Tragus Piercing: Pain, Benefits, Healing Time, Cost, Jewelry, Sizes, Aftercare

Tragus Piercing: Pain, Benefits, Healing Time, Cost, Jewelry, Sizes, Aftercare

Tragus piercings are a trendy and stylish way to showcase your unique personality. If you're considering a tragus piercing, you may have many questions about jewelry, pain level and aftercare. Here is some information to consider before scheduling your piercing appointment.

What Is a Tragus Piercing?

A tragus piercing is a popular piercing option that goes through the small piece of cartilage located in front of your ear canal. This cartilage is a rounded triangle shape and varies in size and appearance.

Variant 1: Anti-Tragus Piercing

The anti-tragus piercing goes through the flap of skin above your earlobe and adjacent to the tragus.

The size and shape of this area depend on the individual, but most people can find their anti-tragus by feeling for the two fin-like pieces of cartilage just outside their ear canal.

The one closest to your face is the tragus, and the one sitting on the top edge of your earlobe is the anti-tragus

Variant 2: Surface Tragus Piercing

The surface tragus piercing only goes through the "surface" of the skin on top of or in front of the tragus, leaving two adjacent, visible piercing holes.

Variant 3: Vertical Tragus Piercing

Like a traditional tragus piercing, a vertical tragus piercing passes through the cartilage. The piercing passes from top to bottom, leaving two holes that are vertically stacked above and below the tragus.

The vertical tragus piercing is not a surface piercing. Although vertical as well, the surface tragus piercing is distinct from the vertical tragus because it goes through the skin, bypassing the underlying cartilage.

Variant 4: Double Tragus Piercing

A double tragus piercing is similar to a single piercing, except two piercing holes are next to each other. A secondary piercing allows for more jewelry options. Those with a smaller tragus may not be able to receive a double tragus piercing since there might not be enough tissue.

Tragus Piercing Benefits

1. Tragus Piercing for Migraines? Like Daith Piercing?

While many people opt for a tragus piercing for its aesthetic appeal, it's worth noting that some believe it could offer health benefits similar to a daith piercing (a piercing just above the ear canal).

Although research is limited to a few case reports, there's some indication that daith piercings might help alleviate migraines. The theory is that these piercings could function like acupuncture, stimulating pressure points and nerves to relieve pain.

However, there is a lack of support for using tragus or daith piercings as effective forms of migraine treatment.

2. Tragus Piercing Alleviates Symptoms of Epilepsy and Depression?

The vagus nerve extends from the base of the brain throughout the body. Some research indicates that stimulating various areas along the vagus nerve alleviates symptoms of epilepsy and depression. More research is necessary to determine if piercings may have a similar effect.

However, some researchers believe that this may be due to a placebo effect and that they aren't truly effective.

3. Tragus Piercing for Weight Loss?

There are similar claims regarding tragus piercings for weight loss benefits. Some believe the tragus contains nerves connecting to the neuroreceptors responsible for thirst and hunger. Under this assumption, activating these pressure points through a tragus piercing may decrease appetite. These claims state that activating pressure points at the piercing site allows you to control your cravings better.

While one study using tragus clips showed some appetite reduction, more research is necessary to determine if it is genuinely effective.

Tragus Piercing Pain Scale 1-10

While piercing pain varies from person to person, a tragus piercing is rated between a 4 or 5 out of 10 on the pain scale. Many people consider the tragus to be the least painful piercing to receive among ear piercing options.

However, the tragus is a thicker piece of cartilage, and your piercer may have to exert more pressure than usual during the process.

Tragus Piercing Healing Time

How long does a tragus piercing take to heal? Tragus piercings take a bit longer to heal than other piercing areas. Cartilage healing time varies widely, and while some people may heal within two to three months, others may need up to a year. It can also depend on whether complications occur during the healing process.

Tragus Piercing Healing Stages

While the amount of time it takes for a tragus ear piercing to heal depends on the individual, everyone goes through the same stages of healing:

1. Acceptance Stage

This is the initial stage of healing, and your body closes off the wound around where your jewelry entered.

Pierced tissue is replaced as blood clots and hardens around the piercing holes, and white blood cells restore skin and tissue with collagen. The tissue around the skin tries to reject the piercing, and swelling occurs.

You may experience pain, tenderness, warmth and some bleeding.

2. Healing Stage

This stage occurs over the next few weeks and months as the redness and swelling become less visible.

