Tragus and Anti-Tragus Piercings


What Is a Tragus Piercing? And How Is It Done?

These are some of the questions that many people unfamiliar with this procedure ask. Tragus piercings are not as common as other forms of body art, such as nose or ear piercings. The tragus is the small cartilage in the ear that assists in holding in an earbud, and that is the body part that gets pierced.

This article will discuss the risks involved, especially when it is not done properly. Do not try to DIY this piercing. I will also talk about how to clean the piercing, which is very important in the healing process. If it is not cleaned well, then your tragus might end up deformed or something of the sort, and you do not want this to happen to you.

Pierced Tragus
Pierced Tragus

Then What Is an Anti-Tragus Piercing?

This is the piercing of the inner cartilage of the ear, which faces the tragus. Caring for it is more or less the same as for the normal tragus piercing, so all of the information here applies to both.

Either is beautiful, and many people opt to get both. They are not gender-specific, although women are the ones who opt for them more often.

Instead of a gun, this procedure usually uses a special piercing needle. The main reason for this is that, because of the thick flesh of the tragus and anti-tragus, a gun can cause result in an improperly healed piercing and possibly an infection.

How the Piercing Is Done

The tragus and anti-tragus are thicker than the earlobe and therefore require a little bit of extra pressure on the part of the piercer. One piece of advice from me: do not do a tragus piercing at home yourself. Doing this will lead to a lot of complications. You need an expert to pierce it for you; he or she will also give you the necessary advice for caring for it. The main reason I am saying this is from experience. By this, I mean that I have had a few friends who have attempted a DIY tragus piercing, only to end up spending a lot more than they saved on medication and losing most of the beauty they hoped to gain because of the way the piercings healed.

Here are the steps that are followed by the piercer:

  • Your piercer cleans your ear with an alcohol swab.
  • He or she marks where the piercing will go and shows you a mirror to approve it.
  • You lie down on you back and hold the head in a still position.
  • To prevent any damage to your ear, and to hold the cartilage in place, the piercer clamps your tragus with forceps.
  • He or she then takes an 18-gauge hollow needle that is either straight or curved and pieces through the cartilage. It takes some pressure since there is a little more flesh here. There will be some bleeding of course, and this is normal.
  • After that, he or she inserts the jewelry.
  • You are done!

A piece of advice: It is very important to carefully choose the best starter jewelry, since you will have it on for quite some time before the piercing heals. A ball closure ring or CBR are the most common ones used.

Tragus Piercing

Anti-Tragus Piercing


Tragus piercing costs depend on where you live. In the United States, many places charge between $45 and $60, and you sometimes have to buy the jewelry separately. But the price tag should not bother you—at the end of the day, we all want a tragus looking good, not one that developed in a deformed manner because of poor care.

Diamond Studs
Diamond Studs

Does It Hurt?

If you have ever gotten another piercing, such as one in the nose, belly, or ear, then you do not have any reason to worry since the pain will be more or less the same.

After it has been pierced, it will be sore at first. But after three to five days, the pain goes away. After this, you will of course still have to wait for it to heal completely. The main reason the pain is minimal is because the tragus does not have a lot of nerves and not much blood through it, unlike other parts of the body such as the belly or nose. It does hurt, but not much, so don’t be scared to death.

You will also have to sleep on one side during this period to enable it to heal properly.

The tragus piercing is the one furthest to the left.
The tragus piercing is the one furthest to the left.


You are now left with the task of taking care of your new piercing. It usually takes approximately eight weeks for it to heal, and during this period, you have to take very good care of it to ensure it heals properly. The fact is that different people will respond differently to this procedure. Factors such as the type of your skin (oily or dry) and the state of your immune system and overall health (diabetics wounds take longer to heal) impact the healing process. That being said, here is what you are supposed to do to ensure that your piercing heals smoothly. After it is completely healed, you can go ahead and change out your jewelry.

