- The tragus piercing process usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes and costs about $40 to $120.
- Afterwards, you should clean it twice a day with a .9% sodium chloride saline solution.
- You may also have to make lifestyle changes for a bit, like sleeping on your back.
- Visit Insider's Health Reference library for more advice.
A tragus piercing is an ear cartilage piercing located on the inner corner of your ear that covers the ear opening. The technical name for this tissue is tragus, hence the name of the piercing.
If you're interested in a tragus piercing, here's what you can expect from the process, how much it costs, and how to take care of it.
What you can expect
The exact procedure for a tragus piercing will vary somewhat depending on local laws and policies wherever you get your piercing done, says Jef Saunders, a piercer and public relations coordinator for the Association of Professional Piercers (APP).
However, most piercers will follow a similar process. According to Saunders, here are the steps you can expect:
- The piercer will confirm your age (you'll probably be asked to provide an ID). Some states allow for minors to be pierced with a parent present and some do not.
- You'll be asked to sign a release form consenting to the piercing.
- The piercer will discuss your choices of jewelry with you and how to take care of your piercing at home.
- Next, the piercer will clean the tragus and mark where the piercing will go.
- The final step is the actual piercing of the tissue, which only lasts a second or two, Saunders says. The piercer will then insert the jewelry and the piercing is complete.
Professional piercers use single-use, sterile piercing needles and sterile tools to do the piercing, Saunders says.
The entire process takes about 30 to 45 minutes, Saunders says, and can range in cost depending on where you live and the type of jewelry you choose. In general, you can expect to pay about $40 to $120 for both the procedure and the jewelry.
Initial jewelry options for piercings often include:
- Surgical steel
- 14-karat to 18-karat gold
The price of jewelry can vary depending on where you get your piercing done, but in general steel or titanium options will be cheaper than gold or platinum.
The pain of a tragus piercing is similar to other cartilage piercings, described by Saunders as "modest but tolerable discomfort." Everyone experiences piercings differently though, so it's hard to say how the pain level might vary from person to person.
"In general, most piercings have an intensity on par with a blood draw," Saunders says.
Healing times can also vary by individual, but in general, an average healing time for a tragus piercing is about six months, Saunders says.
How to care for a tragus piercing
Once the piercing is done, you will need to keep it clean at home. Here's a guide on how to care for a tragus piercing:
- Wash your hands before touching your piercing to decrease the risk of infection.
- Clean the piercing at least twice a day with a sterile saline solution labeled for wound wash. Your saline should have .9% sodium chloride listed as the only ingredient.
- Rinse the solution off of your piercing thoroughly.
- Pat dry with a clean, disposable paper product. Cloth towels can hold bacteria and snag on jewelry, so it's best to use a disposable paper towel while your piercing is healing.
You may also need to make some lifestyle changes like:
- Sleeping on your back or the side of your body without a piercing. The pressure from sleeping on a piercing can cause it to swell and may make the piercing more painful.
- Avoiding certain headphones, like ones that go over the ear, which can aggravate the piercing.
Saunders recommends consulting with a piercer before you try to change the jewelry in your piercing. But if this isn't possible, you should make sure the piercing is well-healed by checking to see that there is no discharge coming from the hole. If the piercing looks fine, then you can switch earrings.
Side effects of a tragus piercing
In the days following a tragus piercing, you may experience:
- The secretion of a whitish/yellowish fluid that may form a crust on the jewelry and tighten the tissue as it heals
These side effects shouldn't last longer than one to two weeks after getting your piercing. If pain, swelling, or redness persists for longer or you notice a large amount of thick green or yellow discharge, seek medical attention. These can be signs of an infection that may require antibiotics.
A tragus piercing is an ear piercing done on the inner corner of the ear that sticks out over the ear's opening. The process of getting a tragus piercing varies from state to state, but in general, shouldn't take more than an hour and can range in cost from about $40 to more than $100.
After getting a tragus piercing, you should clean it twice a day with a saline solution labeled for wound wash. The piercing can take up to six months to heal and it's best practice to consult with a professional piercer before attempting to change the jewelry for the first time on your own.