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Tragus Ear Piercing: Everything You Need to Know

Updated on May 13, 2017

The tragus is the small projection of cartilage immediately in front of the ear canal. Piercing it involves perforating the cartilage with a small-guage, hollow needle and inserting jewelry, either a ring or a stud.

The tragus is vulnerable to infection, so take care to find a professional piercer who follows proper procedures. It is also true, however, that tragus piercing is not that painful, as there are very few nerve endings around the area.

Getting Your Tragus Pierced

Tragus piercing is a relatively recent fashion. Before you get yours pierced, make sure you are confident about the piercer. An experienced piercer will use a hollow, low-gauge needle. It should be inserted either straight into the tragus or a curved direction.

Pain will be the trongest during the actual piercing. There will continue to be some discomfort over the following few days, but with a good aftercare regimen, the entire process is completely bearable.

Important Guidelines to Avoid Infection

Clean the tragus with saline solution immediately before and after piercing. This will significantly minimize pain. There are different concentrations of saline solution. Ask your piercer which might be best for you.
Don't touch the pierced area and jewelry. Even if there is irritation, leave the tragus untouched for at least 5-7 days.
Clean your hands with antibacterial solution before changing earrings.
Don't let anyone else touch the area.
Clean the area at least twice or three times a day after piercing. This will help reduce pain over the next few days.
Don't change earrings until six weeks after piercing.
Make sure to use a cotton ball that has been soaked in disinfectant, such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Don't sleep on the same side as your piercing for a few weeks.

Proper Aftercare of a Pierced Tragus

Aftercare is vital. In addition to the steps listed above, follow these steps to avoid infection and speed healing.

  1. Clean the area with a saline solution and a cotton ball at least twice every day. While doing so, make sure to also clean the area behind the tragus. This will ensure that the solution reaches deep inside the hole. While cleaning, rotate the jewelry slowly and gently but avoid touching the skin directly with your fingers.
  2. Don't touch the area at all.
  3. Avoid using the pierced ear to answer the phone. Try to sleep on the opposite side.
  4. Change your pillowcase every day and keep your hands clean.

Making Your Own Saline Solution

It's easy to make saline solution at home. A typical solution is .9% saline, about the same as human tears.

Here is what you'll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • a clean glass bottle or jar with lid
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • a pot with lid

Combine the water and salt in the pot. Cover and boil for 15 minutes. Set pot aside until cool. Carefully pour into jar or bottle and cover. Use within 24 hours, as bacteria can grow in saline solution.

If Your Tragus Becomes Infected

There is a possibility of infection with any kind of piercing, but the only reasons this would happen is if proper aftercare is not followed or the piercer is not experienced.

During piercing, the tragus will bleed and may continue to bleed for a few hours. Afterwards, it is common to experience pain and swelling for a few days. There is no need to worry as long as they subside within seven days.

Consult a doctor if you notice any of the following after seven days:

  • redness
  • soreness around piercing
  • continued bleeding
  • yellow or green discharge
  • foul smell coming out of the pierced area

Even if you notice any of these symptoms, don’t panic. Do not remove the jewelry yourself, as this may cause the hole to close and trap infection within. Consult a specialist.

Opinion Poll

Which is your favorite type of ear piercing?

See results


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    • profile image

      Erin 4 months ago

      I love piercings however, I had my baby belly without the baby of course lol. But the aftermath of stretch marks that were 27 years old so anywho.........

      I went for it a belly piercing andit easnt to painful wehn it was pierced (probably cau se he went through a stretch mark and I was standing when he marked the pierced mark he wanted to Pierce. I am totally new and never been body pierced so I thought I knew what he was doing well.......... He then had me lying down in my back and he continued to do the piercing I don't qustion cause I thought I know WTF he was doing.


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      Vicky 7 months ago

      I was told to avoiding table salt by piercer and use sea salt !

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      Kelsey 12 months ago

      I got my tragus done 2-23-17 and I love it. It really have not had that much pain. I am just worried about infection. I don't have one now but it is just a fear. It hurt so much when I got both left and right ears done. Got them done on the same day.

