Tragus Piercing: Pain, Side Effects, Healing, & Aftercare

Tragus Piercing Guide

Ear piercings are easily one of the most popular things across several social media platforms these days. Getting any type of ear piercing is one of the ways to appear cool and edgy and it is getting so much attention, so many people want to get an extra ear piercing and need adequate information on the risks, advantages, and the overall process.

It is so much safer to get piercings these days because we have salons scattered across that have licensed professional piercers available, they make sure to put your health first, walk you through your aftercare process depending on which piercing you decide to get, and you can always contact them if you encounter any complications and they would give you advice or treatment where necessary.

Makes your decision to get a piercing easier now right?

There are a lot of areas on the ears where you can get a piercing, ear piercing types include; Daith piercing, helix piercing, conch piercing, rook piercing, tragus piercing, orbital piercing, cartilage piercing, forward helix piercing, snug piercing, transverse lobe piercing, industrial piercing, anti-tragus piercing, and ear lobe piercing.

Amongst these, the tragic piercing will be discussed in an attempt to satisfy your curiosity and maybe influence your decision to take one for the team and get it.

What Is A Tragus Piercing?

The Tragus is a rounded triangle-shaped part of the outer ear, it is thick, pointed, fleshy, and located at the entrance of the ear.  The size and shape of a tragus are different in people. The tragus is the part of the ear that helps in directing sounds to the inner ear, it also acts as a protective covering for the ear canal.

In the simplest terms, a tragus piercing is one where a piercing is made on the tragus area of the ears. The tragus is also known as a cartilage piercing because asides from the thickness and fleshy nature of the tragus, it also has cartilage located under the flesh.

A tragus piercing is hard to miss because of its location on the ear, adorning it with jewelry gives off a unique and beautiful look, and would also attract attention to it. There are three types of tragus piercings, vertical tragus piercing, surface tragus piercing, and double tragus piercing.

The tragus piercing has an impressive range of jewelry types that can be used to adorn it. These jewelry types include;

1. Captive Bead Rings

A captive bead ring is a jewelry for piercings that contains a hoop and a captive bead that is used to either remove or insert the jewelry into a piercing, it can also be known as a ball closure ring (BCR). A captive bead ring is usually really tricky to open because once closed it stays on tightly.

You would need sterile ring opening pliers and ring-closing pliers to take the captive bead out and to put it back in after passing it carefully through your tragus piercing. Make sure you do not force the captive bead in or out to avoid injuring yourself, if you are not sure you can safely fit it in on your own, you can find a piercer to fix it for you especially if your piercing is not healed yet.

Captive bead piercings come in several intriguing designs that make them a great choice. They come in various colors, shapes, adorned with jewels and charms.

2. Barbells

Barbells are another lovely choice of jewelry for a tragus piercing. They are designed to resemble exercise barbells, they are straight with a bead on each end. Barbells could also come in horseshoe, curved or circular shapes, they do not always come straight. They can also have drooping charms and are a fine fit for tragus piercings.

3. Labret Studs

Labret studs are the most popular studs used on different piercings, they are made to fit any piercing type and are a favorite of many. It is a very versatile jewelry type, because of how comfortable they are and how easy to fix they are as well.

A labret stud is straight with a flat disc at one end and any jewelry choice at the other end, this could be a bead, spike, or charm. The flat end is very sleek and rests behind the tragus without rubbing the skin uncomfortably.

4. Micro-dermal jewelry

The unique location of a tragus piercing makes micro dermal jewelry a suitable and advisable jewelry option. Micro dermal jewelry is also referred to as single point piercings, this is because they only penetrate the skin once.

The jewelry is screwed into place and does not need a bear or any type of stopper at the other end. For tragus piercings, the micro dermal jewelry is placed beside the tragus, it could take the form of a gemstone, bead, charms, or any other design that suits your taste.