  • Clean it three times a day for this duration with saline solution. Dip some cotton into the solution and clean the tragus on both sides. Gently allow some of the solution to go into the hole. Twist the jewelry a bit, but very gently, to ensure even distribution of the disinfectant solution.
  • Consider wearing button-up shirts to avoid getting into contact with the starter jewelry, as doing so will hurt and prolong the healing process.
  • Only touch your piercing with extremely clean hands, and by this I mean surgical clean.
  • Do not put on earphones on that ear. I'm not saying don’t listen to music. But when you do, use the other ear (assuming you just did one tragus piercing). The same goes for talking on the phone.
  • Only allow your piercing to touch very clean materials. This means ensuring that where you sleep or put your head to rest is extra clean to avoid getting any kind of infection.
  • Clean your piercing if any liquid comes out. Do not touch it dirty hands.
  • Do not swim. Swimming can increase the risk of an infection because of chemicals and bacteria in the water, so you will have to wait until the piercing heals completely before swimming at school, the beach, the pool.

If your tragus had not healed within the normal timeframe, the reason is usually the type of starter jewelry used. CBR containing nickel tends to heal more slowly, so it’s better to have surgical-grade jewelry.

Tragus Exclusive Club
Tragus Exclusive Club


Tragus and anti-tragus piercings, like any type of piercing, have a risk of infection. This risk is increased by improper piercing practices (the reason it is important to use a professional) and aftercare.

Your tragus might swell or you might get a boil or keloid. The simple way to treat it is to apply diluted tea tree oil or warm water and sea salt to the area. If these do not seem to work well, then you might consider changing the jewelry to something of a smaller gauge to take the pressure off. If the infection persists, see a doctor.

Cucumber Studs
Cucumber Studs

Types of Tragus Jewelry

After waiting for months for your tragus to heal, you will finally have the pleasure to switching out your jewelry as often as you like. The best options are the ones that best suit your personality and comfort.

There are:

  • Rings
  • Earrings
  • Studs
  • Barbells

All these come in different shapes, sizes, materials. They can either be made from simple metal or something more sophisticated, such as gold or diamond.

Macy's Tragus Piercing :) 012509

© 2010 JoanWhite

Comments 72 comments

Madden 3 months ago

It's interesting too see how pain is different between people. I've had 8+ piercings and a few of them are stretched. My tragus piercing is probably 3 years old now and doesn't hurt, of course, but it was the most painful body mod I've had-- including nipples and several large tats. It wasn't unbearable, but if it closed up, I'd have to think long and hard about getting it done again. I think my tragus is thicker than average; the amount of time the needle was sticking out of my ear probably psychologically contributed to the pain.

Kiana 3 months ago

i have my tragus pierced, and when i try to change it, the back wont come off and it hurts really bad.. what do i o now?

ANNA 5 months ago

I just recently got my tragus pierced 2 days ago and it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I honestly thought them lining up the hole hurt worse then the needle. I have a very very low pain tolerance and tend to pass out when I get new piercings but I was fine with this one!

shannon 18 months ago

Hiya I had my tragus pierced just over 11 weeks ago but whilst cleaning Iit I dropped the bar and can no longer find it (it was my only one ) so I was just wondering will it close up or will it stay open

em 18 months ago

I got my tragus pierced when i was 14 (im now 17) and it felt like a hot needle going through but it was over in 5 seconds! After that it was just stinging the rest of the day but then it was fine and im terrible with pain! I had my anti tragus pierced yesterday and that was about the same amount of pain but i find it a lot harder to clean because its in such an awkward place and i can still see dry blood aound it but i don't know how to clean it without it hurting me, any advice?

Zoya 20 months ago

Most common jerelwy is either a ring or a short bar, or stud as you call it.Whichever jerelwy you ultimately want, it's better to heal with a straight or slightly curved bar initially regardless. Your piercer will measure to work out the best bar length for you. You can then put a gem stud on the outer side of the bar, and a flat back on the inside, just like you would for a labret piercing.You might have to buy a smaller bar once the initial swelling has gone to give a snug fit, especially if you use earphones.A tip for fast healing of any cartilage piercing: find a piercer who can do the piercing with a dermal/biopsy punch. This removes the cartilage altogether rather than pushing out on it, and means your piercing should heal in a fraction of the time perhaps a 3-4 months rather than close to a year. There will also be less pain both during and after the procedure.Note that if you're in Florida (and perhaps certain other places of the world), you have no choice but to have a traditional needle piercing as biopsy punches are regarded as controlled medical tools.

Haley 2 years ago

Hi! I got my TRAGUS pierced about 10 weeks ago and I have to take it out for volleyball games. They are about 2 hours, will it close?? Thanks so much!

Roswitha 2 years ago

Pierced. My tragus in July 2013. Its been almost 10months. Took the jewellery out two days ago, and it feels like the holé has blocked out. Its not there anymore. I bleed When i try to apply a little force, when pushng the jewellery in.

Could my tragus piercing be blocked for good after just three days?

G97 3 years ago

I have got both of my traguses pierced getting my first tragus pierced hurt loads about 7 or 8 out of 10 but it was over in seconds and it healed really well 2nd time about 6 and a half because I was prepared for the pain it is essential to keep it clean though

had my 3 years ago

Had my tragus pierced 5 daysago and I now have some inner ear pain and in my gums at that side. No redness or swelling. Have a bit of an upset stomach. Could I have an infection?

kim 3 years ago

I got my tragus done 6 days ago. It hurt bad going in, more then my bellybutten, that day was a lil sore. Now it only hurts when I'm cleaning it. I can sleep on it without any problems. I haven't had any crustys its not red or swollen. However I'm having a verry hard time cleaning the back. I seem to only get the one side. I'm only cleaning with worm water and light sope 3times a day

Kk 3 years ago

I got my tragus pierced a day ago and it is very tender! My throat also feels funny on that side could it have anything to do with my piercing?

Emily 4 years ago

I'm getting my tragus pierced in two days and thanks to your hub im no longer nervous! Thanks!

Jess 4 years ago

i got my tragus pierced when I was 13, didn't hurt one bit, just bled a lot after so the stud was getting stuck to the dried blood. a few days ago I pierced my own nose , and my second holes in my ear lobes, piercings are addictive and actually are safe to do yourself :)

Courtney6 4 years ago

Is it normal to have jaw pain after getting it done?

I had mine done 4 days ago and it was fine but the last day or so i have been experiencing an aching jaw...

Mary jane 4 years ago

I had mine done yesterday & I love it! It hurt a lot for me because the needle didn't go through the back.

Chloe 4 years ago

I had mine done yesterday and it's awesome:)

E.P 4 years ago

I got my tragus pierced yesterday, it didn't hurt at all. I don't even realise its there unless i accidentally knock it.

If your considering it, get it done because its honestly worth it. And it looks awesome when its done. You wont be disappointed, i promise! :)

Denisse Torres 4 years ago

I got my tragus pierced exactly a week, I had not had any pain or discomfort, however this morning I woke up and my tragus is red and swollen and It hurts, not tons but I have some discomfort.. could anyone give me some information letting me know if this is normal or not!! could it be an infection??

jake 4 years ago

Who ever tells you it hurts is lying. I had mine done today and the only way to descripe it is uncomfortable its deffinatly not painful. When the needle first goes in you can hear the grissle crunch and when it comes out the other end a pop. I have had myne 10 hours now and I've already slept on it. No pain whatsoever $6 I don't even no I have it unless I knock it. Nothing to be scarred of and totally worth it

lori-erin-wood profile image

lori-erin-wood 4 years ago from Alaska

I got both of mine pierced the same session. It didn't hurt at all for me. I love them so much.

cassie 4 years ago

hey guys! i just pierced my tragus last night with sterile equipement and piercing jewelry. im using Detol anti-bacterial cream, i find that the spray that i used for my helix was to harsh for my skin, but this cream is great! i was just wondering how long it usually takes for the pain to go away, my jaw is sore but i don't want any major pain or rashes. help?

jess01 4 years ago

Yes it does hurt! but it lastest like 5 seconds! it doesn't bleed hardly anything and it really itsn't sore. I just got mine done like 2 days ago and i use bactine spray (it's in a green bottle)

Andrea 4 years ago

How much does it bleed when you get your tragus ?

