big deal for you.

That being said, just because you don’t tolerate pain particularly well doesn’t mean a tragus piercing will be unbearable. The initial pain is over pretty quickly, and you’ll forget about it altogether once you have an awesome, fully healed tragus piercing.

How Bad Will The Tragus Piercing Pain Be?

The thing to know about a tragus piercing is that it goes through cartilage in your ear. Pretty much all ear piercings that are not on the lobe go through cartilage.

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. On the contrary, compared to getting your earlobes pierced, you will feel more pressure when the needle goes through your tragus. 

You can expect a stinging feeling, as the needle penetrates the skin, but it should go through quickly and easily, making the pain fleeting.

It’s generally accepted that the tragus area has fewer nerve endings than other body parts, which decreases the pain felt in that area, and the needle used on this area 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. Don’t be alarmed if you hear something like that. 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 thick in that area.

What To Expect At The Shop

The tragus is many people’s first choice of piercings, other than the standard earlobe piercing, and that means it may be your first time getting pierced at a piercing studio.

Don’t worry – body piercing professionals at reputable shops follow strict hygiene procedures and know how to get your piercing done with as little pain as possible.

For this piercing, the process is fairly simple. The piercer will examine your ear to make sure you have a big enough tragus to pierce. Some people don’t have enough cartilage there to pierce safely without risk of ripping the tragus.

If you’re good to go and you and your piercer agree on the placement of the piercing, then your tragus flap will be disinfected with a cleanser.

After that, the piercer will use a pen to mark the correct spot to be pierced. They will push a hollow, sterile piercing needle through the marked spot and finally insert the jewelry.

It’s all over in just a couple of minutes. After that, you purchase some aftercare products and go on your way with a cool new piercing.

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.

6 Important Ear Piercing Aftercare Steps You Must Ensure You Take:

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 go in for their piercings having gotten a full night’s sleep the night before. 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.

Having alcohol or drugs recently

If you stayed out drinking the night before your piercing and come in hungover, you’re not going to feel well, and you’re not going to handle pain well.

If you think you should come in for a piercing during a night of drinking, you’ll probably bleed more, and your intoxicated brain could make the pain more noticeable than if you were sober.

Most reputable piercing studios will not serve you if you are noticeably under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

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.

My Favorite Piercing Numbing Product

Ebanel 5% Lidocaine Topical Numbing Cream Maximum Strength, 4.4 Oz Pain Relief Cream Anesthetic Cream Infused with Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Lecithin, Allantoin, Secured with Child Resistant Cap

Ebanel 5% Lidocaine Topical Numbing Cream Maximum Strength, 4.4 Oz Pain Relief Cream Anesthetic Cream Infused with Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Lecithin, Allantoin, Secured with Child Resistant Cap

One of the most effective piercing numbing products currently on the market is a cream called Numb 520. The feedback left by hundreds of customers for this product is nothing short of brilliant.

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

The 1.35oz tub also ensures that you will have more than enough cream for several piercings.

Give it a try, and I’m extremely confident that you will not be disappointed.

Read more about Numb 520 here. Have a quick look at some of the customer reviews and you’ll see why it’s so popular.

Piercer experience and technique

Just like everyone’s pain tolerance varies, every body piercer’s technique will vary. Some are rougher, and some know how to make 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.

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.

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.

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 piercings 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 getting it pierced, especially since it’s on a part of your ear that moves when you talk or chew.

Tragus piercing pain can be a worrying thought in the lead-up to your appointment, but remember that once it’s over, you will have an amazing new addition to your ear for the rest of your life.

If you want to ensure your piercing heals as best as 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.