Having made your pick amongst these jewelry types, the metal makeup will also play a huge part in how your piercing turns out. On this note, It is best to use jewelry that contains titanium, surgical stainless steel, solid 14-karat gold, or niobium to avoid infection or irritations.

What is Surface Tragus Piercing?

What is Surface Tragus Piercing?
llSource: propperl

Surface tragus piercing is done in the same area as the tragus piercing but in the case of surface tragus piercing, it passes through no cartilage and which is why it is classified as surface tragus piercing. A more basic explanation will be that surface tragus piercing punctures through the skin and not the cartilage like the tragus piercing.

Tragus piercing is considered a lot more painful than surface piercing and this is due to the pressure applied when piercing through the cartilage. Surface tragus piercing is considered temporary however it should last 5 to 7 years.

Surface tragus piercing is not all that different from tragus piercing and as the name implies, it means the skin surface is pierced. This type of piercing is also believed to help in treating some conditions like migraine, depression and anxiety.

How Is A Tragus Piercing Done?

The ideal first step for every piercing is to find your piercer, it is not advisable to don’t by yourself, piercings are like an open wound, it would turn out more difficult than you think especially since tragus piercings are not done with piercing guns that would make it swift and easy to attempt by oneself.

You would need to find a licensed piercer, for your safety and a complication-free process, this is highly advised.

YouTube video

Tragus piercings can either be done by piercing the needle from the outside in or inside out depending on which technique your piercer deems fit. Having properly disinfected the tragus area as well as the needle and gloves that will be made use of, the part of the tragus that will be pierced should be marked by the piercer.

It has to be a piercing needle because a piercing gun cannot be properly sterilized for the process, a piercing gun can also result in blunt force trauma to your ear as it pierces through, all of these leave you with a needle as your best and safest bet.

While paying the required attention to the previously marked spot, the piercer can protect the other end of your tragus with a barrier of their choice so that the needle does not poke your ear canal and cause an injury. With this safety precaution in motion, the piercer can now pass the needle through the tragus and insert the jewelry of your choice immediately.

How Bad Does A Tragus Piercing Hurt?

One of the things you’re likely to worry about when you think of getting any piercing is how much it will hurt. It will hurt, of course, the real question is how much? Will it be bearable or not? These differ from piercing to piercing as well as from person to person. However, for a tragus piercing, despite what you have in mind, this piercing does not hurt as much as one would expect.

Being a cartilage piercing, it has fewer nerve endings than other parts of the ear, which means it hurts far less than other piercings on the ear such as a lobe piercing. It’s important to note that a tragus piercing would require more pressure while being pierced because of how thick it is with the presence of cartilage, this still does not mean that it hurts a lot.

You’ll feel the pressure during the piercing and also hear the needle pop when it goes through the tragus but this extra pressure would only cause a sting, not heighten the pain you feel afterward.

Pain threshold varies for different people and what may just be a sting for one person might be a lingering pain for another person, but on a general scale tragus piercings are not unbearable, they hurt less than most ear piercings as well as other body piercings.

An experienced and patient piercer would no doubt make the process easier to undergo and minimize the pain for people that might be nervous prior to the piercing.

How Long Does A Tragus Piercing Take To Heal?

Identifying as a cartilage piercing, a tragus piercing would take longer to heal than most ear piercings. The Tragus should normally take three to six months to heal like other cartilage piercings, but in some situations, it could take as long as a year to completely heal. Follow your aftercare procedures to the letter to avoid complications that would increase the healing process, the cartilage is very sensitive during the healing process.

The inside of a tragus takes longer to heal, be careful not to begin fondling with your piercing or slack in following your aftercare procedures after the outside seems to have healed. You can get your piercer to examine it to know if it has fully healed, or get medical advice from licensed personnel if any complications arise.

How well your piercing was done might also influence how long it would take for your piercing to completely heal.

If your piercing was done by an inexperienced piercer or with a piercing gun, an infection, irritation, or a situation where the spot was missed would make the healing process slower and uncomfortable. While, in a situation where a sterile needle was used instead, and an experienced piercer had the piercing done, the healing process is less likely to exceed its normal time frame.