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      tiffany 23 months ago

      I had mine done 8 days ago and I bled a lot once it was done. She said to rotate, move the earring so it does not get stuck. I'd like to get it changed out in 2-6 months with a stud or barbell. It hurts to move it and its very hard to move it or rotate the hoop; its hard to tell if its being moved or not moving.

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      Helen 2 years ago

      I had my tragus done months ago, it didn't hurt much no soreness healing very well then thought I lost my stud only to find it had gone back into the hole, and now it keeps weeping and crusting and help on what to do would be appreciated thanks

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      autumn 2 years ago

      I got my tragus pierced a couple weeks ago and I feel like my hole in the back has stretch. I afraid I will accidentally pull the bar through the hole. What do I do?

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      nancy 2 years ago

      I got my tragus done a couple of days ago and love it but my question is if you don't have saline solution can you use hydrogen peroxide or alchol??? and by the way it hurt like a bitch and I screamed like a little I love it...

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      nicola 2 years ago

      Got my tragus done 5 months ago and I really love it. Yeah my mate when we were drunk hit more like punched my ear had a wee infection but it cleared up so easy. Its normal for diabetics and piercings to take longer to heal. No pain when done so go for it I got my peirceing and bar for 25 quid in scotland. I have lobes industrial and tragus in my right ear snake bites.

    • profile image

      Lisa 2 years ago

      Wanting to get a tragus peicing. ...what side do i get it on

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      Rebecca Gomez 2 years ago

      Got my tragus piercing last summer a couple of days ago or today ? (At16 years) So it's my one year anniversary with it! It's not that painful actually and my piercer was awesome! If you're thinking about doing it I say go for it bust just know that wearing earbuds will never be the same ( if you're not wearing a hop earring there) my piercer gave me a stud and I haven't changed it yet bc I didn't want an infection. Now that it's been a year I think it's time for a change. Follow the rules above and you'll be just fine :)

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      Kasey 2 years ago

      Ive had my tragus pierced for a year (this is the second time) .. when i first got it pierced in was in the middle of the cartliage after battling pain and soreness it finally subsided however its moved to the top of the cartliage and is now just under the skin.

      Is this caused by my body rejecting the piercing or what!? Has anyone else had this issue? .. its done this both times

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      Tiffany 2 years ago

      I just got my tragus done a few days ago. For me, it was by far the most painful piercing, and I have many piercings. It was fine for a day or so after, but it gets very sore. The whole right side of my head feels like a big bruise, which aches when I eat, or even smile. I've also had a lot of scabs and blood every time I clean it with my saline solution. Which, is what my piercer recommended I use. Thinking about switching over to my H2ocean spray to see if I get any better results!

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      Heather 2 years ago

      I've had my tragus pierced for about 1 year and a half now... this is the second time I had it done. It is by far the most painful piercing I have. The first time I had it done 5 years ago I passed out from the pain. The second time I just got a little nauseous.

      But it's SO cute it is well worth the pain.

      I did however BOTH times have a keloid develop next to the piercing, just kept cleaning with h2ocean and it eventually went away both times.

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      Georgie 2 years ago

      Hi, I really want my tragus piercing but my mum won't let me. Ive already had my double lobes, helix and belly pierced ( I'm 13 btw). I have a high pain tolerance so I'm not scared about the pain but I was thinking more about the healing. Could anyone help me with getting my mum to let me. Thanks xx

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      Adam 2 years ago

      I have 2 scaffolding, 2 Tragus,2 Spaces and eyebrow, but my other Tragus didn't bleed at all but my other one today just little bit of blood?

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      Rachel 2 years ago

      To answer some questions & verify things: Always go to a professional tattoo/piercing place for piercings other than lobes, (even then still recommend a piercing artist)! You can shatter the cartilage. A saline solution is a teaspoon of non iodized sea salt and warm water that's been sterilized, (boiled) or h2ocean.

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      Louise 2 years ago

      Just had my Tragus pierced today and can honestly say I felt only a slight pinch as he pierced it.