Your body begins creating a fistula (scar tissue) from one opening of the piercing site to the other. A yellowish fluid containing lymph, dead blood cells and plasma is produced, gathers near the opening and starts to harden. This discharge eventually stops, and the two sides of the fistula connect, completing the process.

3. Maturation Stage

This is the final stage of the healing process. At the end of this stage, you can switch your jewelry out without compromising the piercing area.

It may take several weeks to months to complete this stage.

How Much Is a Tragus Piercing?

While the piercing usually costs between $30 and $50, the total amount you spend depends on your chosen jewelry. The ideal metal for an initial tragus piercing is implant-grade titanium or 14k gold. Although these are other options, they promote better healing.

Tragus Piercing Jewelry Types

For your first tragus ear piercing, you have a few jewelry options. After it heals, you will have more options. The three most commonly chosen jewelry types for tragus ear piercings are:

1. Tragus Piercing Studs

Tragus Piercing: Pain, Benefits, Healing Time, Cost, Jewelry, Sizes, Aftercare

Implant grade titanium stud earring heart-shaped flat back 16G $22.9, SHOP NOW.

Studs are perfect for those who want a dainty aesthetic. The tragus is a smaller piercing, and a dainty stud complements it well.

If you prefer studs, make sure that you choose a flat back (labret) stud so it doesn't poke into the ear canal. For a new piercing, consider a ball stud, which is less likely to snag.

2. Tragus Hoops

Hoop piercing with CZ made of titanium $22.9, SHOP NOW.

Hoops are an excellent option for those who prefer a more discreet and simple style. Some ring options include captives, clickers and circular barbells.

Hoops are not recommended during the healing process. However, once your piercing heals, hoops can give you a sleek, modern look.

Smaller hoops (also referred to as "huggies") are good options as they wrap closely around the piercing and are unlikely to catch on your hair or clothing.

3. Barbells

Curved barbell piercing ASTM F136 implant-grade titanium internally threaded $16.9, SHOP NOW.

A curved barbell works well with tragus piercings due to the angle. Barbells create a symmetrical look. Because the curve allows most of the length of the jewelry to sit on the inside of the ear, it is less likely to snag.

Tragus Piercing Size

Most people encounter swelling when they first pierce their tragus. For this reason, your initial jewelry length may be longer to allow for proper healing and cleaning:

1. Tragus Piercing Gauge

What gauge is a tragus piercing? The most common gauge sizes for tragus ear jewelry are between 18 and 14 gauge, depending on your preference. 

2. Tragus Piercing Length

Most tragus studs range from 6 to 8 millimeters in length. Once your piercing heals, you may swap out your stud for a different length.

3. Tragus Hoop Diameter

Tragus hoops range between 5 and 8 millimeters. Most tragus rings feature an inner diameter of 6 or 8 millimeters. However, this may differ due to your anatomy. You must leave enough room for swelling, draining and cleaning.

Recommended Materials for Tragus Piercing Jewelry

1. Titanium: About $20-$40

Titanium has a reputation for being the best metal for piercings for many reasons. It is lightweight, hypoallergenic, durable, nickel-free, non-corrosive, and won’t tarnish.

Its non-porous nature reduces places bacteria can hide, promoting healing.

Titanium is also hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to cause allergic reactions. Titanium is nickel-free.

Its high density-to-strength ratio means your jewelry is very durable.

A lower density also makes Titanium lightweight, a big plus in many user's eyes. Finally, the metal comes in many colors because you can anodize it.

The only real downside to titanium jewelry is that you will pay more for all those positive traits. Shop for implant-grade titanium with designations like ASTM F-136, ASTM F-67, or ISO 5832-3.

2. Surgical Steel: About $5-$30

Although surgical steel is nonreactive, it can contain nickel. Choose a different option if you are concerned about irritation or a nickel allergy.

Steel combines iron and carbon, improving its strength and ability to resist fracturing. 

However, this silver alloy can contain other elements, including nickel. Make sure to buy surgical-grade steel jewelry. These will have ratings: ASTM F-138, ISO 5832-1, ISO 10993-6, ISO 10993-10, or ISO 10993-11.

One of the pros most people cite for steel jewelry pieces is the lower price point. Steel is also a durable option. These pieces are low maintenance because the steel does not corrode, rust, or tarnish.

Weight is the top complaint for those using steel jewelry pieces. Steel can be less comfortable if worn in piercings for long periods. 

3. Solid Gold: About $40-$200

This metal will not rust or tarnish. It is also easy to decorate and shape. The added alloys in 18k, and especially 14k, make them more durable than 24k gold pieces.

