Tragus piercing -- aftercare?

I got mine done (yay!) on Friday. It didn't hurt until last night. It's pretty difficult to smile/open my mouth much because it tugs at the skin. I'm pretty sure this is normal. I got sea salt today so I can do the soaks, and I clean it twice a day with a cotton swab and antibacterial soap.

The big question: Do I rotate the ring? The piercer didn't include that in the aftercare, but I had always heard to do it, so I was. But then I read a whole lot today saying NOT to rotate or move it at all, as this only breaks the healing skin and irritates the piercings further.

Anyone have experience with this? Thanks.
Under construction.
Don't rotate it at all for the first few days. After that you can turn it gently, but you don't have to, and don't expect for it to spin like a roulette wheel.

Most importantly, clean the hole and your ring really well before you do turn it, because if any dried crusty stuff gets in the piercing, it WILL infect.

Just a warning, it took almost 2 years for my tragus to heal, so learn from my mistakes:

Don't get hair products on the piercing. It will infect. If it gets really sore, you can boil 1 cup of water and add to it 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drop a chammomile tea bag in the water and let it steep for 5 minutes, then put the tea bag on your ear. It will help with the pain and also the swelling. You might get a bubble over the piercing. This is NOT an infection, nor is it a keloid. Some people get them, it's part of the healing process. The chammomile tea bag will help with that, too.

ETA: There's some debate about whether you need antibacterial soap. Personally I think cleaning with salt water is good enough. Just clean it well and keep out the crusties.


Obamacare is not a blueprint for socialism. You're thinking of the New Testament. ~~ John Fugelsang



Don't rotate it at all for the first few days. After that you can turn it gently, but you don't have to, and don't expect for it to spin like a roulette wheel.

Most importantly, clean the hole and your ring really well before you do turn it, because if any dried crusty stuff gets in the piercing, it WILL infect.

Just a warning, it took almost 2 years for my tragus to heal, so learn from my mistakes:

Don't get hair products on the piercing. It will infect. If it gets really sore, you can boil 1 cup of water and add to it 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drop a chammomile tea bag in the water and let it steep for 5 minutes, then put the tea bag on your ear. It will help with the pain and also the swelling. You might get a bubble over the piercing. This is NOT an infection, nor is it a keloid. Some people get them, it's part of the healing process. The chammomile tea bag will help with that, too.

ETA: There's some debate about whether you need antibacterial soap. Personally I think cleaning with salt water is good enough. Just clean it well and keep out the crusties.
Originally Posted by Springcurl
Thanks! I will no longer be rotating. It's throbbing like an SOB today. Advil has helped, but not totally. I'm going to do my first salt soak (they said it wasn't necessary, but I decided to go ahead with it) now. I'll get chamomile tomorrow.

What's done is done, so it'll have to heal, but man, I think it looks totally awesome. I think I'll get my helix done when the pain on this drops enough for me to function normally.
Under construction.
I know w/ my nose the guy said "don't touch your piercing" like ten times. When he asked me if I had any questions I was like 'ya, can i touch my piercing?
~ the artist formerly known as babywavy ~

Please excuse any typos. For the time being, we are blaming it on my computer.
For my nose piercing, I only used sea salt and warm water. I dissolved the salt in a mug of warm water, then soaked a cotton ball in the salty water and squeezed it out so it ran into and over the piercing. I did this several times a day. A bit messy but I had no problems.
Don't rotate it at all for the first few days. After that you can turn it gently, but you don't have to, and don't expect for it to spin like a roulette wheel.

Most importantly, clean the hole and your ring really well before you do turn it, because if any dried crusty stuff gets in the piercing, it WILL infect.

Just a warning, it took almost 2 years for my tragus to heal, so learn from my mistakes:

Don't get hair products on the piercing. It will infect. If it gets really sore, you can boil 1 cup of water and add to it 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drop a chammomile tea bag in the water and let it steep for 5 minutes, then put the tea bag on your ear. It will help with the pain and also the swelling. You might get a bubble over the piercing. This is NOT an infection, nor is it a keloid. Some people get them, it's part of the healing process. The chammomile tea bag will help with that, too.