      Would totally recommend it.

      It's my 11th piercing and will say it's the least painful one.

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      suzie 2 years ago

      Ive had my tragus done for 3 month now. It got infected bad had to go to the doctor and was on antibiotics for 2 weeks tried salt water ,tea tree oil and still not fully healed.

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      gin 2 years ago

      I had my tragus done a week ago it was done with a gun and a stud was put in with the butter fly clip.does this sound normal

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      Megan 2 years ago

      I had got my tragus done 2 days ago and it hurts so bad :( but it's a beautiful piercing and i would recommend it :)

    • profile image

      MO 2 years ago

      I just got my piercing to both of mine this past Saturday, no problems so far, but these two piercing by far hurt the worse. I have had my nose,eyebrow, and lip pierced before but I can say I like these two the best out of all of them.

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      Lucy 2 years ago

      I got both of mine done at the same time about a week ago now. It didn't hurt for me at all. I slept just fine that night and two days later was able to listen to my earbuds and talk on the phone. They had me make my own saline solution and rip a paper towel so it cleans it on both sides of the Tragus and I couldn't be happier. I just wanna know when you can put in a different piece of jewelry

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      Amanda 3 years ago

      Is it bad to get both ears done at the same time? Wouldn't it hurt to sleep at night?

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      RACHAEL 3 years ago

      I got my done the 3/03/2015 and just wanna ask why does it hurt so much to smile to eat to talk some time

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      Lisa Ling 3 years ago

      I just got my Tragus pierced and it didn't hurt at all. This was the second time I had it done.

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      Alli 3 years ago

      I just got my tragus pierced today and let me tell you, I have 6 tattoos and a few piercings (my tolerance for pain is pretty good) and I screamed like a little girl using some not nice words. Most painful one yet. But after about 2 hours I can't feel anything. I got it done on both ears and the only thing that's bothering me is a little swelling. Overall, I love them!

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      jess 3 years ago

      Got mine done yesterday and all I can say is ouch. But wasn't too bad and for all my ear piercings I've used salt and boiling water cooled down to clense them had no problems.

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      catieee 3 years ago

      I just got mine piercing two days ago or something and the piercer didn't tell me anything about the saline solution!!! Where can I get it? Could it be available at pharmacies since I live in a country that doesn't sell saline solution in grocery stores. Please help me out!!!

    • profile image

      Maggie 3 years ago

      Mine was $40 and I tipped the piercer. So, it was about $47.

      Also not to scare anyone, but I have 3 tattoos, and 6 piercings. My tragus was by far the most painful. I almost passed out. I am aware that tattoos are a completely different type of pain, but I'm just giving some reference.

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      aria 3 years ago

      How much is a tragus piercing? Im only 14 but i really want it done! :)

    • profile image

      chloe 3 years ago

      I had my tragus done about six months ago and I love it, however mine actually hurt more than any of my other piercings as it depends on the thickness of the cartilage inside :) that being said it only lasted about fifteen seconds and it wouldn't stop me getting it again x

    • profile image

      Allie 3 years ago

      I got my tragus pierced today and my guy did an amazing job. It didn't hurt at all i just felt some pressure. He pierced my rook too and I had no problems with that either. Love this piercing!

    • profile image

      stacy 3 years ago

      H2ocean is a great saline solution to use. I've used it on all my piercings and they all healed rather quickly.

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      Sarah 3 years ago

      Yes there is such thing as having a small tragus-if a trusted piercer said it was to small do not go and try to get it someplace else because then you could really damage your tragus.

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      Motu 3 years ago

      I went to get my tragus pierced but the piercer said that it iss too little and small so it can't get pierced, should I go another piercer or there is something really like a small tragus so it can't get pierced? Please reply. Xoxo.

