Tragus Piercings: How Painful Are They Really? Here’s Your Ultimate Guide

From how much it costs to how much it hurts and healing time, here's everything you need to know.

Helix & Conch

by Lillian Sesiguzel |

I got my tragus pierced during the first year of university which makes me a bit of a walking cliché – I’m that person who got a piercing as soon as she moved out of home – but I’m okay with that. Five years and two more piercings later, it’s still going strong. When people notice it, they usually ask if it hurt, how long it took to heal and so on. So here’s your need-to-know guide on tragus piercings.

READ MORE: Ear Piercings: Your Definitive Guide

What is a tragus piercing? How is it done?

First things first, your tragus (and any cartilage piercing) should always be done with a needle – never a gun. As for the actual process, it's pretty quick. They sterilize the area first, then mark where the piercing will be made, clamp the tragus so it doesn't move, and insert the needle. There are videos on YouTube if you want to know exactly how it’s done, like this one below.

How much does a tragus piercing cost?

This will vary from place to place and depending on the jewellery you choose, but on average it will cost around £30.

Does a tragus piercing hurt? Will I get tragus piercing pain?

The tragus doesn’t hold many nerve endings which means that, compared to other piercings, it’s not very painful. That said, it’s obviously subjective because everyone has a different pain threshold. I’d say mine is pretty average, and the actual piercing didn’t really hurt, although there was a slight ‘popping’ sound when the needle went through which is normal – it is cartilage after all. Afterwards, you’ll more than likely have some swelling and soreness for around three to five days.

What about the tragus piercing aftercare?

Like with any piercing, it’s important to look after it, as any open wound is prone to infection. Clean it twice a day with a saline solution, or you can make your own salt water solution by boiling water, adding salt to it and letting it cool. If you're making your own make sure it's sea salt and not table salt. Apply the solution to the area by soaking cotton wool or an ear bud in it and cleaning the area. Afterwards, turn the jewellery to help the solution get to the hole.

Other things to avoid are playing with it (especially if your hands might be dirty) and wearing headphones which could also irritate it. If you think your piercing might be infected, try diluting tea tree oil and using that to disinfect the area, but if this doesn’t help it’s best to return to where you got it pierced to seek professional advice.

Carry on cleaning it for between six and eight weeks, although, again, this is down to the person, and if you think it’s still not right, carry on. The tragus can take anywhere between two to four months to completely heal, depending on the person.

When can I change my tragus piercing and will it close over?

You should only do this one you’re absolutely sure the piercing has totally healed – it shouldn’t be sore, weeping or crusty. It’s best to be over caution because changing it too soon could lead to infection. Make sure the new jewellery is sterilised too and your hands are clean before changing it. If you don’t want to do it yourself, a professional piercer will be able to do it for you. If you do take it out, be careful not to leave it out for too long as it could close over.

SHOP: Tragus Earrings

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SHOP: Tragus Earrings

Helix & Conch, Alba 9k solid yellow gold internally threaded marquise cut crystal labret stud, £76
1 of 9

State of Mine, 9ct Yellow Gold Cubic Zirconia Infinity Labret, £39.99
2 of 9

Claire's, Silver 16G Cubic Zirconia Arrow Tragus Stud Earring, £8
3 of 9

Maria Tash, Diamond Paisley (Left) Threaded Stud, £152.91
4 of 9

Bodifine, 9ct Gold Cubic Zirconia Leaf Ear Tragus Single Stud, £69.99
5 of 9

SiJewelsPiercing, 14K Solid Gold North Star Piercing, £60.90
6 of 9

Laura Bond, 9k yellow solid gold crystal trio labret cartilage stud earring, £65
7 of 9

Lark & Berry, Modernist Diamond Labret Earring, £195
8 of 9

Kismet by Milka, 14ct rose gold and diamond blade screw flatback, £225
9 of 9

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