One downside to gold jewelry is the price tag, which is expensive. Another concern will be that the metal is soft, making it susceptible to bends, breaks, and gouges. Gold can also be heavy, especially with more pure karat ratings.

4. Niobium: About $20-$60

Niobium is a light grey metal known for its hardness that is like titanium. The metal resists corrosion and tarnishing like others on the list, creating minimal maintenance for you.

It might be the best metal for a piercing if you want titanium-like durability with more malleability. That extra pliability makes it easier for jewelers to shape pieces. Niobium can come in various colors as it is something that you can anodize.

The only real downsides are that it weighs a bit more than titanium and you will likely pay a bit more due to the process involved in manufacturing this metal.

When Can I Change My Tragus Piercing?

You should wait until your tragus piercing heals before changing it out. The healing process usually takes about three months. However, it can take longer.

Can You Wear AirPods With a Tragus Piercing?

While you should avoid wearing AirPods while your piercing is healing, you can wear them after the process is complete. Wearing AirPods too soon puts too much pressure on the piercing area, causing irritation and prolonging the healing process. Additional complications may arise, including infection.


All piercings come with some risk of complications. Proper aftercare should minimize your risks. Some of the most common risks include:

1. Tragus Piercing Infection

Piercings are open wounds, and all open wounds are susceptible to infection. Look for signs like pain, redness, inflammation and bleeding that worsen over time. If you notice dark, foul-smelling pus or a fever, consult your piercer or doctor immediately.

2. Bloodborne Infection

Choose a reputable piercer and shop to minimize your risk of bloodborne diseases. Also, make sure your piercer uses a sterilized, disposable needle to avoid contracting Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV.

3. Bump on Tragus Piercing

Bump formation is common with cartilage piercings. Keloids, granulomas and pustules are some of the most common types of bumps.

4. Allergic Reaction

Metal allergies are relatively common, especially nickel allergies. Only use high-quality metal for your first piercing to decrease your chances of an allergic reaction. Some symptoms to look for include redness, blisters and itchiness.

5. Rejection

Your body treats jewelry like a foreign object and may attempt to reject the piercing. If you notice the hole getting bigger or your skin flaking around the piercing, consult your piercer or doctor.

6. Catching or Tearing

If you are not careful with clothing and accessories, you may accidentally catch your piercing or even tear it.

How to Clean Tragus Piercing?

You should start cleaning your piercing the same day you receive it. Be sure to take the following steps to keep it clean and reduce potential risks:

  1. Wash your hand before touching the piercing.
  2. Clean the area 2 times daily using a sterile saline solution, warm sea salt water, a piercing aftercare spray, or a wound wash.
  3. Soak a clean paper towel in whichever solution you choose and hold it against your piercing for 2-5 minutes.
  4. When you shower, allow the water to flow over your piercing for about 30 seconds. This process can also wipe away any crust that appears.
  5. Do not use moisturizers, as they can clog up pores near the piercing and cause infection.

Tragus Piercing Aftercare

How to care for tragus piercing? Adhering to appropriate aftercare techniques is essential, regardless of the type of piercing. By following these tips, you increase your chances of a smoother healing process:

  • Avoid sleeping on the ear you had pierced.
  • Do not touch the piercing to avoid irritation and risk of infection.
  • Use safe metals like K gold and implant-grade titanium that you aren’t allergic to.
  • Clean the area 2 times daily using a sterile saline solution, warm sea salt water, a piercing aftercare spray, or a wound wash.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals to clean the piercing such as hydrogen peroxide.
  • Do not use a swimming pool, sauna, or hot tub while your piercing is healing.
  • Wait until your piercing heals before changing out your jewelry.
  • Watch for potential signs of infection and consult your piercer or doctor if it becomes infected.  

To Conclude

A tragus piercing is a fun and fashionable form of body modification. Before getting your tragus pierced, make sure you enjoy the look of this unique piercing and understand how to care for it so it heals properly. By following all aftercare guidance from your piercer, you'll be able to enjoy your new tragus piercing for years to come.

Read More

Anti-Tragus Piercing: Pain, Healing Time, Cost, Jewelry, Sizes, Aftercare

Surface Tragus Piercing: Duration, Danger, Pain, Healing, Cost, Jewelry, Pros and Cons, Aftercare

Helix Piercing: Healing, Pain, Cost, Jewelry, Aftercare, Pros and Cons

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