Tragus vs Helix Piercing: Get the Perfect Placement

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Choosing between two fantastic ear piercings can be challenging, especially if you don’t know enough about them to decide. 

If you’re stuck deciding between a helix or tragus piercing, you’re in luck. We’re settling the tragus vs helix debate once and for all. In this guide, we’re defining each piercing and sharing their differences in pain levels, healing, price, and jewelry options.

What is a tragus piercing?

tragus piercing


A tragus piercing sits on the protruding cartilage flap that partly covers the ear canal, called the tragus, hence its name.

What is a helix piercing?

helix piercing


A helix piercing sits on the helix — the ear’s outer rim made of cartilage. Because of the extensive area of the helix, you can pierce different areas with different types of helix piercings, including the forward helix, the mid helix, the double helix, and the triple helix piercings.

Helix vs tragus piercings compared

Let’s look at how these piercings compare so you can make an informed choice. 


The helix piercing ranks between 4 and 5 out of 10 on the pain scale, making it moderately painful compared to all other body piercings. However, it’s one of the least painful cartilage piercings. The tragus piercing has a similar rating (4-5/10). However, pain tolerance is relative, so some individuals may find them a little more or less painful. 


Getting a tragus and helix piercing costs between $30 and $70. However, the pricing will vary based on your location and the piercing studio. And if you’re getting a double or triple helix piercing, it will cost more than a single helix piercing. The jewelry type also determines the overall price.

Healing time

Both piercings take 6-12 months to heal completely since they’re cartilage piercings. However, healing time may vary depending on your diligence with aftercare practices and individual body systems. It’s usually an easy healing process if you follow your piercer’s advice to prevent infections.


The helix piercing is more common than the tragus piercing because everyone can get some sort of helix piercing done, while the tragus piercing is anatomy-dependent. 

It’s common to hear people say a tragus piercing is scary because of the crunching sound during the piercing procedure. So, people new to ear piercings would typically opt for a helix over a tragus piercing. 

Cool factor

The cool thing about a helix piercing is that you can easily switch up your look. One day, you can rock a dainty piece, and the next day, a bold statement piece. People also get excited that you can have multiple helix piercings.

The tragus piercing doesn’t just serve an aesthetic purpose, but it’s also believed to alleviate some migraine symptoms. 

Jewelry options

Both piercings share similar jewelry options, which include studs and hoops. However, you’ll be limited to smaller hoops for the tragus piercing due to the limited space in the piercing area. 

Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to common questions when choosing between a helix and tragus piercing. 

Is the tragus thicker than the helix?

The tragus is thicker, but the piercing procedure doesn’t hurt more than the helix. 

Does the tragus heal better than helix?

Yes, the tragus piercing may heal better than the helix piercing. Although they have the same healing time frame, between 6-12 months, the tragus is less likely to get bumped into when brushing your hair or wearing glasses, while the helix piercing is prone to being irritated by these activities.

Can you hit a nerve with a tragus piercing?

You’ll unlikely hit a nerve while piercing the tragus because it’s not a nerve-dense area. 

Is there a winner?

We hope our guide puts an end to the tragus vs helix debate. The tragus and helix piercings are similar in many areas, but they have a few differences that can guide your decision. 

If you prefer a less common piercing, the tragus is your best bet since fewer people have the required ear anatomy. On the other hand, a helix piercing has flexible piercing options and more jewelry options. Choose the one that suits your personality and rock your new piercing proudly.

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