The Tragus: Piercing, Healing, and Jewelry Styles

Like most piercings of the ear cartilage, the tragus piercing is named for the anatomical portion of the ear that is being pierced: the tragus. Your tragus is the fleshy nub of cartilage that protrudes from the inside edge of the ear and rests just in front of the opening of your ear canal. Because this part of the ear is thicker cartilage than many other parts and is in such a sensitive area, piercings of the tragus are most often done with a small gauge hollow needle, rather than a gun.

Once the piercing has been completed by a professional, healing time is generally at least six to eight weeks, and care must be taken to avoid infection. Because of its placement, tragus jewelry is easily caught on the hair, or irritated by hair products, make-up, or sleeping position. To prevent against these types of irritation and stave off infection, it’s advisable to follow your piercer’s cleaning instructions to the letter for a full twelve weeks. And here are some other things you can do to make healing as pleasant and pain free as possible:

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1. Try not to sleep on the side of your head where the piercing is, and wash or change out pillow cases as often as possible.

2. Take care when doing activity that involves this area. Cell phone usage is a huge culprit when it comes to infection, so try to talk with the phone against your other ear or sanitize phone surfaces before and after use.

3. Avoid the use of make-up on or near the tragus area, and always cover and protect your piercing when using hairspray.

4. If possible, wear hair back or off the face for at least the first few days after being pierced. This will help to not get long hair caught on your jewelry which could tug against the fresh piercing causing pain or irritation.

5. Discontinue the use of earphones during healing, as they items are extremely difficult to properly clean and are known to carry dangerous bacteria that shouldn’t come in contact with a fresh piercing.

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6. Try not to wear clothing that pulls on and off tightly over the head, like pull-over hooded sweatshirts or thick woven sweaters.

The type of jewelry a tragus piercing is initially done with will normally be a BCR (ball captive ring) or a closure ring. This is a ring that passes through the piercing and is closed off by a small ball or decoration held into the free ends by divots.

Once entirely healed up, many people choose to change out their ring for a stud tipped with a small ornamentation or a gem.

Tragus piercings are a popular and aesthetically pleasing piercing with a relatively short healing time and a great variation of available jewelry that can be worn.