Piercing tragus ear: complete guide

Piercing Tragus: Complete Guide

Interested in a tragus piercing? Want to know if it hurts and how much it costs? Or perhaps you already have a piercing in this area but are dealing with healing issues or cartilage infection?

At Luna, we are passionate about ear piercings and can answer all your questions.

The tragus is a small flap near the cheek that protects the ear canal. Despite its location, a tragus piercing is easy to care for, minimally painful, and costs only between 30 to 60 euros. Jewelry with a thin bar is recommended for this beautiful piercing.

In this article, you'll learn everything about this type of piercing: location, meaning, cost, pain, etc. Additionally, you'll receive tips to accelerate cartilage healing and prepare yourself well before going to the piercer. You'll also be able to choose the best jewelry for your tragus piercing.

Thanks to our experience, you'll become an expert in tragus piercings!

Woman with tragus ear piercing

Where is the Tragus Located?

If you're interested in ear piercings, you might have heard of the tragus piercing. This type of piercing has become increasingly popular due to its discreet, delicate, and unique nature. It's a popular choice for both women and men.

The tragus is located on the surface of the auricle and is formed by a small rounded or triangular flap of cartilage that protects the opening of the ear canal. In some people, the tragus may be too small to accommodate jewelry, while others may get pierced multiple times in this area.

If you don't yet have an ear cartilage piercing, the tragus piercing is an excellent choice. It's minimally painful, heals fairly quickly, is trendy, and affordable. You're sure to love it!

The Anti-Tragus Piercing: A Unique Trend in Its Own Right

The anti-tragus piercing is situated just above the earlobe, opposite the tragus piercing. This part of the cartilage is curved and folded, making it ideal to be adorned with a ring or a bar with two small balls.

Although some people confuse this part with the upper earlobe, it's important to note that the anti-tragus piercing is quite rare. In fact, it's considered painful and can easily get snagged, thus requiring great attention when wearing it.

Nevertheless, despite these drawbacks, the anti-tragus piercing remains a unique trend in its own style. If you decide to adopt it, you'll likely be the only one among your friends to have one, allowing you to showcase an original and daring look.

Anti-tragus piercing

Anti Tragus Piercing Ring

History and Meaning of the Tragus Piercing

The tragus piercing dates back to the 20th century, but the art of piercing has much older origins, tracing back several millennia in Africa or Asia. In those times, earrings were considered magical and were used to ward off spirits.

Meaning of the Tragus Piercing

The word "tragus" comes from the Greek "tragos," which means "goat." Some believe that the name of the tragus piercing is related to ear hairs that grow in older people, resembling a goat's beard, while others think it comes from its triangular shape.

Today, the meaning of a tragus piercing may be tied to the need for distinction, self-affirmation, or as a rite of passage into adulthood. This piercing can divide opinions but can also bring people together. In addition to being very popular, the tragus piercing allows teenagers to assert themselves and feel significant in society while sporting a discreet piercing in the cartilage.

History and Origins of Piercing

Ear piercing goes back to an ancient time when it was used as decorative jewelry, but also as an accessory with magical and spiritual powers capable of curing diseases and warding off spirits. The oldest earrings were found in Mongolia and date back over 7,000 years. Piercing was also very common in Greece, Rome, and ancient Egypt, where it was considered a symbol of wealth.

The tragus piercing has gained popularity in recent years but likely arrived in Europe towards the end of the 20th century under the influence of American hippie and punk culture. The famous fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier is also said to have contributed to its rediscovery in France. However, the tragus piercing is just beginning to gain acceptance in the West.

Rihanna with Tragus Ear Piercing

Pain of the Tragus Piercing: Everything You Need to Know

The tragus piercing is a popular choice for an ear piercing due to its discreet and fashionable appearance. However, you may be concerned about the pain associated with the piercing. Here's everything you need to know about the pain of the tragus piercing and how to prepare for the experience.

Does the Tragus Piercing Hurt?

The pain from a piercing depends on various factors, such as personal pain tolerance, expectations for the experience, and the level of confidence. If you are very stressed, you might feel more pain.

Generally, the tragus piercing is mildly painful, but less so than cartilage piercings. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, the pain is about a 4/10. The tragus is relatively flexible and does not have many nerve endings, which accounts for the low level of pain experienced.

