Tragus Piercings: Guide & Images

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 15, 2019
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

If you want to stay away from the ear piercings that everyone has, check out tragus piercings. They aren’t as popular as helix or conch piercings are, but they are every bit as cool. So if you’re looking for something different, these fit the bill.

Those who aren’t sure what a tragus piercing is will learn all about them in this article. Be prepared to wow your friends with your vast new tragus piercing knowledge.

What Is A Tragus Piercing?

Before you understand what a tragus piercing is, first you have to know what a tragus is. If you look at your ear or feel it, right above your ear lobe, you’ll feel a harder section of the ear that’s on the edge of your face. That’s the tragus – it’s the area that’s located in front of your ear canal.

The tragus is made out of cartilage, which is why it feels hard yet can be bent.

Most people are able to get a tragus piercing without any issues. On the other hand, if you have an unusually thin tragus, you might not be able to get your tragus pierced. It could simply be too thin to support the weight and pull of the jewelry. Your piercer will be able to tell you if you can go ahead with this piercing or if you should sit it out.

What Happens During A Tragus Piercing?

As with all piercings made by reputable piercers, anyone performing a tragus piercing will make sure to disinfect the skin before they get started. A disinfectant will be rubbed on the tragus to make sure any surface bacteria is removed or killed.

When getting a part of your ear pierced, most piercers will ask you to lie down, or they’ll have you recline back on the chair. Some will put a cork in your ear canal to help avoid any kind of injury or damage to the ear.

With a hollow needle, your piercer will make the hole in the tragus and then put the jewelry in.

Don’t be surprised or concerned if you have some bleeding during or right after the piercing. That’s just a normal part of the process. It won’t last long and it won’t be an extreme amount. It usually stops in just a couple of minutes. Sometimes it can last for the first few hours, but that won’t happen to everyone.

Tragus Piercing Pain – How Much Do They Hurt?

This might make you happy – there aren’t many nerve endings contained in the tragus. Less nerve endings mean less pain for you. There are definitely other piercings out there that will hurt more than this one.

Even though there will be less pain, as with any piercing, you’re still going to feel that needle going in. That pain goes quickly though. Your chief complaint may not be the pain at all. It might be the pressure you feel.

You can tell just by using your fingers to feel your tragus how thick that area is. As it’s so thick, that needle isn’t just going to pierce that area without some force. Your piercer is going to have to use a lot of force to get that needle to go through that thick cartilage.

Therefore, while your piercing shouldn’t be particularly painful, you might be a little on edge by how much pressure is being put on your tragus. Your piercer is going to have to put a little muscle into his effort to get it to go all the way through that hard cartilage.

Still, don’t worry too much about it. The whole thing will go fairly quickly and it should be over before you’ve reached a full-fledged freak out moment.

If there is a silver lining to the pain level of this piercing, it’s that the hollow needle your piercer will use is a lot less painful and more hygienic than if the piercer tried to use a piercing gun.

How Much Does A Tragus Piercing Cost?

If you are on a limited budget and you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to afford a tragus piercing, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Although the procedure requires a lot of pressure on your tragus to get that needle to go through, it doesn’t put nearly that much pressure on your wallet.

A tragus piercing should set you back anywhere from $25 to $50. That isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. If you sacrifice a dinner in a restaurant one night or skip happy hour with your work buddies, you can have money for your piercing in no time.

The cost of a tragus piercing will be higher if you decide you want to splurge on really great, high-quality jewelry. The price for precious metal or a nice stone will definitely be steeper than if you went with a plain stainless steel hoop.

What To Do Before Getting A Tragus Piercing

You really don’t need to do any special kind of preparation before getting your tragus pierced. Your piercer will do all the work. You just have to show up, grit your teeth and get it done.

Although to make everything go a little more smoothly, it would be a good idea to put your hair in a ponytail or bun if you have longer hair. It’ll make it easier for your piercer to keep an eye on your tragus without the nuisance of your hair getting in the way.

You’ll also want to give some thought to the clothes you wear when you get your tragus pierced. It would be a good idea to avoid any tight-fitting tops that have smaller neck holes. If your tragus is sore after the piercing, you won’t want to irritate it further by trying to put a tight shirt over the top of it when you get in your pajamas at the end of the day.

If your clothing pulls on it too much, it can hurt like crazy. Plus, you run the risk of getting any blood from your piercing on your clothes when the fabric rubs against the site as you get undressed. It’s just easier all the way around if you wear loose-fitting clothes or a button-up shirt when your tragus is pierced.