ETA: There's some debate about whether you need antibacterial soap. Personally I think cleaning with salt water is good enough. Just clean it well and keep out the crusties.
Originally Posted by Springcurl
My SO as well as my little sister both have their tragus's (?) done. My SO has had his for over a year and it still gets infected regularly and has a bump/bubble on it. My little sister has had hers for less time than that but hers as followed the same pattern. This is why I haven't gotten mine done, although I really wanted to. Our piercer said the piercing will "bubble up" and get infected in a wave pattern, off and on for up to 2 years. They've tried salt soaking, saline, betadine, antibacterial soap, you name it... nothing's really worked. You pretty much just have to let nature run it's course.

As for the twisting, I wouldn't twist it randomly throughout the day. Maybe once or twice a day I would wash my hands, then squirt some saline on there and move the ring in and out a bit. That's the extent of "twisting" I'd do at this point. Leave it be and let it heal, but make sure it doesn't scab over and become immobile.
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
My rule of thumb with all of my piercings has been to be as hands-off as possible. With my conch piercing (about 3 years old now) I really took that to heart and it healed the most cleanly and the most painlessly.


Obamacare is not a blueprint for socialism. You're thinking of the New Testament. ~~ John Fugelsang



I got mine done about 8 months ago. I originally got it pierced with a ring, but after about two months, I got tired of it and switched to a flat back stud. (I wasn't supposed to until after 6 months)

It hurt to sleep on for about one month. Now I dont feel it and have a bad habit of tugging on it when I am nervous.

I did not rotate, used the solution they gave me at the pierce place and was careful with my hairbrush. I developed a bump about 2 1/2 months in and I used alcohol wipes from work and it went away pretty quick.

I think piercings heal differently on different people. My belly button and tragus took no time at all. My nipple and nose never fully healed.
In Other Worlds, they Call me Taliska
It's swollen this morning, and smiling still feels like I'm tugging at the skin.. Please tell me this is all normal. I had a horrid dream about infection last night.
Under construction.
It's swollen this morning, and smiling still feels like I'm tugging at the skin.. Please tell me this is all normal. I had a horrid dream about infection last night.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
Infection isn't that big of a deal... it sucks, but it's not the end of the world. My piercer recommends to squeeze out all the puss and lovely stuff, then clean generously with betadine and let it sit on there for a while. Then do your salt soaks and saline rinses as usual.
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
It's swollen this morning, and smiling still feels like I'm tugging at the skin.. Please tell me this is all normal. I had a horrid dream about infection last night.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
Infection isn't that big of a deal... it sucks, but it's not the end of the world. My piercer recommends to squeeze out all the puss and lovely stuff, then clean generously with betadine and let it sit on there for a while. Then do your salt soaks and saline rinses as usual.
Originally Posted by lauraloo
It'd not oozing. It's just dry and crusty at the piercing site. The only time stuff comes out is during the salt soak, which is supposed to happen bc it pulls stuff out, right?

I'm going to go to a local place and pick up some spray they sell and ask if they'll pretty please take a look since I got it pierced out of town -- is that too weird??
Under construction.
The reason it hurts so much (and the reason it's going to take so long to heal) is that there is very little blood flow to that part of the ear. The hurting is pretty normal, sorry to say.


Obamacare is not a blueprint for socialism. You're thinking of the New Testament. ~~ John Fugelsang



The reason it hurts so much (and the reason it's going to take so long to heal) is that there is very little blood flow to that part of the ear. The hurting is pretty normal, sorry to say.
Originally Posted by Springcurl
I can cope with the pain, so long as I know it's normal, it's fine. I called my piercer today to make sure the discharge I had was the good kind, to find out what gauge he used and to make sure the swelling and pain were all the healthy kind and not the infectious kind. He was a sweetheart. So it looks like I'm good. I take advil when it starts to throb, which is about every four hours on the dot (when the advil wears off), and I'm good except for the smiling/eating part. I did an extra soak today because of the crusties. The piercer said to rotate the ring once the crusties are off, but I don't think I ever fully get them off, and I've seen enough saying not rotate, so I will probably avoid it.

