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Published Saturday, June 17, 2023

Tragus Piercing Guide: Types, Jewelry, Pain, Healing, and Aftercare


Tragus piercings have become ultra popular in recent years. They're a fashionable alternative or addition to traditional earlobe piercings and can coordinate with your other jewelry for a super-cool effect. 

In this guide, we're covering all the tragus piercing information you need, including:

The 4 Kinds of Tragus Piercings: What Are They and What Do They Look Like?

It's easy to get confused when learning about the various tragus piercings because they're all located somewhere on the cartilage around your ear. Let's break it down. The four kinds of tragus are the standard tragus, the anti-tragus, the vertical tragus, and a surface tragus.  


The Standard Tragus 
A standard tragus piercing is a single-hole piercing through the ear's tragus, which is the small, thick, and rounded cartilage right in front of your ear canal. 


The Anti-Tragus Piercing 
This piercing is located on the triangular-shaped piece of cartilage across from your tragus and right above your earlobe. It's ideal for smaller ear jewelry such as hoops or curved barbells.


The Vertical Tragus Piercing 
This piercing is located on the same cartilage area as the standard piercing. But instead of a single-hole piercing for a horizontally placed hoop, it's a double-hole piercing that pierces the length of the tragus. This piercing does go through the cartilage and makes the skin appear raised.  


The Surface Tragus Piercing 
This piercing looks a lot like the vertical piercing, except that it only pierces the skin in front of the tragus area, not the cartilage. Instead of piercing into the cartilage toward the ear canal, this piercing goes through the skin in front of and parallel to the tragus.

Note: A tragus surface piercing can look like two dermal piercings! However, the surface tragal uses one piece of jewelry with entry and exit holes, while dermal studs are one-hole piercings with dermal anchors under the skin. In general, the body is less likely to reject a surface piercing than a one-point dermal piercing

Jewelry for Tragus Piercings: Types, Sizes, and Materials 

If you're guessing that each tragus area needs different jewelry, you'd be right! Studs, rings, and barbells are great for standard tragus piercings. Most people wear rings in the anti-tragus piercing, but you can also wear curved or horseshoe-style jewelry pieces. Both the vertical and surface piercings require a curved piece with two ends. The ends are visible, but not the curved bar under the skin. 

Tragus hoops tend to be 6 mm or 8 mm. Most piercers use a 16 gauge needle, which is 1.2mm thick. By comparison, your standard lobe piercing uses a larger, 20-gauge needle. It's ideal to wear 16 gauge jewelry to prevent your piercing from shrinking. 

Materials used for these piercings are usually stainless steel, titanium or gold.

Shop our tragus and anti-tragusjewelry!

Tragus Piercing Pain: How Bad Is It?

Many people like to know the pain they should expect before they get a piercing. Of course, everyone's pain threshold is different, but this piercing generally has a pain level of 6/10. 
This is because it's harder to pierce cartilage, so your piercer needs more force. It's sharp enough to make many people's eyes water, but the sensation tends to be short-lived. Some people get piercings in less painful areas to work up to this piercing, while others are good to go without preparing for it in any way.

Tragus Piercing Healing and Aftercare

Regardless of which tragus piercing you get, it will take a relatively long time to heal fully. You're in the ballpark of 6-12 months. It's recommended to wear the jewelry you originally got pierced with for the first 12 months, so be sure to get something you'll love. 

Tragus piercing healing can be tricky. Your tragus presses against things like cell phones, headphones, and pillows - a lot! And these things tend to be pretty germy. This is why taking really good care of this piercing is paramount.

For starters, disinfect your cell phone regularly - the more, the better. Shoot for at least once a day. Avoid wearing headphones or earbuds, at least for the first 4-8 weeks. After that, avoiding these things is still a good idea if you can handle it. If you're a side sleeper, try to avoid sleeping on it. Not only do you have to worry about germs from your pillowcase, but pressure on the wound impacts healing time. But fear not - travel pillows can help with this. If you do use a regular pillow, keep it clean! 

Ear wax can also impact healing. Ear wax is your body's way of keeping dirt, microbes, bacteria, and other nasties out. The wax captures these things and is then expelled from your canal, right? So, the wax is full of all the nasties that you don't want anywhere near your fresh piercing. So, as your piercing heals, ensure you're cleaning your ears out regularly. It's a good idea to clean them before you get your piercing. That way, you might not have to do it the first four weeks or so, when your wound is most vulnerable. 

Aside from cleaning the ear canal, use a sterile saline solution to clean the piercing two times a day for the first 2-3 months. After that, you can get away with once a day or so. And as with any piercing, avoid touching it with your hands - which we all know are notoriously germy. 

Avoid harsh skin care, soaps, and oils while your piercing is healing. 

Shop our body piercing cleanser selection.

Additional Tragus Piercing Information

Tragus piercings are super popular and an easy way to express yourself since you can "layer" the type and number of piercings together, which is an awesome look. Standard, vertical, and anti-tragus piercings can only be done if your physiology supports them. A good piercer will tell you if you have enough area to pierce safely. Ears are one of those areas that vary widely from person to person.

We hope we answered all your questions about tragus piercings in this guide. If you have more questions about the piercings or the jewelry, email us at help@Bodyartforms.com.