Tragus Piercing – Pain, Infection Risks, Healing Time, Cost, Jewelry Types

Tragus piercing is perforation of the tragus, a small pointed elevation; located in front of the concha of the ear. This puncture is made for wearing fancy jewelry of different types. This protuberated cartilage is located outside the ear canal which makes it one of the suitable spots for ear piercing. This is not possible for all. In some people the tragus may be so small, that it is difficult or even almost impossible to pierce. The puncture in tragus is done using a small hollow needle which is specifically used of piercing.  

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Types of Tragus Piercing

Though ear piercing types are quite a few, there are only two types of tragus piercing, both of which are associated with perforation of the tragi part of the ear. The conventional type is the one that we already know about.  The second type of tragus piercing is called anti-tragus piercing. This is associated with the anti-tragi part of the ear. This is another small protuberated cartilage just opposite to the tragus. Anti-tragus is located at the inner edge between earlobe and anti-helix and points anteriorly.

Is it painful?

While creating a puncture in the ear, the piercer claps your ear. He then thrusts the curved needle through your tragus. Some people believe that pain is merely in imagination and to support this theory, they say it is because of fewer nerves in the area. There is no region in the body that can bear puncture without pain. The fact is that pain experienced due to perforation of tragus is extremely intense; however, it is present for a brief period. This pain is experienced because the cartilage is thicker and the piercer pushes the needle hard through it. In a way it can be said that it also depends on the piercer who does the job for you. Some people explain that the pain is comparable with pain experienced during ear-lobe piercing. Remember that tragus piercing pain is not excruciating; though it is intense it is bearable.        

Jewelry types for tragus piercing

There is a wide range of options of jewelry for pierced tragus. Conventional starter jewelry for freshly pierced tragi would be 14 or 16 gauge micro curved barbell earning or CBR. It is believed that most people with pierced tragus prefer CBR than barbell earning. Some other suitable options may include 

  • Rings:

Rings are amongst the most common and conventional choices for tragus piercing. You can choose from a range of rings for your ear. These may include smooth segment rings, beaded rings, circular barbell rings and many more. Beaded rings are often adopted by women as it suits them better and looks more fashionable. Ball closure earrings are also available and are preferred for their simply attractive look.  

  • Studs:

Stud is another option you can opt for if you like a sophisticated look. These ear adornments add stylishness to your persona. Studs are extremely suitable for those who want to look fashionable but at the same time maintain their professionalism. One reason why these studs are used is because they do not block the ear canal. These studs come in various forms and design providing you a spectrum of options to choose from. 

  • Barbells:    

Barbell is an eye-catchy piece of jewelry which is suitable for pierced tragus. These barbell earrings are highly suitable for those who want to portray their wild side. These are highly exotic adornments which are available in different patterns. One of the highly preferred design for these barbell earing is circular arrow barbell earing. However, using complicated barbell initially is not suggested. You should use such sophisticated designs only after the puncture is completely healed. 


Most people who desire to get their tragus pierced wonder about the cost of the procedure. Tragus piercing cost greatly depends and varies according to the location. Other decisive factor for the tragus piercing cost is the person performing the procedure and the kind of jewelry used. For example if you live in United States, the average tragus piercing price may range from $30 to $45 depending on the location. In Europe average cost of the procedure is around €30 to €40. There are some piercing studios that may charge extra depending on the jewelry required. 

Tragus piercing infection

One of the most common difficulties of tragus piercing is affliction of infection. The risk of getting affected with an infection is high as the tragus is exposed and small. There are various symptoms or signs that may indicate the occurrence of infection. These symptoms are as follow: 

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  • Swelling and pain for a few days is common and may ebb away in a week’s time. However, if these symptoms persists for over a week or two, then this is an anomaly which may indicate underlying infection. 
  • Redness and inflammation of the punctured area also indicates prevalence of infection. Intense pain may also be felt due along with these signs. 
  • Appearance of pustules adjacent or on the punctured area is a common indication of infection. There may be bumps filled with liquid in the back of the front of the tragus. 
  • In severe situation of infection some individuals may also experience foul greenish or yellowish discharge with bad odor from the pierced region. 

Infection often is not spontaneous but may occur due to several other factors. For example inappropriate aftercare makes you more susceptible to infection. It is important to clean the puncture at least two to three times in a day. Negligence of this practice may also lead to infection. In contrary to this, even extreme care (particularly too frequent cleaning) may also increase risk of infection. 

Another factor that can increase your chances of infection is unprofessional piercing with unskilled hands. If the procedure is done by a novice  who does not practice proper hygiene, the likelihood of infection increases significantly. One should also ensure to select good quality and suitable jewelry. If a person selects a low quality jewelry or something that is not suitable for fresh punctures the risks of infection increases. On should choose good quality non-corrosive metals, at least initially. The opted jewelry should not be tight and be comfortable as discomfort may cause irritation and delayed healing

Healing Time

There is no set time in which tragus piercing would certainly heal. The time needed for the perforation to heal may vary significantly. For some individuals it takes around 2 months while for other it may take even 6 months. However, the average healing time needed for tragus puncture to be cured is 2 months to 4 months. It will also significantly depend on the aftercare techniques. For example, in eastern regions it is believed that applying warmed coconut oil in tragus puncture speeds-up the healing process. However, it is better to consult a doctor who will suggest assured way to heal the perforation. Even if you experience any infection with tragus piercing approaching a doctor is the best option you may have. 

