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tragus piercing

Tragus Piercings

Subtle, with just a tiny bit of edginess. Tragus piercings are a unique way to decorate your ear without opting for a more traditional lobe or cartilage piercing. If you've never had a cartilage piercing, it can be quite intimidating to head into a piercing studio for the first time... What exactly does it feel like to get your tragus pierced?

The tragus is a tiny "nub" of cartilage located near your temple. It's that tiny, rigid flap of cartilage that quasi protects your ear. Naturally, this little nub makes for a perfect place for a piercing! Most individuals wear a cartilage stud in this piercing, but hoops and other styles can also be worn in your tragus (as long as the gauge of the jewelry matches the gauge of your piercing).

Odds are, your tragus isn't your first piercing. You've been to a piercing shop before - the professional piercer is going to sit you down in a sterilized setting, mark you up with a fancy purple marker, and then push a needle through your tragus. This part is going to hurt, at least in some way... But is it going to be a pinch? Is it going to sting for hours?

Whether it be concerning an ear piercing, belly button piercing, tongue piercing, or anything else, it's important to remember that everyone's body is different. Every professional piercer's technique is different. Every piercing parlor will have a different environment. With so many variables, it is no surprise that experiences will vary from person to person. Even if the same person goes to the same shop with the same piercer, there's no guarantee that you'll feel the same every time!

Even though their experiences will differ from your own, we wanted to find a way to share what a tragus piercing might feel like for you! Body Candy has reached out to five (5) individuals with tragus piercings from around the country. They recalled their trips to the piercing studio to hopefully give an insightful window into what a tragus earring might feel like! Read their stories below:

P.S. The tragus isn't the only ear piercing... Did you know there are over a dozen different ways to pierce your ear? For more ideas, check out our Ear Piercing Dictionary!

Note: some names/faces below have been changed for individual privacy

tragus piercing

Carli S. - Fairfax, VA

Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to get my tragus done... I'm not a facial piercing kind of girl, but I do love the way piercings look and the actual art of piercing, so I figured a tragus piercing was the perfect way to compromise.

The trip to my piercer was pretty standard... Show up, sign a release, sit down, get marked up, etc. What I remember most about my tragus piercing experience was "the pop." My piercer explained to me that this part of my ear cartilage was relatively thick, so there might be an audible sound when the needle went through.

Yep! There was!

It was kind of weird/gross to hear my ear "pop," but beyond that, it was exactly what you'd expect. More painful than my navel piercing, but not worse than my nipple piercings. I'd rate it a 6/10 on the pain scale.

If I had any advice... Make sure you get your tragus done on the side of your head that you don't sleep on! I had to learn how to sleep on my right side for a few months.

Cartilage earrings

Siobhan O. - Ogden, UT

I have two helix piercings, a conch, and my earlobes stretched, plus a whole bunch of other piercings! I wanted to add just a little bit more to my ear look, so I went with my tragus next.

I love going to my piercer, we're basically on a first-name basis now. I already knew what to expect when I walked in. Stop at the counter and fill out your release form. Head to the back. Sit down in the chair. We made small talk for a bit while she put gloves on and got her instruments ready.

Here's what you should expect. A weird clamp pushing down on a part of your ear you've never had grabbed before. And then a big, sharp pain as the needle passes through your tragus. Ouch... I'd give it an 8/10 out of the pain scale, but it was over so quick it was fine to just deal with it in the moment. My friend warned me about a popping sound as the needle went through, but I didn't experience it myself.

I love my tragus now! Totally worth the few minutes of pain.

tragus hoop
Brett Z. - Chicago, IL

I have always liked the look of tragus earrings and finally decided to get one myself. Earrings are cool, but I wanted the look of something a bit different, so I've been wearing a hoop in mine.

I definitely remember a popping sound as the needle went through the clamp. That was a little off-putting, just a very strange sound accompanied by a very strange sensation. I'd rate it a 5/10 on the pain scale. Not worse than my helix.

One thing I didn't take into consideration was the way it would affect my headphone usage. Your tragus is essentially right in the way of where a typical headphone would sit. Over-the-ear style headphones are an obvious no-no, but my piercer warned me about using Airpods too. Just an FYI.