The pain from the tragus piercing can be divided into three phases:

  • The first phase is acute and intense but only lasts a few seconds or minutes. It feels like a pinch.
  • The second phase is dull and may last several hours but fades quickly.
  • The final phase is characterized by sensitivity, redness, and swelling of the piercing for a few days or weeks.

How Can You Prepare for the Tragus Piercing?

Before getting the piercing, make sure you've had a good sleep and are hydrated. Also avoid alcohol and drugs before the piercing, as this can increase pain and bleeding risks.

Moreover, choose a professional and experienced piercer who uses sterilized, high-quality equipment. It's also important to discuss any health issues or particular sensitivities you might have with your piercer.

Lastly, once you get the piercing, follow the aftercare instructions from your piercer to prevent infections and promote quick healing.

The tragus piercing is generally not very painful, but it depends on your pain tolerance and how you prepare for the experience. By choosing a qualified piercer and following aftercare instructions, you can enjoy your new piercing without unnecessary suffering.

How to Prepare to Reduce Tragus Piercing Pain

The tragus piercing is a popular choice for an ear piercing due to its discreet and fashionable look. However, if you're apprehensive about the pain, here are some simple tips to prepare mentally and physically.

  • Control your breathing by breathing through your abdomen, meditate a few hours before to lower your stress levels, repeat positive affirmations, and visualize your future tragus piercing. Speak to your piercer for reassuring tips. You can also distract yourself by talking to a friend or listening to music.
  • Prepare your body by eating a balanced meal, hydrating, and getting enough sleep so that your body is ready to heal. This will reduce pain and risks of dizziness during and after the tragus piercing.
  • If you wish, you can use a numbing cream to reduce the pain before the procedure, but don't use pain medication!
  • It is also recommended to avoid using piercing guns and to prefer the use of a needle by a professional piercer. The needle acts like a scalpel and is less painful, whereas a gun tears the cartilage, which could damage your tragus.

By following these simple tips, you can better prepare for your tragus piercing and minimize the pain associated with the experience. Don't forget to speak with your piercer about any health issues or particular sensitivities you might have and to follow their aftercare instructions for a quick and painless healing.

Meditation before getting a tragus piercing

Jackie Stewart

The Importance of Getting Your Piercing Done by a Professional Piercer

The safest and most recommended option for getting a tragus piercing is to consult with a professional and experienced piercer. The piercer is accustomed to ear piercing and has the necessary materials to ensure hygiene and prevent any kind of contamination. They use single-use sterilized tools and wear protective gear.

If you've never had a piercing before, here are the different stages of the tragus piercing process:

  1. The piercer cleans the area to be pierced.

  2. Places a small piece of cork behind the ear, near the ear canal.

  3. Pierces the ear with a curved needle for the tragus piercing and places the jewelry.

  4. You may hear a 'snap' as the needle goes through, as the piercing is close to the auditory canal.

  5. The piercer cleans the wound and proceeds to the next piercings.

  6. Once everything has gone well, the piercer gives you instructions for wound care and lets you go.

It's important to note that your tragus might be too small for the piercing to be possible. Therefore, it's recommended to contact a piercer in advance to assess the feasibility of the piercing.

Tragus Piercing Care and Healing Tips

Our body is an extraordinary machine that quickly reacts to close a hole when we get an ear piercing. This prevents complications like infections and scarring.

In general, the healing of a tragus piercing is quite fast, unlike a piercing done with a gun that tears tissues and damages the cartilage. The needle used for the tragus piercing gently pierces the ear, creating a clean, straight, and symmetrical hole.

The healing of the tragus piercing usually takes between 4 to 8 months, an average time for a cartilage piercing. This area is well-protected from knocks and snags as it is located at the center of the ear and is small in size. Also, it is well-irrigated with blood compared to the rest of the cartilage.

The healing of a tragus piercing takes place in three distinct phases:

  1. Inflammation and exudation: The wound exudes a clear fluid, often it is red, swollen, and sensitive. This phase lasts from 7 to 15 days.

  2. Irritation and granulation: The exuded fluid turns yellowish and solidifies to form a tunnel within the hole. This phase lasts several months.

  3. Healing: The piercing no longer hurts, the scabs fall off, and the hole is healed.

It's important to note that these different phases can vary if you decide to get a surface piercing on the tragus. This type of piercing is more problematic as the risk of rejection is quite high.