Tragus piercing guide
Image: MPardue // Wikimedia commons.

How To Clean A Tragus Piercing?

The least fun part of getting a piercing is having to nurse it till it heals, but nothing this trendy comes easy, and it’s not a chore because it gets easier as it gradually heals, it’s even easier to adhere to when it’s not your first piercing. If it is your first piercing, make sure you ask your piercer for products or tips that would help you care for your piercing until it completely heals.

1. Santize

You must sanitize your hand and anything that makes contact with your piercing must be properly cleaned to avoid bacterial infections. A saline solution or a mixture of sea salt and water are your cleaning agents when it comes to piercings including the tragus piercing. You can use a cotton swab to gently dab your piercing and repeat this action two to three times daily to keep bacterial infections and irritations at bay.

2. No Contacts

Avoid unnecessary contact with your jewelry, this may destroy the tissue gradually growing to replace the once lost during the piercing. It might be tempting, but you would have plenty of opportunities to fiddle with your jewelry if you can patiently avoid doing so while it is still healing.

3. Careful With The Materials

Use unscented lotions, soaps, powders, and creams around your piercing to avoid triggering irritations or reactions while it is still healing. If possible, your saltwater or saline solution should be the only thing making contact with your piercing during the aftercare and healing process for health and safety reasons.

If you feel crusts forming around your piercing, don’t attempt peeling them or pulling them out that would only make things worse. Instead, soak a clean paper towel in your saline solution or walk water, hold it against the piercing so it seeps through and dissolves the crusts forming, you can repeat the process until all the crust around your piercing has successfully been dissolved so that they are no longer a form of discomfort or disturbance.

Where necessary, your piercer might recommend an antibacterial cream that you can dilute with water and apply to your piercing.

With these in place, the most important thing to note is to avoid contact with bacteria at all costs, you have a make a conscious effort to constantly wash and sanitize your hands and your environment, you have to change your pillowcases and bedspreads often, and avoid resting on your tragus piercing while asleep, all in a bid to avoid complications that would stretch out the healing process.

Stay away from activities where you would have to immerse your piercing in a body of water, there might be harmful bacteria in it and it would put you at risk of contracting an infection. You also have to leave your jewelry in until your piercing has healed fully, even after it has healed it is advisable to let your piercer make the first jewelry change.

Why Get A Tragus Piercing?

When getting a piercing, what we tend to consider first and foremost is how good it would turn out on us. That’s a valid concern and in the case of a tragus piercing, you can check that box right away because it would look great, asides the appearance, a tragus piercing has other advantages which are mentioned below;

1. Tragus Piercings Can Soothe Migraines Or Headaches

It is believed by several persons that tragic piercings are instrumental in soothing migraines or headaches. This belief is backed up by acupuncturists who believe that the tragus houses a pressure point that when pierced can stimulate the nerves to communicate with the part of the brain that is known to reduce the pain felt from migraines and headaches.

These theories are yet to be scientifically proven but several believe them and have gotten tragus piercings in beliefs that it would soothe the severe pain that accompanies migraines or constant headaches they may be experiencing.

2.  There is an endless selection of jewelry types to choose from


Having a wide range of jewelry options for your tragus piercing is like getting to play dress-up with your favorite clothing options. You can switch between studs, charm rings, beaded earrings, and even get customized jewelry when you deem it fit. That makes the decision to get a tragus piercing exciting to go through with, it’s worth it after all.

3. They are suitable for and popular amongst both genders

We have so many body piercings that are being done these days, some may be gender fluid and others might only appeal to a particular gender. However, a tragus piercing is one of the piercings both genders see comfortable getting without hesitation. It is a neutral yet attractive piercing choice that you can define with the jewelry type you choose.