Eyebrow ring
Ayli Y. - New Haven, CT.

I had my tragus done about a month ago and I swear it was my least painful of my ear piercings. Overall, I have three earlobe piercings that were super low on the pain scale, but I also have two helix piercings and a conch piercing that hurt quite a lot. The conch piercing for me was definitely the worst, it just hurt the most for me like 8/10. The helixes were both also very pinchy, more like a 6.5/10 for each. 

For my tragus, I was expecting a big crunch or pop with a big sore ear for the whole day but it was over and done before I knew it. Honestly, there's not much to say other than just clench your teeth and deal! It really only lasts a few seconds, with an hour or so of soreness afterward. My eyes welled up a bit with tears but that's to be expected, it was more like "I have to sneeze" tears than crying from pain. It was legit like a 2/10 on the pain scale for me, I highly recommend getting this one.

piercings and tattoos

Traci E. - Fayetteville, NC

So I got my tragus pierced at my local shop last year and it didn’t hurt... Like, at all.

Now that it's healed, I have had some difficulty changing my jewelry out, only because the angle is kind of strange. You can't really see the back of the jewelry in the mirror or anything. But you'll get used to the feel of it, I occasionally will put on a rubber glove if I need a little more grip on the ball end. 

TBH I think this one is a 1/10 on the pain scale for me. I went in with my friend and she also didn't seem like she felt any pain either. Just be careful when you go to sleep, it's easy to roll over onto the wrong side and sleep on your healing piercing. That has happened to me a few times and it ends up being sore the next day... But if you practice good aftercare and otherwise keep it clean and away from your hair, you should be good to go!

Tell us all about your ear piercing experience!

Opal body jewelry

Do you have a tragus piercing? How was your experience at the piercing shop? Would you recommend getting a cartilage piercing to your friends/family. We'd love to hear from you, too! Let us know all about your piercing experience in the comments below.

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  • F

    I got my first tragus piercings when I turned 18. Back then the jewlery selection avaiable is pretty slim and prices were jacked up at parlors. I had my left one done first. I was an adrenaline rush like iv never experienced. It hurt aome obviously but oddly in auch a good way that I chose to come back a week later to have the other one done so I could ride that adrenaline again. Back thenthe nursing home I worked in ended up putting in a body jewlery policy because of me lol. I was not taking those babies out for NOTHING! Quit that job. Many years passed and i under went several Mri procedures. Each time having to remove my jewlery but managed to keep in my tragus as the jewlery I had in needed pliers to remove. I finally had to take them out for a brain mri when I was in labor. I felt so naked. I loved these piercings because they r beautiful yet discrete if need be by simply wearing my hair down. I discovered Bodycandy.com many years before my tragus removal. I was sick of paying $20-30 for a nose stud. So I went on the hunt n found a company with a name I couldnt forget. I was so stratified with my replacement nose jewlery and eye brow that after years I finally went to get my tragus redone. Second wasnt as bad as the first time but the pain after was much worse. After care was an absolute must. My one ear the hole began to pull out and I have very little cartilage one the left side I forst had done. But I learned alot about my ears that day. My tragus is different sizes and have diffrent flexibly. One is very thick n stiff and makes jewelry held in place pretty well. My left side is tiny n flimsy. This can cause my jewlery to look odd if I dont have a peice that is small. I almost feel like if i use thicker gauges after it being piercing twice that the jewlery would just pull right thru tragus or rip it open. Im proud to say as part of Covid home remote schooling this mama has had my teenagers assist with changing my jewlery. We call it piercing 101 lol. Anyways lost track of what i was trying to convey. Bodycandy.com has an absoulty amazing selection at awesome prices. Being single mom of 3 kidos always come first but any chance I get I treat myself to new jewlery. Just changing Jewelry brings me joys…I wait excited for the mail to come like a little kid. I get excited to open the package n see my new peices that are so beautiful I look forward to getting them in asap. Feel like im 18 again looking in the mirror daily with little more confidence and a euphoric bliss. Thanks Bodycandy.com for expending my jewlery beyond just plain stainless steel hoops.

    Farrah Penird on

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