Tragus Piercing Pain Level: How Bad Does it Hurt?


Would you like to know more about tragus piercing pain or how much it hurt? We have information on how much pain you are likely to experience compared to other piercings such as cartilage, button belly, nose, industrial, among others.

How bad or much does hurt

If you are considering a piercing on your tragus, it is worthwhile knowing more about pain level. This is due to the fact that different people can tolerate different magnitudes. Of course, you do not expect to miss some level of discomfort completely.  It will be there but to very bearable levels.

When compared to the button belly or nose, has very few nerve endings “and comparatively less blood flows through it” []. This, therefore, means that you have little changes of having a lot of pain during the process.

It might be much or less similar to a sharp pinch or a cut and it is negligible. According to, it “generally does not cause much of a pain, however, few people experience some feeling of pressure or discomfort shortly after it has been done.” This might last for up to a minute.

Pain level

To give you more insight into how much pain you expect, on a measurable scale or chart, we will use a scale of 1-10 where 1 is not painful at all while 10 is very painful. It ranges between 3 and 4. This indicates that it is mild and below average on our scale.

That is why we said above that you expect a small pinch and a pop sound as the needle goes through your tragus that is basically a cartilage i.e., “the pain… is usually dull and does not last long” [] However, people have a thicker cartilage might experience slightly more as opposed to those whose is thin.

Factors affecting pain level

We have already mentioned the fact that it does hurt, but just a little, there are some factors that can influence the pain one is going to experience during the process. Some of the factors that affect how much it will hurt include:

1. Piercer skills

Experienced and skilled pierces will do their job precisely and this is going to reduce how much it is going to hurt you. Go for a professional piercer not just because it will hurt less but also for your safety and a faster healing process.

2. Pain endurance

Different people can endure pain or discomfort associated with the piercing process to different levels. Other people might say it does not hurt a lot while others will find it unbearable.

3. Jewelry choice

The jewelry choice has an important role in determining the pain you will experience i.e. for some people, it most when the jewelry is being inserted with some reporting the level range of between 5 to 7 on a scale on 1 to 10, 10 being very painful and 1 not painful at all.

Generally, straight jewelry such as barbell often causes less pain as opposed to a beaded ring. It is advisable to go for barbell for most new piercings. You can change them later when the ones you like once it has healed completely.

Furthermore, to avoid any chances of an allergic reaction to the jewelry used, you need to go for titanium or gold as they are least known to cause any reactions. This will ensure the pierced tragus healing process is smooth and quick.

4. Gun vs. needle

One major area of discussion is whether the needle or gun will be more painful. Whereas the pain levels are comparable, it is highly advisable you go for a needle instead of a gun. Most professional piercers argue that a gun might not be ideal even for your earlobes. Furthermore, a needle is much easier to sterilize and the healing process is going to be smoother than going for a gun.


Vertical or sideburn option is done vertically on your tragus and it runs from the outside part to the inner side and then out again. It is like having a kind of a piercing. If you intend to have a vertical one, it is slightly much more painful as opposed to just a normal tragus. Using our scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is very unpleasant. It ranges between 4 and 7. This can be attributed to the fact that it creates two channels.


This is similar to the vertical or sideburn one with the difference being it does not go through the cartilage completely i.e. it will traverse through your cartilage flesh without reaching the inner part of your cartilage. In terms how much it hurts, it is needless to say that it is by far more painful than the normal tragus one. It is even much more painful as compared to the vertical option we have already seen.

Does it hurt more than the nose, industrial, button belly or cartilage?

By now, you have an idea of how painful it will be. To help you further estimate the pain you might experience during the process, an answer to the question, ‘does it hurt more than cartilage, more than the nose or more than button belly?’ will be of much help if you already some of these piercings.

When compared to the nose, industrialbutton belly and cartilage, it hurts least, according to the many responses of people who have undergone both these piercings. Of course, during the process, it is normal to hear the sound of a crunching needle but this should not scare you.

On tragus vs. earlobe pain levels, then it being a cartilage, you expect it to be slightly more difficult and painful when compared to the one on an earlobe. However, on comparing earlobes and cartilage, some people have reported otherwise i.e. the earlobe being slightly more painful.

Can it cause a painful jaw

A jaw that hurts after you have had your tragus pierced been reported by some people who feel an aching pain immediately after the procedure and it lasts for a few days. This could be accompanied with swelling around the piercing. In actual sense, it could be the sore piercing that makes you feel as if your jaw hurts. This will tend to be worse with smiling. If it persists beyond a few days, you need to see your piercer for further advice.

Bleeding, swelling after piercing

Although we have mentioned that fact that the tragus has lower blood flows, it is valuable mentioning that a little bleeding that lasts for a few minutes might be expected. Again, this depends on an individual as people have blood vessels at slightly different locations and some might have slightly more blood vessels to the tragus than others. It is therefore not possible to say how much it will bleed. On swelling, normally, you expect a little swelling that will last for a few days. If swelling remains for a longer period, you might have been caught an infection.

Does it hurt afterward?

For those who might be wondering if this it is going to hurt afterward, the truth is that the it should disappear after a few days and it should be nothing so extraordinary. A little arching and mild pain is expected. In case you still experience some pain after a few days, you need to be careful to ensure it is not infected. This could be a reason why your tragus hurts.


To conclude on how bad it hurts, you need to know that it hurts less than your navel, cartilage or nose piercing. Furthermore, if done by an expert then it can significantly be reduced. Note: If you are interested in knowing more about anti-tragus ear piercing pain, we have covered it separately. It is worthwhile mentioning that it hurts slightly more than a normal piercing on your tragus.

Sources and references

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