If you’re feeling really motivated, you could wash your bedding the day before you get your tragus pierced. It’s not necessary, but it can be a good idea, especially if it has been a while since you’ve last washed it.

Your pillowcase might have a lot of germs on it. Germs are one of your sworn enemies now that you have a piercing so anything you can do to avoid them, you should do. A simple spin through the washing machine and dryer could help you potentially avoid a tragus infection in that critical first month after your piercing.

Tragus Piercing Aftercare & Cleaning Guide

After you’ve gotten your dream piercing, now you have to take care of it. While no one likes worrying about what they’re putting in or near their new piercing, it’s something you have to think about.

How well you take care of your tragus piercing determines what happens next, so you need to ask yourself – do you want to heal quickly and well or do you want to play Russian roulette with your health?

Hopefully, you’ve decided that spending a few minutes a day on some basic aftercare steps is worth the trouble. If so, all you have to do is mix a quarter teaspoon of sea salt in with a cup of hot water.

After that cocktail is mixed up, you’ll take a cotton ball, douse it with the liquid and hold it against your tragus for a few minutes at a time. You’ll want to press that cotton ball against the front side of your tragus, which is the part you can see when looking in the mirror.

Nevertheless, you should also hold it up against the back part of your tragus – the part that sits inside your ear. When you do that, be careful not to drip the sea salt solution into your ear. You should avoid getting any liquid inside your ear canal.

If you’d prefer not to mess about with making up your own solution, there are many shop-bought alternatives that help to disinfect the piercing and aid speedy healing.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, 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.​

You should do this cleansing ritual two times a day, spaced out as evenly as you can.

When you do your hair for the first month or so after your piercing, try to avoid getting anything on or in the piercing site, other than the sea salt solution/aftercare mixture. If your look isn’t complete without using hair spray, you’re going to have to proceed with caution when applying it.

You’ll have to cover up your tragus piercing when you use it because if that hairspray gets in there, it could be too drying and cause irritation.

When you brush your hair, you’re going to have to pay special attention to what you’re doing. You’re in for a world of pain if the bristles from your hairbrush snag your tragus piercing, especially if you are wearing a small hoop. Depending upon how hard you’re pulling, it may feel like you’re going to rip it out of your ear.

Anti Tragus Piercing

At the end of the day when you head to bed, pay attention to what side you’re sleeping on. You should rest your head on the opposite side of your tragus piercing. It won’t feel as uncomfortable. You’ll be able to rest better, and if you’re sleeping better, your immune system functions better.

A strong immune system will help with the healing process so you’ll feel better faster.

While some friends might recommend that you twist your new piercing in the first couple of days to keep too much crust from forming over the site, you don’t have to do that. It will heal just fine without you turning it and it will probably heal better. You don’t have to fuss with it much at all.

The hardest part for some people about the aftercare for a tragus piercing is that earbuds are off-limits for a while. If you’re into hardcore exercise, that can be a bitter pill to swallow. You’re going to have to do your running, cycling or other workouts without those earbuds in for a month or two.

Don’t give up your workouts in the meantime though. Exercise is good for you and your immune system.

As your piercing heals, you might always want to consider using the speaker function on your phone so you aren’t having to cradle it up to your ear. Phones can be super germy and if you hold it up to your ear, it will be pressed right up to your tragus. That can transfer the germs and bacteria from your phone to your piercing.

You can text or email instead of calling for a few weeks. Or, if you remember to do it, you can hold your phone slightly away from your head when you talk. That way it won’t bump your tragus.

How Long Does A Tragus Piercing Take To Heal?

If you are the most dedicated client to ever walk through your piercer’s door and you follow every instruction they give you, you might be completely healed in two months. Yet that’s an exception to the rule instead of the standard amount of time it takes. Realistically, most people should count on a healing time of 3 to 6 months.

On the other hand, if you view the aftercare requirements as more of a suggestion than a rule, it will probably take much longer. The number one thing that can impact how long it takes to heal is you. You have the power to move things along, and with bad choices, you have the power to stall any healing you might be experiencing.

If you have health issues, that can slow down how fast your body heals from piercings like this. Conditions like diabetes can mean slower wound healing. Before getting a tragus piercing if you have some sort of underlying condition or disease, do yourself a favor and check with your doctor first. They may put the kibosh on your piercing idea.

You’ll also heal much slower if you end up with an allergic reaction or if you’re one of the rare people who has migration with a tragus piercing.