Tips for Changing Your Piercing and Cartilage Healing

When to Change Your Tragus Piercing?

Once your tragus piercing is fully healed, approximately 3 or 4 months after the piercing, you may consider changing your jewelry. To make sure your tragus piercing is well-healed, check that your ear is not red or swollen, that the hole is of normal color, that there is no pain, and that there is no clear or yellowish fluid escaping from the wound. If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult your piercer, who can advise you and assess the healing of your piercing. It's important not to change your piercing before your tragus is fully healed. If you are very impatient, your piercer may eventually make the change after 2 months. In that case, they will place a similar but more elegant and modern piece of jewelry to strengthen the consolidation of your hole.

How to Heal Your Tragus?

The healing process of a tragus piercing can be lengthy, but there are tricks to optimize cartilage healing and heal faster. It is important to follow these tips:

  • Avoid touching your piercing, especially with dirty hands.

  • Avoid bathing, applying makeup, using shampoo, and other chemical products that may irritate the piercing.

  • Avoid sports, especially contact sports and water sports, during the initial weeks.

  • Be careful with snags, such as earphones, hair, the phone, and clothing.

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating well, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.

  • Sleep with a band and avoid lying on the piercing. Change the sheets regularly.

It's also important to follow a care routine to disinfect the tragus piercing. Here are the recommended steps:

  • Wash your hands with soap and dry them properly.

  • Pour a little saline solution or neutral pH antibacterial soap onto a clean cloth.

  • Gently dab your tragus piercing and move it slightly. Remove dirt and residue with the cloth.

  • Never use cotton (kitchen paper, cotton swab, towel...).

  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

  • Make sure your jewelry is well-fitted (but not too tight). You can use an antiseptic solution for the first 15 days to give your ear a boost.

This care routine should be carried out in the morning and evening for the first 15 days, and then only in the evening until your tragus piercing has fully healed. By regularly cleaning the piercing and removing dead cells, bacteria, and secretions, you are promoting your body's natural healing process

tragus piercing care

Complications and Infections

Swelling of the tragus is not always indicative of infection. In fact, the infection is often mild and occurs when bacteria and debris enter an open wound. How can you identify and treat this infection?

How to Treat an Infected Piercing?

If you notice that your tragus piercing is infected and the symptoms worsen rapidly, such as severe pain, a significant amount of pus, and fever, it is recommended to consult a doctor promptly. They will prescribe antibiotics and advise you to rest.

However, if your infection is mild (90% of cases), you can follow these tips to treat your infected tragus piercing:

  • Increase the frequency of your care to twice a day;
  • Use a disinfectant during the first week;
  • Apply cold to relieve swelling;
  • Avoid touching your piercing;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them before touching your ear;
  • Avoid damp and bacteria-prone environments (swimming pools, seas, etc.);
  • Pay attention to snags;
  • Never remove the piercing, as the hole could close up with the infection inside.

How to Recognize an Infection in the Tragus?

An infection can occur when harmful microorganisms penetrate the body. In this case, our immune system reacts rapidly by sending antibodies to fight the bacteria. Minor infections of tragus piercings are quite common because it is located at the entrance of the ear canal.

If your tragus piercing is infected, you may present the following symptoms:

  • Pain: make sure you have not engaged in sports or snagged your ear;
  • Swelling: you can reduce the swelling with cold;
  • Redness;
  • Significant discharge of yellowish pus;
  • Wound emitting an unpleasant odor;
  • Bleeding;
  • Fever.

If you experience at least four of these signs from one day to the next and the symptoms do not rapidly disappear, it is likely that your tragus piercing is infected. The causes can be multiple, such as non-sterile equipment (typically an unsterilized piercing gun), non-hypoallergenic jewelry, sports activities, swimming, or improper care. If your piercing is new or has snagged, it could simply be irritation or inflammation.

Hypertrophic Scars and Keloids

A keloid is a benign tumor that forms during the scarring phase and appears as an unsightly flesh ball at the piercing site.

Keloids can be caused by improper care, overly tight jewelry, snags, or the use of a piercing gun. The latter is the primary cause of keloids in the cartilage as it tears the ear tissues and deforms their structure.

