A Complete Guide to Tragus Piercings

Getting your tragus pierced can be a fun and stylish form of self-expression. But there are important things to understand first about pain, aftercare, jewelry, and more. This guide covers all the key details on tragus piercings.

Fast Facts

Tragus Piercing:

Location: Positioned on the small cartilage flap above the ear canal entrance

Cost: Priced at $30-$40, excluding jewelry expenses

Discomfort: Rated at a 4/10 pain level

Recovery Period: Takes six to 12 months for complete healing

Post-Piercing Care: Cleanse twice daily using a sterile, saline-based solution. Refrain from applying pressure, especially during sleep, until the piercing has fully healed.

What is a Tragus Piercing?

What is a Tragus Piercing

A tragus piercing goes through the tragus, which is the small cartilage nub that projects in front of your ear canal. It sits right above your earlobe. A tragus piercing gives you an edgy look with a small stud or hoop through this area. It’s one of the more trendy ear piercings.

Tragus piercings are less common than lobe or helix piercings. But their unique positioning catches eyes. The tragus also typically heals faster than some other ear cartilage piercings. Overall, tragus piercings offer a way to amplify your style in a subtle yet noticeable way.

The Different Ways to Pierce the Tragus 

The Different Ways to Pierce the Tragus 

There are a few techniques your piercer may use to puncture your tragus:

  • Clamp and needle method: This involves your piercer using a clamp to hold the tragus in place. They then guide a piercing needle through the clamped area. This is the most common and precise technique.
  • Freehand piercing: The piercer pushes the needle through your tragus without a clamp. This takes great skill but allows precision placement.
  • Piercing gun: A piercing gun quickly shoots a stud earring post through your tragus. Guns can’t be sterilized fully so they raise the risk of infection. Most professionals avoid piercing guns for cartilage.

Your piercing technique depends on your anatomy and your piercer’s preference. But needle methods tend to be less traumatic than piercing guns.

Pain and Healing Time

Pain levels vary from person to person for a tragus piercing. On a scale of 1 to 10, most people report the initial piercing pain as a 4 to 6. The tragus has lots of sensitive nerves, so you’ll feel a quick, sharp pinch. But the actual piercing moment takes just a fraction of a second.

Afterward, your tragus may throb and feel sore for a few days. Taking over-the-counter pain medication can help relieve discomfort. The worst swelling and pain typically subsides within a week. Full healing takes 3 to 6 months for a tragus piercing. During that time, you’ll need to clean it daily and avoid touching or sleeping in the area. Healing varies based on:

  • Your natural healing abilities
  • The piercing technique used
  • How well you care for the piercing

With proper aftercare, your tragus piercing should heal with minimal problems. Just be patient – cartilage piercings take longer to heal fully than earlobe piercings.

Cost of a Tragus Piercing  

Cost of a Tragus Piercing  

On average, a tragus piercing costs $30-$80 including the necessary jewelry. Here are some factors that determine the pricing:

  • Jewelry type – More expensive metals and gemstones raise the price.
  • Studio reputation – Renowned piercers often charge more. 
  • Location – Studios in major cities are generally costlier.
  • Package deals – Some places offer discounted packages if you get multiple piercings.

It’s important not to choose a studio based on price alone. Focus on reputation, safety standards, hygiene, and piercer skill. This helps ensure an attractive piercing result and healthy experience.


Caring for a new tragus piercing properly is crucial. Follow these tips during the healing period:

  • Clean the area 1-2 times daily with a saline spray or saltwater soak. This prevents infection.
  • Avoid touching, twisting, or bumping the piercing. This can irritate it and disrupt the healing.
  • Only use clean hands when contacting the piercing, like when cleaning or inspecting it.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to relieve soreness and swelling.
  • Avoid sleeping on the pierced side which can cause irritation and delay healing. 

Proper aftercare allows your tragus piercing to heal smoothly and safely. It also helps the site stay comfortable. Consult your piercer for any concerns during the healing process.

