Infected Tragus Piercing – A Complete Guide

Everyone wants to get a piercing in their life. Tragus piercing is one of the most trending and celebrity approved piercing for your ears. While piercings surely comprehend your visual appeal, they need to be taken care of, especially during initial phases of fresh piercing to minimize chances of infected tragus piercing.

Piercing is nothing but a puncture in the flesh which results in an open wound. Before this wound is completely healed, it remains highly prone to infections due to viruses, bacteria, and other microbes.

How do you know if your tragus piercing is infected?

Before getting panic, please note that it is very normal that you have an infected tragus piercing. This is in fact normal in case of all open wounds that your body has.

It’s imperative that you do not ignore early warning signs or symptoms so that the remedial actions can be taken well in time. In majority of the cases, an infection can be detected well in advance and easily cured before it’s too much of a trouble for you.

Key symptoms of an infected tragus piercing would include the below:

(a) Swollen tragus piercing

It is perfectly normal for a freshly pierced ear to turn red and slightly swollen which may stay for 2 to 3 days.

swollen tragus piercing
Swollen tragus piercing

However, if the pierced tragus remains sore and swollen even afterwards, then take it as a symptom of possible infection.

(b) Pus like discharge

Infectious bacteria may cause pus like discharge of yellow, green or white color from the pierced tragus. Darker the color of discharge, worse the infection is.

You may want to rejoice if you see white discharge as that indicates wounded piercing is going through healing process. Sometimes, in cases of severe infection, you may observe a foul smell accompanied by discharge of pus. These are the times when you immediately need to see a doctor.

(c) Bleeding

Bleeding generally happens at the time of piercing and lasts for few minutes. Also, it should be fine if an old piercing bleeds slightly due to wearing heavy jewelry.

This is because wearing heavy jewelry occasionally but for long duration may cause minor injuries to the piercing. However, consider bleeding as symptom of an infection if it continues for few days.

(d) Infected tragus piercing bubble

In case you notice a small bump or a bubble filled with pus around the piercing, then it is definitely a case of infection. The body reacts to the bacteria in infected area by forming a pus filled bubble.

infected tragus piercing bubble
Infected Tragus Piercing Bubble

Also, constant piercing irritation can cause hypertrophic scarring which is a common reason for bump to appear.

(e) Pierced area feels warm

If you feel heat or burning sensation around pierced area, then it may be due to an infection. Sometimes, it also hurts badly like a needle pricking into the wound.

You may experience one of more of the above symptoms simultaneously. Even a single symptom should be taken as sign of infection which could become severe if you don’t take the corrective steps. It is essential to start medication and other remedies to ensure timely healing.

Causes of tragus piercing infection with healing tips

The most common cause for an infected tragus piercing is that it gets in contact with germs before it’s fully healed. Improper after care builds a breeding ground for these germs.

Some of the common reasons for infection could be:

(a) Hygiene

Good hygiene is not only the most important but also the most ignored factor which leads to an infected piercing. When the piercing gets exposure to carriers of dust, bacteria, or anything carrying microbes it leads to infection.

tragus piercing hygiene

The following hygiene precautions are must to avoid infections:

  • Make sure you don’t frequently touch the piercing to give it sufficient time to heal. Whenever required, wash your hands first.
  • Don’t use headphone, earphone or mobile directly in contact with freshly pierced tragus.
  • Use a clean pillow case. Instead of regular ones, use an air pillow to minimize contact with pierced area and friction
  • Don’t use shared makeup, brush, towels or cosmetics
  • Clean the piercing with salt solution at least twice a day.

(b) Choice of jewelry metal

There are various metals which are corrosive and can cause an infection in your tragus. For instance, plated metal, plastic material, steel etc.

Initially, you should not risk but go for the best metals only like 14K gold, titanium or surgical steel. Titanium is ideal for hypersensitive people since it’s strong as steel but light as aluminum.

Avoid sterling silver as your first jewelry because it contains nickel which can cause irritation and possibly lead to infection.

Refer above guide for tips on how to choose the perfect jewelry for your tragus piercing!

(c) Wrong size and type of jewelry

Jewelry plays an important role during the initial phase of healing after you get piercing done. An open wound needs sufficient oxygen for natural healing process. Thus, it is important to choose the right type and size of jewelry to provide the right conditions for pierced area to heal.

  • Size of Jewelry: If your jewelry is too tight, then you won’t be able to clean the piercing properly and also change the jewelry without irritating the area. This could possibly in infection and bruises due to frequent friction.
  • Type of Jewelry: Wear the jewelry which allows the piercing to breathe and heal. Avoid wearing heavy jewelry if you notice symptoms of infection or before the wound has completely healed.

(d) Improper piercing procedure

Chances of infections are high if the piercing procedure was not followed properly. Given the level of expertise required, it is recommended that you get your piercing done from a certified professional piercer only.

An amateur piercer might not follow the best hygiene practices while operating. Also, it is likely that an inexperienced piercer may not be able to handle tough situations where the patient is hypersensitive or experiences excess bleeding during piercing.

How to heal an infected tragus piercing – Best DIY techniques

If you are notice symptoms of an infected tragus piercing, follow the below methods to treat and heal your tragus piercing at home:

(a) Properly clean the piercing wound

It’s important to clean the piercing at least twice a day to maintain good hygiene and heal infection. You may use anti-bacterial soap to clean the wound.

(b) Cleanse with Salt Solution

Cleansing the piercing should ideally remove most of the harmful bacteria and other microbes. It is important that you clean debris and dead cells forming around the wound. These dead cell and debris could produce Keloids (or bump).

How to make sea salt solution and apply on pierced area?

Piercing AfterCare Treatment
  • Step 1: Mix the sea salt with warm water in a small glass and stir until the salt dissolves.
  • Step 2: Pour the mixture on a washcloth.
  • Step 3: Gently dab the wet cloth on pierced area.

Repeat the above process a few times for best results.

(c) Use cold compress to ease heat and reduce redness

Cold compress will relieve you of the warmth and soreness resulting from infection. This helps in increasing the blood flow as well.

Just dip a piece of cloth in warm water and apply it on your piercing for 4-5 minutes. You might need to refresh the cloth with cold water.

(d) Apply Chamomile Oil compress

You may opt for chamomile compress in warm water instead of salt solution on few occasions. Since chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties, it boosts the process of healing and helps in fighting infection.

You may go for this chamomile oil which is one of the best available in markets:

Chamomile Oil for Tragus Piercing

(e) Diluted Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has natural anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial agents. It has ability to treat piercing bump or keloid. Make sure that you dilute the oil with water before applying it on bump for best results.

One the tried and tested Tea Tree Oil for curing piercing bumps or infections:

Tea Tree Oil for healing tragus piercing

(f) Change your jewelry, if required

As discussed above, ensure that you wear the right metal, size and type of jewelry to let your piercing breathe and heal normally.

The key to healthy piercing is that you take good care of it and not ignore the symptoms of a possible infection. Most of the infections can be easily taken care of following the above remedies and precautions in time.

You may follow the below video tutorial for cleaning your tragus piercing.

Stay aware and stay healthy!

2 thoughts on “Infected Tragus Piercing – A Complete Guide”

  1. My tragus is swollen, has abit hard and painful swellings at the back and front… yellow pus is comes out when I remove the pin to warm press it…and the swelling is increasing… i got some bitumen, but it ain’t helping with the pain
    What should I do???

  2. I had my tragus done almost a year ago and have been fighting infection ever since. I have seen several doctors. My ear nose and throat doctor has, tried me on several antibiotics and nothing. Ears are swollen shut. They are talking about having to cut my tragus both out. Is this the only way?


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