Though it takes 6 month for the puncture to be considerably healed some people say that it may take around 8 to 9 months for pain or sensation to cease. Irrespective of how long your puncture takes to heal, you should follow proper aftercare methods as it does not only avoids infection but may also speed up your healing process.

Tragus Piercing Pictures (Steps)

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    • Definitely not! Guns are very bad to pierce with in the first place, let alone on such thick cartilage. Some people who choose to pierce the helix with guns can shatter their cartilage because of the gun. I STRONGLY recommend getting pierced by a professional who does NOT use a gun.

    • You don’t want it done by a gun. Piercing guns are unsanitary, as there is no way to clean all of their parts properly. Besides, a gun can potentially shatter the cartilage. I just got my tragus done at a tattoo parlor by a professional and he used a curved needle. It stung for a second and then burned for a few minutes. Two hours later pain is gone and I can’t even feel that I have it.

    • I had mine done by gun and the stud was so tight that it ended up swelling over the backing. I got it redone after 4 years with a needle and a barbell. So much better! As for the pain level… It was about the same. If you are thinking about doing it, go with the needle. It looks scary but its done and over in a few seconds. Good luck!

    • I don’t believe it can be done with a gun. At least it shouldn’t be attempted. Piercing guns are actually more harmful and traumatic than needle piercing because of the abrupt squeezing the do, they irritate the fresh puncture. Plus, the cartilage in the tragus is quite thick and it take a good amount of oomph to push the needle through, let alone a piercing gun. Also, the size of the needle is larger than piercing earrings. Tragus piercings range normally from 16-14 gauge whereas a piercing earring is a lot closer to a 25 gauge.

    • No it shouldn’t be done with a gun because it will not heal properly, also it will be peirced with a regular earring not the correct size Jewlery for your tragus. also if it is not done
      Professionaly it can cause serious problems which may end up in paralysation in the face

    • No. No piercing should be done by a gun. It has a higher risk of damaging cartilage. You should always get it done with a hallow needle. That goes for any piercing, especially with cartilage piercings.

    • I got my double helix done with a gun. It was some pain, but it went away very quickly. There were no problems and I had it done 8 weeks ago.

  1. A gun would probably wrack your ear up. I got my tragus pierced like 2 weeks ago and I can say that if they would have done it with a gun I would not have liked that @ all!!!

    • I agree with Chrissie, I’ve just got mine done (a week and a day now) And if it they had to do it with a gun – No way would I have it either. I got my ears (lobes) pierced when I was 7 with a Gun and man it hurt I wouldn’t let the lady do the other she end up doing it. I got them done again when I was 12 (this time I got them closer to my face as I didn’t like the 2 finger widths) Same thing a gun, didn’t hurt at all. It wasn’t until I got a lot older that guns are no good and unhygienic. Also with today’s market, some are of lesser quality & can be found anywhere. If anyone wants a piercing today, needles. I dislike needles too but everyone’s pain tolerance is different. (I’m almost 27 now)

  2. I came here to read about healing times. Then I saw all the comments about the gun. Where I live, we don’t have tattoo parlours. For piercings, we have to go to the doctors. So I went there. The doctor said they do the tragus, like here own, with the gun. So that’s how I did it. I didn’t realise it could shatter the cartridge. Anyway it’s been 2 months, so far so good, no troubles. Also it was painless. I have the top of my ear pierced also, this was done in England, again using a gun. I guess it’s what you prefer. Altogether I’ve been pierced by a gun 8 times, thankfully never had any problems.

    • no, it barely hurts, if you reach up and pinch your tragus with your fingernails, that’s around how much it hurts. the main part that hurts is the clamping, and even that doesn’t hurt much, it’s just to get it in the right position.

    • It doesn’t hurt that badly, although does depend on your pain tolerance. I’m shocking with needles and pain myself.
      When I got mine done, it didn’t hurt. The clamp gives an uneasy feeling and people say that hurts more.
      (Did you get yours done?)

  3. I have just recently got my tragus pierced a week ago and was reading this article to find out the healing time for the piercing, as mine already feels healed. Although, after reading this, I’m going to wait at least 2 months until I change the jewelery.

    For anyone out there that wishes to get one of these piercings, I would say go for it. It has minimal pain, and no matter how many people say it, you DO NOT hear a pop when the needle goes through. Same goes for the helix.

    It has somewhat pain after the piercing, but that is mainly when you bump it and that goes away after a couple of weeks.

    The clamp is the main thing that hurts, and even that doesn’t hurt much. Test yourself now. Just pinch your tragus with your fingernail and that is how much it will hurt. Not much, hey?

    This is my fourth piercing (I have had my helix [one ear], lobes [both ears], second lobes [both ears] and tragus [one ear]) and out of them all I would definitely say the tragus was the least painful out of all of them.

    So, again, if you were looking into getting your tragus pierced, they are a no problem piercing, and I assure you they are NOT painful compared to your helix, and you will NOT hear a pop XD

  4. I had my Tragus pierced about 4 weeks ago and am experiencing some issues with it. I have a stud in it (not a ring) and overnight the stud goes into my flesh so in the morning I have to push it back out from the back. I am not sure why this is happening? It has only happened for the last 3 nights! What can I do to stop this?

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