Side Effects of Piercing

Side Effects of Piercing

For most people, tragus piercings heal without issue. But improper piercing or aftercare can cause complications like:

Infection and scarring: Germs entering the piercing site can cause an infected tragus piercing. Signs include pus, swelling, redness, and warmth coming from the area. Seek medical treatment promptly to avoid permanent scarring.

Allergic reactions: Some people are allergic to certain piercing metals. This causes a rash, bumps, or itching around the piercing. Switch to hypoallergenic jewelry if this occurs.

Hypertrophic scarring: Thick, raised scar tissue may form around the piercing. This is minimized by not touching the area and allowing sufficient healing time between jewelry changes.

Blisters: Friction against the jewelry can cause blisters on the tragus. Downsize your earring post after the swelling subsides to prevent this.

See your piercer or doctor about any concerns during the healing process. With the proper aftercare, you can avoid most piercing complications.

How to Change Out a Tragus Piercing 

How to Change Out a Tragus Piercing 

Once your tragus piercing fully heals after 2-4 months, you can safely change the jewelry. Follow these best practices:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the piercing.
  • Use a sterile saline spray to clean the tragus first.
  • Gently insert the new jewelry, being careful not to force it.
  • Avoid using fingers – use pliers with rubber ends to hold the jewelry.
  • Rotate the original piece out first before inserting the replacement.
  • Apply some antibacterial ointment after inserting the new jewelry.

With proper hygiene and care, you can change tragus jewelry once healed without problems. See your piercer for help choosing new styles you’ll love.

What Type of Jewelry Is Used for Tragus Piercing?

The initial tragus jewelry after piercing should have a straight post to allow for swelling. Once healed, you can experiment with different styles. Options include:

Stud: Tragus studs have a simple post with a gem or disc end. These move around less to allow for healing. Studs come in mini sizes after the swelling subsides.

Barbell: Barbells have balls that screw onto either end of the post. These create an edgy industrial look in the tragus. But ensure the balls don’t pinch your ear canal.

Hoops: For fully healed piercings, small captive bead rings add flair. The hoop diameter must be big enough to avoid pressure points. Larger hoops can snag and get pulled on.

Talk to your piercer about the best jewelry shape for your anatomy and style preferences.

What Jewelry Material Is Used for Tragus Piercing?

What Jewelry Material Is Used for Tragus Piercing

The initial tragus jewelry should be implant-grade stainless steel or titanium. Avoid cheap metals that provoke reactions. Once healed, you can wear:

Stainless Steel: High-quality stainless steel contains nickel and is hypoallergenic for most people. This affordable option comes in various colors and finishes.

Gold: 14k and 18k solid gold is safe for sensitive piercings. But it’s pricier than steel. Gold is anti-microbial and suitable for long-term wear.

Platinum: Platinum jewelry is durable, nickel-free, and pure. It’s among the most expensive metals and ideal for those prone to reactions.

Talk to your piercer about finding jewelry in a high-quality material that suits your budget and skin sensitivities.


What do tragus piercings help with?

Tragus piercings don’t serve any specific health or medical benefits. They are primarily used for decorative, aesthetic purposes as a form of self-expression. Some people find them helpful to boost self-confidence.

Can you wear earbuds with a tragus piercing?

Yes, you can wear earbuds with a tragus piercing once it is fully healed. Make sure to clean the jewelry and earbuds regularly to avoid irritation or infection. Avoid over-ear headphones that put pressure on the piercing while it’s healing.

Can you sleep on your side with a tragus piercing?

It’s best to avoid sleeping on the side with a new tragus piercing until it has fully healed, which takes 2-4 months. Too much pressure can irritate it and cause complications. Once healed, you can sleep on that side again while being careful not to snag the jewelry.

Final Thoughts

A tragus piercing provides edgy style to your ear in a relatively subtle way. When done properly by a reputable piercer with attentive aftercare, it can make a fun fashion statement. While the piercing process involves some pain and care is required during healing, tragus piercings offer a way to amplify your look once stabilized. Do your research to find an experienced piercer and take steps to minimize side effects. With the right approach, a tragus piercing can let you express your personal flair.


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