Heather 4 years ago

Hi, I'm thinking about getting my tragus pierced, I've had my lobes and upper cartilage done both several years back. I was wondering what level of pain most of you went through, i know everyone is different. Would you say that a needle is better than a gun? If i get it done professionally how much would it cost and what would you recommend to clean it with? I'm just a little nervous about getting it pierced because some said that the pain was unbearable and now I'm syking myself out. thanks

Cassie 4 years ago

I've got both mine done and they were the best piercings I ever had. They hurt the least and healed the quickest!

Kontar 4 years ago

@Abbz you really do have to realize that some people (like me) get an adrenaline rush right before the piercing is done. I got my tragus done 4 weeks ago (my sister in law did it) I was waiting for an immense amount of pain because everyone who I have asked said it was painful to the point of tears. Long story short I didn't even feel it go through and I haven't had any pain what so ever.

As for the care, I know the Hub says to clean it 3 times a day but really you should just watch your bodies reaction and figure out how often to clean it. I have piercings in more than one area of my body, and I found that for each piercing the care was different.

It is possible to over clean the piercing and irritate it, so be careful.

AND do NOT use soap to clean your piercing, it can cause it to not heal right and leave scaring. If the tragus isn't gauged it will close and you wont even see where it was before fyi.

Abbz 4 years ago

i had mine done bout a week back, and it killed didn't expect it to hurt that much so i think people who say it didn't hurt are lying, mines proper swollen got dry skin all up my ear and face i use salt water and this spray hopefuly it will heel soon because i hate the hoop i look like a greebo lol

sadiexx 4 years ago

For me, it was pretty bad. I don't know why, but each person is different that's for sure. It bled quite a bit even though it was maybe 3/10 on the pain scale. I also developed a kind of earache after and the swelling of my jaw (by the tragus) came up a little under a week where I couldn't smile or laugh without feeling awkward pain/tension. It went away in a couple of days (painkillers are a good best friend) and has been healing very well so far (I've now had it for a little over a month); now it's like it's not even there. :) Worth it to get if you know what you're getting into. I would also warn that this piercing should always be professionally done; it's very risky!

Jessica 4 years ago

I have had my tragus pierced for YEARS. How long does it take to close up? my captive bead fell out a few months ago but my ring fell out today and i cant seem to get anything thru....

Angie11 4 years ago

I've had both my tragus done five weeks ago and I have a bubble behind it it's soft and tender to touch and it's worse on my right side. It keeps getting knocked like when I brush my hair or when I'm holding my six month old daughter and she hits it and I sleep on that side mostly too. So I Just wanted to know what's the quickest way for it to heal?

AnDrea 4 years ago

im getting my tragus pierced tomorrow and a little scared .. what would yu rate the pain 1-10 ... i have my belly button and nose pierced .. is it worser ot the same ?? :O

Sylvia 4 years ago

The best way to avoid a piercing being more painful then it should be would be to get it done by an experienced professional. I got mine done in Australia for $50AUD.

Anyway, does anyone else's jaw kinda ache after their tragus piercing?

Lexi 4 years ago

I'm 12 and thinking about having my friend do it because she just peirced hers but I'm worried it will hurt a lot but Iv wanted it peirced forever I don't tolerate pain so well can u tell me how u can peirce it without hurting so bad? And if u get it done perfessonialy how much does it cost?

