What is a Tragus Piercing?

B. Miller

A tragus piercing is a piercing that is done through the small piece of cartilage found on the outside of the ear, just before the entrance to the ear canal. This type of piercing may only be done by a professional piercer using a piercing needle, and should never be done with a piercing gun used for piercing earlobes. For people who want a more unique piercing than an earlobe or cartilage piercing on the upper ear, yet still one that is acceptable in most working environments, a tragus piercing can be a good alternative.

A tragus piercing is done on the cartilage on the outside of the ear just before the entrance to the ear canal.
A tragus piercing is done on the cartilage on the outside of the ear just before the entrance to the ear canal.

It will be necessary to visit a professional piercing studio to receive a tragus piercing. Some piercers prefer to use a straight needle, while others will use a curved needle; it does not make a difference in the finished product. The needle will be hollow, the type used for piercings, and of a small gauge. Once the needle has been placed through the cartilage and into the receiving tube to prevent damage to the ear canal, a piece of jewelry will be inserted; captive-bead rings are the most popular because they are often the best for healing, though some may also insert a post earring.

Salt water can be used to clean a tragus piercing and prevent infection.
Salt water can be used to clean a tragus piercing and prevent infection.

The tragus piercing will begin to heal over the next eight to sixteen weeks, though some piercers recommend leaving the original jewelry in for a year or more. This is because healing in the cartilage is notoriously difficult, and because it is easy to bump this area while it is healing or to get hair caught around the piercing. It is better to be safe than sorry and to allow the piercing to heal completely before making a switch; an infection can be dangerous, and can lead to permanent scarring or damage. In order to prevent infection, it will be necessary to follow the piercer's instructions carefully.

It is important to clean the tragus piercing at least once per day, though some piercing professionals might recommend twice per day. Usually a sterile saline solution and alcohol solution is used to clean the area and kill any bacteria that could potentially cause infection. It is important not to touch the tragus piercing while it is healing, except to move the jewelry to prevent the cartilage from growing around it; be sure to wash the hands thoroughly before touching the piercing. In addition, try not to sleep on top of the tragus piercing, which can lead to the growth of scar tissue.

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Discussion Comments


I just got a tragus piercing yesterday and it didn't hurt at all! I also have an eyebrow piercing and a nose piercing and this was definitely the least painful one.


@donasmrs-- I'm not an expert but I do have a tragus piercing and I think it's absolutely safe. Some people might experience infection, but that's a risk with every type of body piercing.

As long as the piercing is kept clean and infections are properly treated, it won't cause any problems.

If you do decide to get one, make sure you have it done by an experienced professional. I also suggest having a bar put in made of titanium. When I first got my piercing, they put in a steel ring and that caused a lot of irritation for me.


I have three piercings on each of my earlobes. I also wanted a tragus piercing but my mom didn't let me. She's a nurse and she keeps saying that there are a lot of important nerves that go through that area that eventually lead to the brain and that it's dangerous to get a piercing there. But I know that there are many people who have their tragus pierced and who have never experienced any problems.

Is piercing the tragus dangerous or not?

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