Migration isn’t a high risk with tragus piercings like they are with frenulum piercings. Although, they still can happen, and for that reason, you should try to steer clear of metals that will annoy your piercing and make your body see the jewelry as a threat that has to be cast out.

Until the tragus piercing fully heals, you shouldn’t switch your jewelry. If you see your favorite celebrity wearing awesome jewelry and you’d love to copy that look, you’ll just have to wait a few weeks.

Tragus Piercing Infections

Since tragus piercings involve cartilage, they can be a bit more complicated to treat if they get infected than some other infections are. Avoiding infections is way easier than treating them once they happen. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like watching television instead of doing your twice-daily cleanings with the sea salt mixture.

If you are dead set about avoiding infections, one main rule will help you on your quest. Don’t touch your piercing if you can help it. Even by touching it, you can contaminate it with bacteria that will lead to infection.

Infected Tragus Piercing

Think about how gross people’s fingers are. Just by touching ordinary everyday items like doorknobs, pens and shaking hands with people, you can have germs or bacteria all over yourself, and you won’t even know it since they aren’t visible to the naked eye.

Just because they’re little and invisible, you shouldn’t underestimate their power. They can do a surprising amount of damage to your body and health in a short amount of time.

You really need to take this threat seriously. Anytime you have to touch your piercing, you need to wash your hands first to cut down on the germ and bacteria load.

Sometimes as your piercing begins to heal, it can feel so itchy that you may scratch it without even realizing it. That can happen when you’re sleeping too. If you catch yourself scratching your piercing site in your sleep, it might be time to do something to protect yourself from infection.

You could try wearing mittens to bed to keep those germs off your skin in case you get the urge to scratch. At the very least, make sure you wash your hands well before you go to bed.

If you notice your tragus starting to hurt more than usual and you see it is red and inflamed looking, you should talk to a professional to see if there is an infection. If it is truly infected, you may need to take medicine to wipe it out.

However, before you call your doctor’s office in a state of panic, remember that pain and puffiness are normal in the first week. Seeing that doesn’t mean you automatically have an infection, and if you do believe you have an infection, you must leave your jewelry in. That jewelry is keeping the hole open and letting the infection seep out instead of remaining in the body.

Tragus Piercing Risks

This isn’t a super risky piercing, but it still does have some risks you should be aware of. Any time you have cartilage pierced, you run the risk of a harder-to-treat infection should one develop.

In addition, cartilage piercings can easily form hypertrophic scarring around the piercing site. That’s basically an area of scar tissue that puffs out from the surrounding skin. They aren’t dangerous, but they can be ugly.

Some people are devastated by the appearance of these things. You can do some things at home to help shrink these down, including using your sea salt mixture, but for bigger or more persistent scars, you’ll have to consult a dermatologist.

When your piercer inserts your jewelry, another risk can appear. If the jewelry stud is too tiny, it can cause a huge problem for you. What can happen is all that pressure from the tight, small jewelry can cause your tragus to balloon up.

The pressure will feel awful. It’ll hurt and it can even be really hard to remove the jewelry. In worst-case situations, the jewelry may need to be cut out.

Those are the biggest risks involved with tragus piercings and they are all quite manageable. You’ll be able to avoid them all if you keep up with the aftercare procedures your piercer recommends and if you find a great piercer to do the work.

As long as your piercer really knows what he’s doing and doesn’t try to take shortcuts to save a few dollars, you should be able to avoid the majority of complications.

Tragus Piercing Jewelry

The types of jewelry you can wear in your tragus vary. One of the most popular choices is rings, whether they have beads or they are plain. You can also go with studs. If you really want to call some attention to your tragus, you could opt for a barbell.

Most people tend to use smaller pieces of jewelry on the tragus because larger hoops can easily be in the way when talking on the phone. You don’t want your jewelry to feel like a nuisance.

Since you’ll have to wear the same jewelry until your piercing heals, you should look for a strong and nice-looking metal that will feel comfortable and has a low-risk of instigating an allergic reaction.

Your piercer needs to know about any allergic reactions you’ve had to metals before in your other piercings. He can’t steer you to a better metal choice if you don’t let him know about your history.


Tragus piercings are sported by celebrities, as well as the edgy, younger crowd, and they can be a cool addition to your overall appearance too, although, they probably won’t help much with any migraines you may suffer with.

Considering they are inexpensive and aren’t too painful, they can be a good option for people who want to add a little sass to their look without some of the drawbacks of other types of ear piercings.

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