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      Kelly 3 years ago

      I just got ma tragus pierced 2 days ago it didn't hurt when I got it but now it's hurting I don't know what to do

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      sunshineladyoo 3 years ago

      I am 61 years old went with granddaughter to mall she has hers done love it so grandmother (me) decided I'm getting it done it's been 7 days still a little sore but love it get it done doesn't hurt ur love it

    • idevices profile image

      Abhishek Gupta 3 years ago from Kolkata

      The scale of infection could be damaging and high..It should cause trouble for hearing if carried out in the right manner but 14 years is too young for getting your tragus pierced. I would suggest to wait for a couple of years before you do get your tragus pierced. Lastly, these are possible suggestions and it is advised to get your tragus checked professionally and get answers to all your queries which you have...

    • profile image

      Sara 3 years ago

      i am planning to get my tragus pierced but am afraid of 2 things

      1)will infection effect my hearing

      2) how do you know if your tragus is large enough to get a peircing (I am 14)

      Please excuse any ignorance I may have and respond asap

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      Jenelle 3 years ago

      Just got my tragus pierced on my right ear today n already lovin it!!!! :))

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      Jimmy 3 years ago

      I got mine done about a month ago, not very painful at all. They put a barbell in it and I want a hoop,preferably a captive bead.

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      Meags 3 years ago

      I used to have my tragus pierced but I took it out for work. I've had it done again but they didn't pierce through the scar tissue, they've done it just next to it. I love it but every now and then l move my neck or smile and it hurts inside my ear near the piercing and down the side of my neck. Is this normal? I don't remember this happening last time.

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      Lacey 3 years ago

      I had my tragus pierced over 7 months ago, i can't seem to loosen the ball, and i have new jewellery to put it.. Anyone know any tips on how to loosen it and what way to loosen it, pierced on my right ear.

    • profile image

      Aaliyah 3 years ago

      I want the tragus piercing soooooo bad but I'm still scared about the pain and aftercare.

    • profile image

      Celine 3 years ago


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      Katie 3 years ago

      I've had mine pierced for almost two years and you can wear earbuds as long as their small. It can feel a little awkward to get them in after its healed. I wouldn't recommend putting them in until it heals.

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      Fanny 3 years ago

      I'm really thinking of getting one but can anyone asnwer this please, when you've had it for a while (so that it has healed and all) can you use earphones to listen to music just as usual or woulf that be impossible?

    • profile image

      Leah 3 years ago

      I'm thing of getting mine sons but I'm only 13 it it really sore

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      hannah 3 years ago

      Hi i think iv got a keloid comeing help

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      Becca 3 years ago

      Love the flower pircing in the picture. Where can I get it from??? Any help??

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      marie 3 years ago

      Got mine done 9 days ago and have severe inflammation and soreness at the moment, the only thing preventing me from taking it out is that you're advised not too in case of serious infection, im raging as I do love it. I have been ritually cleaning it but read somewhere that you can over clean it too, hopefully I will see an improvement in the next day or two...(if I can last that long)

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      Sharnae 3 years ago

      Got my piercing done almost 2 weeks ago, thought it would hurt... not at all! ! Love the piercing. Use sea salt soaks diligently

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      Sarah 3 years ago

      i just got this pierced yesterday. i have pierced my tongue and nose and naval and this was by far the most painful one. all of my other piercings were quite painless so u wasn't exactally ready for this one to be painful! surprised me. it really does depend on the person.

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      Carolina 3 years ago

      Just got my piercing a couple hours ago and I don't feel any discomfort at all. It was actually quite painless for me to be honest. I was expecting soooo much more pain. I guess it's different for everyone. I'm happy with the way it all went.

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      kayla 3 years ago

      Hello, which saline solution do you use ?

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      Nela 3 years ago

      I just had my tragus pierced yesterday and it was a bit painful, especially while inserting the jewelry, it felt huge amount of pressure. Today it feels normal, no pain, soreness, and i forget its even there oh and I LOVE IT!!!!


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      Rune 3 years ago

      Never rotate a new piercing, it just rips the newly healing cells around it and causes the healing time to dramatically increase.

      Otherwise it sounds like good advice tho.

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      nevaeh 3 years ago

      The tragus is a cute piercing but still scared about it.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      I actually have never seen this type of piercing, very interesting.