Tragus Cartilage Info

Tragus piercings look interesting. The tragus is the small flap of cartilage at the front of your ear where it joins the head. It is usually a rounded triangle shape and how far it sticks out from your head depends on your anatomy since not everyone's tragus' is the same size. If your tragus is too shallow or too thin it can affect whether it's possible to pierce the flap or it's ability to keep the jewelry without rejection. Tragus piercings take a longer time to heal than other piercings – up to 2-3 months. It is often quite hard to heal because of the placement.

How a Tragus Piercing is Done

Usually the area is disinfected or washed before piercing. This is because ear wax and other debris can be full of bacteria which may get into the piercing. Some piercers actually put a cork into the ear canal to keep any skin or debris from falling back into the ear. The piercing is usually done laying flat or on your side with a hollow surgical needle. It is normal to bleed a little after a tragus piercing for a few minutes up to a few hours. The piercing requires a bit of force because it goes through cartilage and it it normal to hear a slight “pop” when that happens. It is not a particularly painful piercing when done properly using a piercing needle. There are some shops (such as Claire's) which will attempt to pierce the tragus with a piercing gun. This is usually done by untrained piercers and should be avoided. A sterile needle is the only way to correctly pierce a tragus.

What Do Tragus Piercings Mean

A tragus piercing is the piercing placed upon the little flap of cartilage that is directly in front of the ear canal attached to the head. It is considered an ear piercing, and also considered a cartilage piercing.

Is a Tragus Piercing Painful?

The tragus piercing if done properly should be a really easy piercing to get done. It's pretty thin cartilage that when pierced by a professional piercer it should be fairly pain free. As with all piercings expect a quick pinch and then some slight pulling and tugging on the jewelry during insertion and not much else.

How long does a Tragus Take to Heal?

Most tragus piercings will take roughly around 2-3 months to heal. Everybody heals differently though and at different rates. It's not out of the ordinary to see a little bit longer healing times occasionally. Once you've gone past the 2-3 months and experienced 2-3 weeks without seeing any crust or discharge, and haven't seen any redness or experienced any pain or soreness then your piercing is probably healed.

Do Surface Tragus Piercings Reject?

The rejection rate on a surface tragus piercing, as with all surface piercings, is high. Most surface piercings are going to eventually reject. Usually if you decide to get a surface tragus piercing then go into it knowing that eventually it will probably not work out. With that being said though, they are not impossible to heal. If you decide to get this piercing then make sure you seek out a professional piercer in your are who can help you have the highest success rate possible.

What Do You Clean a Tragus Piercing With?

Professional body piercers and the body piercing community in general recommends using sterile saline sprays for cleaning a tragus piercing. The sterile saline spray when sprayed directly on a tragus piercing helps to flush the piercing and also rinse off any dirt, bacteria, and buildup that may occur on or around the jewelry. Recommended brands of sterile saline spray are Nielmed, H2Ocean, and Sterile Saline Wound Wash.

Can you wear headphones with a tragus piercing?

As long as your tragus piercing is well healed you should have no problems wearing headphones. When your tragus is originally pierced the piercer will put longer jewelry into the fresh piercing to compensate for swelling and healing. After one month you can return to have that jewelry downsized. During that initial month of healing headphones are not recommended. They may cause a lot of unnecessary trauma to the piercing as well introduce dirt and bacteria. But once you feel your tragus is healed then headphones should not be a problem at all.

Tragus Jewelry

Most tragus piercings use internally threaded barbells because they are easiest to fit in and out of the piercing. Depending on your preference you may get a barbell between 18G - 14G in size. The average tragus piercing uses a 5/16" length barbell but because the thickness of a tragus can differ this may not fit your anatomy and your piercer will adjust the length accordingly. Since most piercings swell initially it's important to have a barbell that leaves enough room for the swelling without becoming embedded in your ear. It's important to have that room on the barbell during the healing for swelling, draining, and cleaning but you can step down to a more snug piece of jewelry once the piercing itself has healed in a couple of months.

Shop Tragus Rings

Tragus Piercing Aftercare

During the entire healing period you want to avoid rotating the jewelry. This is because if it scabs rotating the jewelry will rip that scab and disrupt the healing process. You should avoid sleeping on the piercing if possible and try not to hit or knock it with a brush or hand. If you are wearing headphones opt for in-ear headphones as this will help minimize the chance of irritation or infection from over-ear designs. When you sleep on the piercing you put pressure on it which can cause scar tissue and swelling. If you can't avoid sleeping on it you should keep your hair tied back from the piercing and keep a clean pillow case on the bed to avoid getting dust mites or bacteria into your piercing but do not cover the piercing itself.

Girl Tragus Piercing

Do not put alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or neosporin on the piercing. This affects your healing. You'll also want to avoid anti-bacterial soaps and scented soaps. You can wash the outside of the piercing with a sea salt water solution with clean hands, barely rubbing the piercing so that it isn't rotating. This will keep the outside from becoming crusty. You can soak the piercing in the same saline solution mixed of 1 gallon distilled water to 4 teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt. Soaking is difficult because of the location, but you can do it with a small glass shot glass or coffee cup filled with the solution and your head tilted to the side. You can also do a compress with a clean cloth soaked in the solute.You don't want to use cotton balls or q-tips because the small hairs can get stuck in the piercing and irritate it or cause an infection. They can also become wrapped around the piercing jewelry.