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Anti Tragus Piercing: Swelling, Pain, and Healing

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While some people may mistake the anti tragus piercing for an upper lobe piercing, it actually goes through cartilage. Because it’s a cartilage piercing, it’s generally harder to heal and may swell more than you might expect. But if you’re willing to put up with the healing, the anti tragus can give you a truly unique look.

What is an Anti Tragus Piercing

Your anti tragus is the small ridge of cartilage on the bottom of your ear, just above your upper lobe. It’s called the anti tragus because it’s located directly opposite your tragus. Depending on your anatomy, you may be able to support more than one anti tragus piercing. They may look like an upper lobe piercing depending on the type of jewelry chosen.

What Kind of Jewelry Do You Wear in an Anti Tragus Piercing?

You can wear a hoop or a curved barbell in an anti tragus. Just like the tragus, your anti tragus is likely very small and your jewelry diameter will be small as well. Because of this, it may be difficult for you to change your own rings. Depending on the length of your curved barbell, it may be difficult to see the end that is inside your ear. If this is the case, it will be difficult to tell the difference between your anti tragus and an upper lobe.

Anti Tragus Piercing Pain

The anti tragus is not an overly painful piercing. It hurts just about as much as other cartilage piercings. Because the cartilage is generally more thin, it will hurt less than a conch for example. Most people will place an anti tragus between a 5 and a 6 on the pain scale.

Anti Tragus Swelling and Healing

Because it’s closer to the outside of your ear, the anti tragus is one of the more difficult piercings to heal. While it’s still a piercing that’s safe for beginners, you may notice your anti tragus gets more irritation bumps than you were expecting. The anti tragus is also known to swell more than other piercings might. Your piercer will take that into account when placing your starter jewelry and they will give you instructions on when to return for downsizing.

Just like when healing a daith, you’ll likely need to stay away from headphones and ear buds for the duration of your healing period. For an anti tragus, don’t expect to be fully healed until around the nine month mark. It may take as long as a year before it’s safe to wear ear buds again.


The anti tragus is a very stylish look and the process is relatively painless. You’ll be able wear either rings or curved barbells in your anti tragus. During the healing process, you may experience more irritation bumps than you might expect and your ear might swell somewhat excessively. Don’t let it startle you – as long as you went to a trusted piercer, they will give you longer starter jewelry and get you swapped to a shorter set after the swelling goes down.