Gwen 4 years ago

Step 2 of how it's done. "A sizeable cock is placed in the canal". Oh jeez, typo. Ha, I want this piercing...

kel 4 years ago

i had my tragus pierced last saturday i never felt a thing at all and didn't hear no crunching etc like most have its been almost a week and i have had no after pain what so ever i been keeping clean with the stuff my piercer suggested i had mine pierced with a needle because from what i hear having it done with a gun the impact can cause your ear to collapse

Andrea 4 years ago

i pierced my tragus and i accidentally fell on it, next think you know it went in the ear i cant get it out, the next day it went straight throw and now the skin has grown , so now it is in the ear the only thing you can see is the back of the earring. sometimes i am in so much pain, i think i have to get it surgically removed. What's worst i cant get the back off of the earring, i have tried numerous times. If i get it off i will just slit the ear and pull it through. Any ideas, plz help

NGarcia27 4 years ago

So I pierced my tragus 4 months ago and its infected ... Well today I changed my jewelry even though it is infected.. Do you think anything bad can happen with changing jewelry while having an infection ?

lukki7 4 years ago

I was lying down when i got my tragus done and frankly i thought it was a good idea, considering the angle she and i both had to be on for her to pierce it. I think i would have been less fidgety lying down as well.

Mine also got infected. I truly believe in the L.I.T.H.A method..i found that the more i babied it..the longer it took to heal. When i got fed up and just left it the hell healed no issue.

chasity 4 years ago

Got my anti tragus pierced 3 days ago still a little sensitive to touch but no crusting. Pain wasn't bad but hurt worse than getting my nipples done.

Jillian 4 years ago

I got my tragus pierced about 11 months ago. It recently got infected and I had to take it out. Do you think it will close?

veronica 4 years ago

I just pierced my tragus 3 days ago and its really sore to the point when I laugh .. I can actually feel it. Is that normal? I also got it pierced with the gun instead of a needle.. Bad idea ??

Isha 5 years ago

I got my tragus pierced 8 weeks ago. There was "pain" for like 5 seconds (and when I say pain I mean the sharp pinch you would normally feel when a sharp object enters your skin, like when getting a shot) and then a alot of pressure, because the thick cartilage of the tragus will naturally resist. It throbbed for an hour or so and then no pain besides tenderness when I cleaned it or when I accidentally tapped it. All piercings are supposed to crust until it heals, the crust is made of lymph, which is the body's natural defense system. All of my piercings (2 eyebrow, 1 labret/lip, 1 tragus) crusted until healed. About 2 weeks ago it stopped crusting enough that I can freely move the jewelry at any given time. I think I can finally change the jewelry! I used Dial gold antibacterial liquid soap and Bactine spray. I've never used saline on piercings before, but bactine and dial are pretty cheap and can be found anywhere if you can't get saline.

diana 5 years ago

just got both of my tragus pierced. to be honest, to me, it didn't hurt at all. i'd rate the pain 2, from 1-10.

AE5 5 years ago

I am thinking about getting my tragus and my belly button pierced. With the least to say I am a little nervous. I have had my lobes pierced twice and they didn't hurt at all. I would give them like a 2 on a scale of on a scale of 1-10 how bad is the tragus piercing and how bad is the belly button piercing? please let me know your honest opinion.

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Daniela Your right it also depends on the person

F. Thanks

5 years ago


Interesing hub. Voted up.

So pain-wise, it must hurt more than lobe piercings, right? but less than some piercings?

Daniela 5 years ago

Hey Elizabeth, well pain really depends per person... But I have my tragus pierced and it didn't hurt that bad! The next day it wasn't even hurting at all... If you really want it go for it! It's over in seconds :)

Ashlee 5 years ago

I got my tragus piercing done today. Im 14 years old and this is my first big piercing. I don not always tollorate pain well so i was vey nervous. My piercer did an amawing job! He had me lie down and it was done withing 3 mins. I felt pain for anout 10 seconds then it faded away and my ear got really hot. It is not sore in general just a little tender when you clean it.

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Hi Elizabeth the pain is not so much i can say that its in between nose piercing and bellybutton piercing. Also the time of the day when you get pierced really matters mornings or evenings are best but during the day when the sun is hot? you will sure feel pain.