4. Tragus piercings are easy to hide

A piercing that you can conceal and reveal whenever you please is complete bliss to several persons. Luckily, a tragus piercing falls in that category, it can easily go incognito when hidden behind a hat, braids, scarf, or wig. If you need a piercing you can hide for either professional or personal reasons, you might want to consider getting a tragus piercing, they are a great and enjoyable option.

Tragus Piercing Cons

Even piercings as cool as a tragus piercing have their cons, this allows you to put all your cards on your table for your decision-making process. Explained below are the disadvantages of getting a tragus piercing;

1. Tragus Piercings Have a Longer Healing Process

A tragus piercing has one of the longest healing durations especially when complications are encountered during the healing process. The regular three to six months healing time is already a stretch from how long other piercings would take to heal, but having to wait as long as a year to be fully healed is no doubt a long time.

As a cartilage piercing, the lack of nerve endings and reduced blood flow in the area of the tragus slows down the healing process a lot.

2. A Tragus Piercing Is Not Suitable For Everyone

People’s ears are shaped differently and this may affect their decision to get a tragus piercing. In a situation where a person’s tragus is thinner than usual, it may be unable to support most jewelry types used for a tragus piercing thereby largely limiting the options available to the said persons. It is possible to settle for a surface tragus piercing to remedy this problem.

3. The Location Of Tragus Piercings Calls For Constant Care

A tragus piercing is located outside the ear, when not purposely concealed this part of the ear is visible and draws attention to your piercing. The early stages of healing might be accompanied by a lot of crusts, some redness and it might look somewhat unpleasant.

To make it look better and to avoid bacteria creeping into the ear canal or piercing, one would have to clean it more often than is required of other ear piercings.

Tragus Piercing Location Guide

This is also because dirt or bacteria can easily match on to the tragus because of its location, for an unproblematic healing process you would have to pay more attention to it and clean it up often to avoid it appearing dirty when you go out.

Tragus Piercing FAQs

What Are The Risks Involved In Getting A Tragus Piercing?

Just like every piercing, there is a risk of getting a bacterial infection if it is not properly cared for while it heals. Some persons may get bumps as allergic reactions to the piercing, others may even experience rejection and would have to take out the jewelry and allow the piercing close up instead, there could also be redness and soreness experienced from using low-quality jewelry.

Does A Tragus Piercing Really Help You Lose Weight?

For some reason, some people believe and propagate a theory that tragus piercings can help with weight loss. This is false and has no scientific backup that proves it, tragus piercings are not a weight loss chest code of some sort. If you are getting one in the hopes of losing weight, you would end up disappointed.

What Hurts More, Tragus or Helix?

The tragus and helix piercings are both cartilage piercings and do not hurt a lot in comparison to other ear piercings. However, a helix piercing hurts less than a tragus piercing because it is thicker and smaller and the pressure from the piercing is sure to sting more than is the case for a helix piercing.

Can You Wear Airpods With Tragus Piercing?

As long as your tragus piercing is completely healed, it is safe and not an issue go to use AirPods, earbuds, or earphones with them. However, while your tragus piercing is still healing, using your airports is an invitation for bacterial infections and would push your jewelry around and cause itching or swelling.

Do Tragus Piercings Get Infected Easily?

Tragus piercings happen to be very fragile during the healing phase and are easily prone to bacterial infections. They can easily contract infections and complicate your healing process, but as long as they are properly cleaned and cared for they will heal just fine.

Should You Twist A Tragus Piercing?

Even if you want to on impulse, resist the urge to twist your tragus piercing while it is still healing. You should avoid playing with your jewelry while your tragus piercing heals to avoid causing an injury or tear in your piercing.


Just like several other ear piercings, a tragus piercing is an interesting and impressive piercing choice for anyone looking to get an ear piercing. These piercings stick out and are unique because of their location and the interesting jewelry choices that make them even more desirable.

Being located on the cartilage, they have the downside of healing slowly and needing extra care to rebuild the lost tissues that parted way for the new piercing. Despite this, they are gender fluid, bold statements, and easy to conceal whenever the need arises.

More on body piercing:

Related Posts