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5 things you should know before getting a tragus piercing

By Monica Athnasious

Jun 5, 2021

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Before we get into the five things you should know before getting a tragus piercing, let’s identify what it exactly is. A tragus piercing is located on the small section of cartilage that covers the entrance of the ear canal—known as the tragus. They seem to be rising in popularity. There are many things to consider before getting such a piercing, so I spoke with two industry professionals from The Alkemistry, a high-end jewellery store in London, to get all the details. Federica Castagnanova has worked in the industry for over six years, and with thousands of piercings under her belt, it is safe to say she is an expert. Rai Aquino is also an incredibly talented piercer, designer, art director and jewellery connoisseur, who has been in the industry for nearly two years. Here’s some examples of their work below, cool right?

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1. Does a tragus piercing hurt?

Since I’m a bit of a wimp, this was the most pressing question I had. Castagnanova says that the tragus is not unique in its pain level. “Tragus’ are as painful as any other cartilage piercing, it’s more pressure than pain.” She continues, “It lasts [about] two seconds and it’s gone. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say [it’s] a 3 or 4.” So if you have had experience with getting cartilage pierced, odds are a tragus piercing will likely feel the same to you. At the end of the day, it really depends on your pain tolerance.

2. How long does it take for a tragus piercing to heal?

The dreaded question that everyone wants to know when they’re getting a piercing—how long do I have to suffer? Maybe that’s a bit dramatic but it’s information you should know before going to the studio. Castagnanova states that “tragus piercings take 3 to 4 months for them to be stable enough to change the jewellery but [around] a year to fully heal.” Again, this isn’t dissimilar to other cartilage piercings. It is important to be on top of your aftercare. Yeah, I know, submerging your ear in saline water isn’t fun but it’s got to be done.

3. How much does a tragus piercing cost?

Honestly, it depends. At The Alkemistry, Castagnanova says, “Our piercing fee is £25 everywhere on the ear,” however the overall “cost depends [on] the jewellery.” She continues by explaining that for example it “can be done with a £35 14ct plain ball labret or with a diamond piece that [can] start from £125.” It can be as affordable or luxurious as you want. For a piercing like this, I would suggest going to an experienced piercer like Castagnanova or Aquino—on that, I wouldn’t skimp out. 

4. Can you wear earphones with a tragus piercing?

This is actually quite a common question. No fear, our experts have the answers. Castagnanova says that “you can wear your earphones because we pierce with a labret that has a flat back.” However, she does add that, “for the first period some discomfort is normal.” The most important thing to note when wearing earphones while having a tragus piercing is to “make sure that the earphones are nice and clean every time before [you] use them.” Dirty earphones can put you at a much higher risk of infection, especially if your piercing has not healed—and I mean, let’s be honest, when do they ever? However, it’s best to keep on top of cleanliness and hygiene regardless.

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5. Consider your whole ear before getting a tragus piercing

This is piercer and high-end jewellery seller Rai Aquino’s advice. She told me that “piercings are all about the ear in general. So think about how you want to curate the ear as a whole when deciding on your piercings.” Before getting that tragus piercing it’s important to think about how you want your ear to look overall and the aesthetic that you are going for. Castagnanova writes on Instagram, “We like to assist and advise with your ear styling, we start with finding a piece that you love and help you create your own look.” You’ve heard of fashion styling, now welcome to the world of ear styling.