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Tragus Piercing: Cost, Jewelry, Pain, and Infection Risks

Updated on July 27, 2015
A ball closure ring (BCR) in a pierced tragus.
A ball closure ring (BCR) in a pierced tragus. | Source

The tragus is a small piece of cartilage that juts out slightly from the face in front of the ear canal and partially covers the ear opening. When the tragus is pierced, it is punctured with a needle and jewelry is placed in the hole. Read on to learn more about:

  • How tragus piercings are done.
  • What they cost.
  • The types of jewelry you can select from.
  • Pain.
  • Risks of bleeding and infection.
  • How to care for a new piercing.

How a Tragus Piercing Works

Tragus piercing is generally done with a tiny (18-gauge) hollow needle. Professionals may also use a curved needle. A tiny cork is placed in front of the ear canal opening so as to prevent the passage of foreign matter into the canal.

The tiny cork blocks the needle after it has successfully pierced the tragus cartilage. Tragus cartilage is somewhat thick, so the professional has to apply more pressure than while piercing the lobe, for example. It is important to keep still during the procedure. You can always lie down on your back.

After the tragus is punctured, a piece of jewelry of your choice is inserted through the hole.

Average Tragus Piercing Cost

Not including jewelry, tragus piercing costs are as follows: $30-$50 (US); £20-£35 (UK); €30 and €45 (Europe); A$30 and A$40 (Australia).

Cost of Tragus Piercing and Jewelry

Internal threaded jewelry is more expensive than external jewelry, however most professional piercers recommend internal threaded jewelry for a first piercing because this type of jewelry does not hurt or irritate the skin around the puncture. After the piercing heals, you can go for the externally threaded jewelry.

After the procedure is done, you should purchase sterilizing solution to clean your new piercing daily. You can purchase this solution from a piercing studio, a chemist, or a drugstore.

Types of Tragus Jewelry

Captive Bead Ring
A metal ring whose ends are connected by a single bead. Some have a straight bar instead of a bead, creating the appearance of a full circle.
Available in varied shapes, sizes, and colors. Can be custom-made to include jewels.
Labret Stud
A straight shaft with a flat disc at one end and a jewel at the top.
A shaft of metal with beads at both ends.
Can be circular, horseshoe-shaped, semi-circular, or curved.
Tiny implant that looks as if it is part of the body.
Generally placed right next to the tragus.

Tragus Piercing: Bleeding and Infection Risks

Tragus piercing may sometimes be accompanied by bleeding. The location of the blood vessels determine the level of bleeding and hence it varies from one person to another. Bleeding may continue for nearly an hour post piercing. It is however not a cause for worry. The process of cartilage piercing destroys the blood vessels present in that area and hence bleeding is quite natural.

If tragus piercing results in the formation of a wound then the site is vulnerable to infection by bacteria and other pathogens. Infection of a tragus piercing can occur due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of proper hygiene and care is one of the most common causes of tragus piercing infection. It is important for all individuals to gently clean the puncture site at least three times a day.

  • If the piercing is performed by an amateur piercer who does not maintain proper hygiene, then it can lead to infection

  • Excessive cleaning of the site can irritate it and result in a wound, thereby increasing the risk to infection

  • Use of improper and cheap jewelry can irritate the skin and lead to infection. It is important to wear jewelry made from silver, gold, titanium, or platinum particularly during the healing process. Avoid the use of corrosive metals as well as using jewelry that is too tight.

Signs of an Infected Tragus

• Persistent swelling and pain more than a couple of days after the piercing.

• Pustules or small bumps filled with pus at the piercing site.

• Inflammation, redness, and extreme pain.

• The piercing site is warm and bleeding.

• Smelly discharge of greenish or yellowish fluid.

• If the piercing becomes infected, remove jewelry and clean with antiseptic solution. If the infection is severe, contact a doctor.

Is it Painful?

There are no nerve endings in the tragus so these piercings do not cause a lot of pain. There may be pain, however, as the piercer applies pressure to puncture the thick cartilage. The intensity of discomfort or pain is comparatively more with tragus piercing than other forms of piercing. The pain is temporary and lasts for only about 30 to 60 seconds. You may also experience some discomfort when the jewelry is inserted into the hole.

After the initial pain has worn off, the surrounding area will be sore for some days. Individuals will need to sleep on their other side and take care to avoid snagging clothing or towels on the new jewelry.

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Healing and Care of Your New Piercing

Tragus piercings usually takes two to four months to heal. It is normal for this much time to pass before you can sleep easily with your new piercing. Complete healing along with no sensitivity can take about a year.

After your piercing, clean the site every day.

  • Use a disinfectant.
  • Avoid touching your new piercing.
  • Change your pillow covers every other day.
  • Wear buttoned shirts to avoid snagging pullovers on your new jewelry.


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    • profile image

      tiffany 22 months ago

      it won't hurt but you do hear crunching.

    • profile image

      ALFREDIA B. MCCLOUD 2 years ago

      $20 each

    • profile image

      Katie 2 years ago

      $30 - $40 AUD? HAHAHAHAHAH I wish. Try $60.

    • profile image

      Kelsi 2 years ago

      All the things they recommend doing on here when you get your tragus pierced are a little bit extreme.. Obviously don't touch it (and keep it clean), but I continued on with my normal daily routines and my tragus healed up just fine. No need for pillow case changing or button up shirts.

    • profile image

      kheira 3 years ago

      30 - 45 euros? wow its much expensive

    • profile image

      echø 3 years ago

      unless i'm going crazy 18g is larger than 20g so after its healed totally just put a 20g piece of jewelry in the hole and you should be square.

    • profile image

      Sam 3 years ago

      Can I change my piercing from an 18 gauge to a 20? I just got it a few days ago but I don't want the hole to be that size

    • profile image

      nevaeh 3 years ago

      I really want the tragus piercing but just worried about the pain.

    • Kyoko Kuran profile image

      Kyoko Kuran 3 years ago from Worcester, Massachusetts

      @Lory most of the time anything healing it itches so I'm going to go ahead and say it does itch. Just ignore it the best you can.

    • profile image

      Lory 3 years ago

      When healing, does it cause itching?

    • profile image

      Katie 4 years ago

      DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT remove your jewellery if you get an infection! It can heal over while remaining infected and leave you with an abscess, which won't drain and can get pretty nasty. You'll also lose the piercing hole and may have a difficult time getting it repierced, or you'll be left with a scar. Go back to your piercer for advice!