Where Exactly Is The Tragus?
You might not even know where your own tragus is! It’s not common knowledge after all. So if you want to find it, simply place the tip of your index finger by your ear canal and then slide your finger towards your cheekbones. That flappy bump you just brushed over? That's the tragus.
Unlike your earlobe, your tragus is mostly made of cartilage. It also has a ton of more nerve endings compared to your lobe, so it will be a lot more painful to get pierced. Go ahead and try pinching your earlobes and then your tragus and see which one hurts more!
The Piercing Process
First, your piercer will determine whether or not your tragus is the right size for piercing. Like fingerprints, the tragus varies from person to person. If yours is too small, your piercer will usually recommend a different puncture area for you.
The actual piercing process takes no longer than 5 seconds. Once the piercer has sterilised the location, an 18 to 14 hollow gauge needle will puncture your tragus. The whole ordeal is capped off with the insertion of the surface bar and jewellery like a barbell or hoop.
Here comes the fussy part: waiting for your piercing to heal. Unlike earlobe piercings, a punctured tragus can take months to heal, so the right aftercare is of utmost importance – unless of course you want to repeat the whole process all over again, or worse, deal with an infection!
The tragus is made mostly out of cartilage and doesn't heal like soft tissue. This means that it doesn't bind together, but instead, new skin forms around the puncture wound. For the tragus, healing time can take three to nine months, or even longer for some cases.
Naturally you’re going to want to speed things up, so here are a few aftercare tips to help the healing process along:
Avoid smoking. Nicotine is a known vasoconstrictor. This means it reduces nutritional blood flow on the skin which can hinder the healing process. So hold off or cut down to help your piercing heal. Who knows, this might be a good opportunity to finally kick the habit.
Be careful when using phones. If you're not careful with what you put on your ear, you might just get an infection! Think about how often you touch your phone; you wouldn't rub a toilet seat on an open wound right?
Don't sleep directly on your piercing. This one is a no-brainer. Aside from it hurting like hell, it also might dislodge your piercing, causing the wound to re-open. Ouch.
Always wash your hands before touching your piercing. A dirty pair of hands is a one-way ticket to getting an infected piercing. Make sure that you practice proper handwashing, especially if you’re the type to rest your face on your hand or fiddle with your ears.
Don't change your jewellery prematurely. You have to wait until the wound is healed completely before removing and changing your jewellery. It’s tempting, we know – you just want to rock some new looks. But remember to trust your body's healing process. It will take time, but it's worth it!
It may sound like a lot of work, but once your tragus heals, you'll be left with a fantastic piercing that’s sure to turn heads.
Does It Hurt?
A big part of getting your tragus pierced is the mental preparation. While some people ask the questions: “Will this look good?” or “Do I really want this?”, some people often forget to ask “How painful will this be and can I take it?”.
It's alright to be afraid of pain – any form of body modification always comes with a degree of discomfort. Tragus piercings are known to be one of the more painful ear piercings out there. Some people even consider the surface tragus or the anti tragus to be one of the most painful piercings you can get.
Quick note: If you cried when you had your earlobes pierced, maybe you should consider sitting the tragus piercing out.
Where Can I Get One?
Because of the increasing popularity of tragus piercings, finding a professional to do it for you is no longer the wild goose chase it used to be. Just google “professional piercers near me”, or just go to the nearest tattoo and piercing shops and you’re good to go. It isn’t too painful on the wallet either. Tragus piercings are cheap with prices ranging from $AUD10 to $AUD30 depending on the shop.
Tragus piercings are really in right now. Sure, it can hurt a lot and it needs a little more extra care compared to your run-of-the-mill earring, but the payoff is a unique and ultra cool piercing that anyone can pull off!