The following information was taken from the “How To” section of the official website of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). ASAPS is a professional organization which provides education and research to improve surgical techniques, increase patient safety, and promote aesthetic plastic surgery.
Tragus Piercing: What Is It?
A tragus piercing is a small incision made into your skin at one side of your ear. The piercing is then filled with metal or plastic jewelry. The piercer may use a needle to draw out some of the material that surrounds the ear canal. This allows more blood flow to the area where it’s needed most.
What Are Some Common Side Effects From Getting a Tragus Piercing?
There are no known long term effects associated with getting a tragus piercing. However, there have been cases reported of complications such as bleeding, infection and even hearing loss after having them done.
When Should You Not Do a Tragus Piercing?
It is not recommended to do a tragus piercing if you have any of the following conditions:
Blood Clots in Your Body: If you’ve had blood clots in your body, it’s possible that the jewelry could puncture your eardrum. Also, if you’re over 35 years old and haven’t yet had a pacemaker fitted, don’t get one!
Drug Allergies: Some of the materials and instruments used in a piercing process may trigger allergic reactions, especially if you have certain types of metal or plastic allergies.
Numbness: If you are having any numbness or tingling sensations in your ear, it’s not a good idea to get this piercing.
Open Wounds: It is not a good idea to have this piercing done if you have any open wounds on or near your ear. This may lead to infection and other complications.
Pregnancy: It is not safe to get a tragus piercing during pregnancy. If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, it is best to wait until after the baby is born.
What Do You Need to Do Before Getting a Tragus Piercing?
There are some things that you will need to take care of before getting this type of piercing.
Eat a Good Meal: You should eat a good meal that’s high in iron and drink some water about an hour before your appointment. This will keep you from becoming dehydrated.
Keep the Area Clean: You will also want to make sure you keep the piercing area clean at all times by washing it with anti-bacterial soap. Don’t go swimming, sweating or get the earring wet until your next appointment!
Don’t Smoke: It’s also not a good idea to smoke before or after getting your tragus pierced. The nicotine in cigarettes can actually restrict blood flow, which can be dangerous during the procedure.
Be Relaxed: Before getting a tragus piercing, make sure you are completely relaxed. Take a warm bath or listen to soothing music to help you relax before getting the piercing.
How Is a Tragus Piercing Done?
The process of getting a tragus piercing is generally quick. It is usually done using an ear piercing gun. If you have very sensitive skin, the piercer may use a needle. Your piercer will clean the area with alcohol or another sanitizing solution and mark where the piercing will go. They will ask you if you’d like it placed in the center or to one side.
The needle is then positioned and the earring is placed. After this, the piercer will dab on some healing ointment or put a small Band-Aid on the area. Your piercer should tell you when to come back for your next appointment.
How Much Do Tragus Piercings Cost?
Ear piercing fees vary from place to place. Generally, you can expect to pay from $40 to $100 depending on where you go to get it done. At a professional body piercing studio, the fee will usually be higher.
What Are the Side Effects of a Tragus Piercing?
There are generally no serious side effects from getting a tragus piercing although it is possible to have some minor issues. Here are some of them:
Concern over Inflammation: The main concern with this type of piercing is that there could be some inflammation and swelling. This is most likely to happen the day of the piercing or shortly afterwards. Be sure to follow all aftercare instructions from your piercer and any signs of problems should go away within a few days.
If not, contact your piercer immediately.
Bumping the Piercing: It is very important that you avoid bumping or knocking the tragus piercing for at least the first month after getting it done. This can lead to complications or a delay of healing.
Risks of Using a Gun: One of the main risks with this piercing is using an ear piercing gun. These are notorious for leaving hard lumps of jewelry inside the piercing which can lead to problems. If you get your tragus pierced at a mall kiosk or similar establishment, there is a good chance it was done with a gun.
If this is the case, you may want to think about redoing the piercing with a needle at your local body art studio.
Allergic Reaction: Mild allergic reactions are possible with any piercing although they are quite rare. Most often, the reaction will show up as light redness around the piercing site. If you have something more serious like hives or difficulty breathing, you need to get to a hospital right away.
What Are the Benefits of a Tragus Piercing?
The tragus piercing is a great way to show off your individuality and express yourself. There are so many different types of jewelry you can use in this piercings that it is almost impossible to not find the right one for your style. Many people get tragus piercings for both their ears to create an entire new external ear on the side of their head. This style looks very cool and original when done right.
This piercing gets a lot of “cool points” from people as it is not a common one. It can be interesting to people that have never seen one before and tell you how unique it looks. If you are looking for a way to express yourself in a new way, a tragus piercing might be perfect for you.
How Much Does a Tragus Piercing Hurt?
A tragus piercing has a medium amount of pain associated with it. It is generally ranked around a 3-4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Many people find that the actual piercing itself is only a two or three, but the top part of the ear can be more painful for some as it is often thinner and more sensitive. Breathing deeply and trying to relax your mind and body before the procedure will help to alleviate some of the pain and anxiety you may feel. It is also important to keep in mind that everyone experiences pain differently and these numbers are only averages.
After the Piercing: Aftercare for a Tragus Piercing
You should see your piercer specifically about aftercare instructions as they may have specific things they would like you to do. In most cases, they should tell you the following:
Do not touch the piercing with your hands or other objects. This can introduce bacteria into the wound and cause an infection.
You may experience some minor bleeding or even a little bit of bruising around the site. This is normal and will generally go away within a few days.
You should try to keep the area as clean as possible to prevent infection. You can do this by gently cleaning with alcohol or antibacterial soap. Be sure to let it dry before you touch it again.
You should use the solution that your piercer gives you for at least the first month.
Wait at least four to six months before you decide if you truly want the piercing or not because they can be difficult to heal in some instances.
You may experience some short-term dizziness, ringing in the ears, or other temporary disorientation after getting a tragus piercing. This is normal and will generally go away in a few minutes.
You may have trouble sleeping after getting this piercing for the same reason.
It is important to keep the piercing clean to help it heal better and reduce the chance of infection.
You can take non-prescription pain relievers if you need to, but do not take anything with Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medicines in it as this can thin your blood and increase your risk for bleeding and bruising.
Make sure that you stay hydrated as well; this will also help decrease your risk of infection and other issues.
You can also take Arnica tablets, which are homeopathic and help with bruising and swelling after an injury.
Tragus Piercing: The Bottom Line
If you are someone who wants to express themselves through body art but do not necessarily want anything that is visible at all times, a tragus piercing might be right for you. These kinds of piercings are often small enough that they can be hidden fairly easily if needed. Of course, this is only one of many reasons to get a tragus piercing.
Whatever your reasoning, you should find that it is relatively easy to heal and can have a very unique look that others will appreciate.
Sources & references used in this article:
Nonmainstream body modification: Genital piercing, branding, burning, and cutting by J Myers – Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 1992 – journals.sagepub.com
Tattoos and piercings: Attitudes, behaviors, and interpretations of college students by A Tragus – ENT Secrets, 2005 – Mosby
Body piercing: where and how by J Horne, D Knox, J Zusman, ME Zusman – College Student Journal, 2007 – go.gale.com
Body piercing: medical consequences and psychological motivations by M Waugh – Clinics in dermatology, 2007 – Elsevier
Body piercing: psychosocial and dermatologic aspects by A Stirn – The Lancet, 2003 – Elsevier