Fortunately, you can prevent the appearance of these balls by following our advice and consulting an experienced piercer. If you have already developed a keloid, consult a doctor who will refer you to a specialist for appropriate care.

Tragus Piercing Prices

The tragus piercing is very popular, and its average price ranges between 40 and 60 euros. However, it is important to note that this type of piercing requires significant experience and skill due to the thickness of the cartilage in this area. The cost of the piercing includes the piercing procedure, the use of a sterilized needle, and hypoallergenic, discreet titanium jewelry. In addition, the piercer will provide advice on the necessary care for optimal recovery, as well as follow-up services in case of complications or concerns.

It is important not to trust the advantageous prices offered by jewelry stores for tragus piercing. The materials used may be of poor quality, and the staff may not have received proper training. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a professional piercer for a quality tragus piercing. Keep in mind that rates may vary based on the piercer's experience, the salon's reputation, and the material used, especially in large cities where prices can be higher than average.

Gun or Needle for a Tragus Piercing?

When it comes to choosing between a gun or a needle for a tragus piercing, it is important to consider several factors. First, it is necessary to understand the difference between the two methods.

A piercing gun is a tool that forces jewelry through the skin using a spring mechanism. It is often used for ear piercings in jewelry stores and beauty salons. On the other hand, a piercing needle is a hollow needle that delicately pierces the skin and smoothly inserts jewelry. This method is commonly used by professional piercers.

Regarding tragus piercing, it is generally recommended to use a needle rather than a gun. The cartilage in this area is thicker than in the earlobes, making it harder to pierce with a gun. Additionally, the use of a gun can damage surrounding tissues and cause more pain. The needle, on the other hand, is more precise and allows for faster and less painful healing.

It is important to choose a professional piercer who uses a high-quality sterile needle to minimize the risk of infection. Although a gun may seem quicker and more convenient, it is better to opt for the needle for a safer and more effective tragus piercing.

Tragus Piercing Process

Piercing tragus 

What Materials and Jewelry Are Suitable for the Tragus?

You've probably decided to get a tragus piercing because you find it attractive. So do we! But it's easy to make a style mistake... how do you choose the right jewelry?

What Materials to Use?

To maintain good ear health, it's important to choose materials that are compatible with your body. Many metals such as zinc, copper, and nickel are highly allergenic and are rejected by many people.

For your tragus piercing, the following options are recommended:

  • Titanium ASTM-F136: A hypoallergenic metal, affordable and well-tolerated by the body.
  • Stainless Steel or Surgical Steel ASTM-F138: An affordable material commonly used in ear jewelry.
  • 14k or 18k Gold: A durable but relatively expensive metal, available in rose, yellow, or white gold.

It's also important to choose your jewelry color based on your skin tone. Light skin tones go well with silver, while darker skin tones harmonize better with gold. If you're tanned, you have many options!

The Best Jewelry for the Tragus

For your tragus piercing, you can get creative and choose between a hoop and a stud (labret or straight barbell). Since it is located in a visible part of the ear, it's not as discreet as it seems. To offset this, you can opt for a small labret (6 to 8 mm in length) with a screw-on head. For the stud head, the options are endless: moon, star, heart, flower, small ball, with or without rhinestones—especially small cubic zirconia-set gems.

But if you like slightly more flashy jewelry and already have studs in the helix and the lobe, a hoop piercing for the tragus is another option. Choose a 6 mm diameter. Simple and stunning!

How to Remove an Ear Piercing?

You have two options:

  1. If it's a labret (or stud), unscrew the head and gently pull the bar to slide out the rest of the piercing.
  2. If it's a thin hoop, unhook it and pull both sides to get it out of the hole. Don't hesitate to ask a friend or your piercer for help.

Ideas and Inspiration:

The tragus piercing adds a bold, rocker touch to your ear compositions. It's no wonder it's worn by singers like Rihanna, Pink, or Miley Cyrus! Fairly discreet, it pairs perfectly with the conch and the helix.

Tragus Piercing for Men

In Europe, ear piercings have long been seen as a symbol of femininity and are frowned upon by most people. That's why the tragus piercing is less common in men.

However, don't despair! The world is evolving, and if you or any of your friends are keen on a tragus piercing, don't hesitate to go for it!

Men with Tragus Piercings


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