ETA: Salt washes make it seep some, and then it rotates on its own when I clean it. So I put it back where it belongs and push more stuff out, have to clean that off.. it's like a cycle. I know it sounds gross. I'm just paranoid this isn't normal and need the reassurance.
Under construction.
You are rinsing your skin off after you do your salt soaks, right? The best way to do this is to gently rinse with water and swab on some saline solution since it is a buffer (same pH as your body). Otherwise you could get a salt burn on your healing skin, and it would also make your skin peel/crusty from being dried out.
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
You are rinsing your skin off after you do your salt soaks, right? The best way to do this is to gently rinse with water and swab on some saline solution since it is a buffer (same pH as your body). Otherwise you could get a salt burn on your healing skin, and it would also make your skin peel/crusty from being dried out.
Originally Posted by lauraloo
Yep, I rinse off, mostly with water. Saline solution... like contact solution? I can get some of that. I'm going to get a spray from a local place that they say really helps with problem piercings and is a great healing aid. I've got some long days coming up, and it'd be awesome to have something to spray on until I can get home.
Under construction.
You are rinsing your skin off after you do your salt soaks, right? The best way to do this is to gently rinse with water and swab on some saline solution since it is a buffer (same pH as your body). Otherwise you could get a salt burn on your healing skin, and it would also make your skin peel/crusty from being dried out.
Originally Posted by lauraloo
Yep, I rinse off, mostly with water. Saline solution... like contact solution? I can get some of that. I'm going to get a spray from a local place that they say really helps with problem piercings and is a great healing aid. I've got some long days coming up, and it'd be awesome to have something to spray on until I can get home.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
Good idea on the spray. Just make sure it's not a salt spray-- they make those mostly for ease of application, but still need to be rinsed off.

And yes, saline solution is the same as contact solution. Just go buy the most basic one you can find-- like the store brand one, with no bells and whistles. It is the same pH as your body and is neutral when you introduce it into your body, unlike water (which most people think is "neutral" which it is, just not inside your body!), which will make your cells lyse.

You are braver than me for getting your tragus pierced. After watching my sister and SO do it, I said no way! Plus getting my nose pierced hurt a lot and I'm too chicken to do anything big like a tragus.
Not all who wander are lost.

Fine and thin 3a. PW: curls
[quote="lauraloo"]
My SO as well as my little sister both have their tragus's (?) done. My SO has had his for over a year and it still gets infected regularly and has a bump/bubble on it. My little sister has had hers for less time than that but hers as followed the same pattern. This is why I haven't gotten mine done, although I really wanted to. Our piercer said the piercing will "bubble up" and get infected in a wave pattern, off and on for up to 2 years. They've tried salt soaking, saline, betadine, antibacterial soap, you name it... nothing's really worked. You pretty much just have to let nature run it's course.
Originally Posted by Springcurl
Funny, I forgot all about that- my tragus got that little bubble shortly after I had it pierced. My piercer suggested I use tea tree and it went away almost immediately and never bothered me again.

FWIW- I barely felt a thing when they were piercing it...

I would definitely advise against antibacterial soap, it's way too harsh. It was 10 years ago, but I'm almost certain I used the stuff for regular lobe piercings- they sell it at places like Claire's. If not that, then it was betadine.
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I LOVE This piercing. That's one of the reasons I'm paranoid about infection - I don't want to lose it!!

The guy gave me the spray and said to use it twice a day. He said my tragus is swollen. Really swollen. And he said once it swells, it's hard to straighten out, so use this, cut out the soap wash, do the salt rinses. Come and see him if it doesn't get better. I gave him $1 (it was with my change for the spray) today because he just talked with me casually about it. If I go back because something is up, I'll pay him more. Other than the swelling, it feels much better today. Maybe because I really attacked it to clean it well, and I used a mirror so I could see what I was missing.

The actual piercing didn't hurt at all. It didn't hurt until day 3, when I woke up from a nap (not on that side), and it just started. When this heals, I'm going to get something on my other ear, I think. I'd love an industrial, but I'm in communications (though I think I'll be a copy editor and not a print reporter, so not like it'll matter anyway), and I don't want to look like too much of a metalhead. But last place I worked they didn't care about piercings...
Under construction.

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