Elizabeth 5 years ago

I really want to get me tragus pierced but im very bad with pain. I had my nose pierced and it didn't hardly hurt at all but when i had my bellybutton pierced it hurt really bad. Would you say the pain is worse than a nose or bellybutton piercing?

m0therfuckerr95 5 years ago

23rd birthday. persuading my uncle to take me to get my tragus pierced! excited tho!

Alyson  5 years ago

um, i was thinking about getting mine done.

should I be worried about the side effects?

Crista08 5 years ago

I got my tragus pierced almost a week ago and I've noticed the swelling has not gone down at all, is that normal? It doesn't hurt, it's just very swollen.

Kim 5 years ago

Just had mine done and I love it! :)

Hurt a tiny bit but then it's over :D

jjgirl 5 years ago

I'm considering getting a tragus piercing, been back and forth on it forever. I have one rook and two conch piercings (one in each ear) and generally didn't have too many problems except a slight bump (not a keloid) on my right conch. The pain on my left side was worse than the right, but I keep hearing that tragus piercings barely hurt. How does the tragus compare to those piercings as far as pain/healing go?

I'm also concerned with things like cartilage collapse, how it will close up once I'm over it (will there be a visible hole left over or will it close over time?), and how long until I can use headphones in both ears (generally)?

Thanks! Super informative site!

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Cynthia i don't know what might have caused it to get crusty but when you wash it make sure that the saline solution goes into the tragus piercing while trying to twist it a little bit. Give it some time it will heal and avoid any contact with the piercing. With time it will heal another month or so would be safe to change the ring.

Tracy 5 years ago

After I got my tragus done I nearly fainted and I'm not normally to bad with pain.

bristol 5 years ago

im planning on getting my tragus pierced but im concerned that it might get ripped out when i take my helmet off after hockey.

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Njh sometimes the time of day and the weather when the Tragus is Pierced also matters and during the morning or when there is cold weather you will not feel as much pain as vice versa.

njh 5 years ago

My piercing hurt sooooooo bad. And I can take pain really well. I was pierced with the curved hollow needle and I don't know if it was just because I have thick cartilage in my tragus or what but it hurt. I almost felt sick like I was gonna pass out. But of course I took the pain because I've always wanted my tragus's pierced lol

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 6 years ago from Chicago Author

XstaceyxXx Taking care of your tragus is more important than having it pierced. Small mistakes usually cause huge irreversible damage. Take care of your other Tragus Piercing :)

xstaceyxXx profile image

xstaceyxXx 6 years ago

i had my tragus pierced last year, sadly it got infected :( and i had to take it out :( :(

i got a little hard lump and there was nothing left to do but let it heal. Im thinking of getting the other ear done soon though, you just have to make sure you take care of it properly!

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 6 years ago from Chicago Author

@ Butterfly Tragus piercing is not as painful as you think. It is even less painful than other body piercings.

butterfly Tattoo profile image

butterfly Tattoo 6 years ago from Dallas Texas

Don't know why , but having a tragus piercing terrifies me,

Ithink this article has convinced me to leave well enough alone

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 6 years ago from Chicago Author

@ Ripplemaker thanks and please vote for me

@ Alex they cause a reaction to the tragus so you should only use saline solution. The reason it takes long to heal is because this part of the ear has very little blood circulation.

Alex 6 years ago

what about showers, shampoo, soap etc ?? is it safe? and why the hell does it take so long to heal ?

Alex 6 years ago

what about showers, shampoo, soap etc ?? is it safe? and why the hell does it take so long to heal ?

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

My ears are tingling with the word piercing hehehe Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! :)

JoanWhite profile image

JoanWhite 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Lying on the back helps to keep the head stable. It is not really necessary. Ok about studs after the piercing has healed is when you are to wear them not before it has healed. Studs can be worn on any piercing. I beg to differ with you on this one.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

I meant to add that studs should never be worn in any type of piercing, as they can harbor bacteria in the backing.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

Pain is dependent per person, so it's hard to say how bad it will hurt and for how long. There's also no need to lie on your back to get the piercing, as you can see in most of the videos that you posted, no one was lying down.

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