It’s hard to imagine that a single stud in each earlobe was once as daring as it got. Now, tragus piercings are up there with some of the most popular ear-piercing searches. So, what exactly is a tragus? It’s the flap of cartilage that sits in front of the ear canal and, according to Astrid & Miyu piercer Charlotte Collins, “It’s for the risk takers and rule breakers who want to make a rebellious statement.”
Consider us sold! (maybe?)
Our ear anatomy is made up of sci-fi-sounding names such as daith, tragus, rook and helix, and we could talk all day about the endless piercing trends people are decorating theirs with.
But if you’re just starting out and wondering which piercing to get next, the tragus is by far the quirkiest earring location.
“A well experienced piercer can perform a tragus piercing easily,” Lark & Berry Piercer Svetlana Hristova tells GLAMOUR. “It isn’t a tricky one if you make sure the needle is straight and the piercing is performed in the perfect spot on that small area – just before the line that’s created when the tragus is bent.”
Is the tragus a painful piercing?
Pain differs from person to person, but as Hristova points out, cartilage is thicker than flesh, so you’re likely to feel it more than a piercing in the lobe. That said, most people describe the “pain” as more of a pressure, or a hot flash that lasts a matter of seconds. With A-list fans such as Rihanna, Zöe Kravitz and Scarlett Johansson all rocking a tragus piercing, it’s too popular to be that painful, right?
Are tragus piercings hard to heal?
“Having a tragus piercing is a bold choice, but unfortunately it is one of the trickiest ones to heal,” says Hristova. Cartilage piercings will generally take longer to heal, around 6-12 months, compared to the lobe, which usually takes around 2-4 months. The reason for this is that cartilage is avascular, meaning it has no blood supply and is therefore a slow-healing tissue. Healing time is also dependent on the individual and level of aftercare. “Like with any piercing, it’s important to keep it clean,” says piercer Laura Bond.
“We suggest cleaning with a saline solution twice a day, and try not to touch it unless you have to, washing your hands before you do.” Bond also recommends avoiding swimming pools, lakes or using hot tubs for the first couple of months, as they harbour bacteria that could cause infection. Wearing high-quality, implant-grade jewellery is also key to speedy healing without infection. Below are the metals considered safe for piercing jewellery: