Ear Tattoos

Ear tattoos, like micro tattoos, are delicate and often intricate designs on a small scale. Tattooing on or around the ear is particularly difficult for tattoo artists. Ears are not only oddly shaped, but they are also hard in places due to the cartilage that forms them. Ear tattoos are also difficult to get because our ears have more nerve endings than other parts of our bodies.

Ear Tattoos

Getting an ear tattoo

It’s time to get your tattoo after you’ve chosen a reputable tattoo artist, decided where and what you want your tattoo to look like, and filled out consent forms. The general procedure is as follows:

  • The tattoo artist will use rubbing alcohol to clean the area and shave any hair that may be present. This should not be a difficult step.

  • The tattoo artist will use water or a moisture stick to transfer the stencil of your tattoo onto your skin so you can approve its placement on your body. You will experience sensation at this point. It might itch or tickle, but it shouldn’t hurt.

  • They’ll start drawing lines on the tattoo. This is when you will begin to experience burning, stinging, or pricking sensations. Take a few deep breaths and try to remain still.

  • Depending on the type of tattoo you’re getting, the artist will shade and color the tattoo after the line work is finished. This step is not required for every tattoo. Many people report that shading causes less pain than outlines, but your personal experience may vary.

  • When your tattoo is finished, the artist will apply ointment to it and wrap it in a bandage.

  • Your tattoo artist will instruct you on how to care for your new tattoo and what to expect in the coming weeks.

  • It may feel like sunburn for about a week after getting your tattoo.

  • Though having a tattoo needle dig into the delicate skin of your ear may sound frightening and painful, ear tattoos can be beautiful and delicate. (Bonus: They’re easily hidden if tattoos aren’t permitted in your home or workplace.) The possibilities aren’t endless, but despite its small size, the ear does have a few spots for art, including the lobe, helix, and tragus.

  • Ear tattoo preparation and aftercare are very similar to other placements, so if you’ve had a tattoo before, this information may not be new to you. If this is your first time, there are a few simple steps you can take to prepare for your appointment.

Ideas of Ear Tattoo

The majority of ear tattoo designs are small. The environment does not lend itself well to large tattoos or intricate patterns. Physically placed ear tattoos are limited by the size of the ear itself. Tattoos near or around the ear are also restricted by space, though not as strictly. If you’re still interested in getting an ear tattoo, here are some design ideas to consider.

Ear to Ear

The ear has a distinctive and curvy shape. A tattoo that emphasizes this can be a soothing and understated design. Consider getting a vine or wire pattern to complement the shape of the ear. A combined pattern of Celtic knots is another design that would work well.

Consider getting a small shape on the earlobe itself if you want a simpler tattoo piece. Small designs, such as a ‘X’ or the outline of a heart, can round out the look. Certain patterns can be accommodated on the inside of the ear. If you prefer bolder patterns, a gothic or ghoul design would work well and would also accommodate the shape of the ear.

In or near the Ear

Tattoos are most commonly found behind the ear, in the valley behind the end of the jaw. Small patterns work well in this setting. Among those you might be interested in are:

  • The nautical star

  • Stars

  • Hearts

  • Flowers

  • Patterns of varying shapes

  • Diamonds

  • Infinity symbols

  • The options are limitless

Risks and dangers of getting ear tattoos

:small_blue_diamond: Body piercing and tattooing are high-risk procedures that can result in bacteremia (blood infection) and endocarditis (infection within the heart). All forms of body piercing and tattooing are strongly discouraged by our cardiologists.

:small_blue_diamond: Tattooing your ear, unlike many other body parts, can result in temporary jaw lock, headaches, migraines, and dizzy spells. It’s also worth noting that for the first few weeks after getting your tattoo, you shouldn’t use any shampoo or other products on it because it’s still healing.

:small_blue_diamond: Many people claim that it is the most painful location to get body art. Are tattoos prohibited in your line of work? Simply sweep your hair over the tiny design to hide it completely. However, intricate ear tattoos are not for the faint of heart, so what the risks are, and are it worth it?

:small_blue_diamond: The area around the ear is one of the most sensitive parts of the body for many people - just think how ticklish it is - making these tattoos an extremely painful experience. Tattooing your ear, unlike many other body parts, can cause temporary jaw lock, headaches, migraines, and dizzy spells.

:small_blue_diamond: It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t use shampoo or other products on the tattoo while it’s still healing - for at least the first couple of weeks.

:small_blue_diamond: Despite this, hundreds of people are getting ear tattoos, with some claiming the pain isn’t too bad despite the fact that the noise in their ears is extremely loud. Some people get their inner ears tattooed, while others get the area behind the ear - i.e. directly on the skull.

:small_blue_diamond: When getting a tattoo, everyone expects some pain or discomfort. The level of pain you experience will be determined by several factors, including your personal pain tolerance and the location of the tattoo. Although pain is subjective, a tattoo pain chart can help you estimate how much a tattoo will hurt.

:small_blue_diamond: Fatty areas of the body, such as the upper arms, will most likely hurt less than bonier areas of the body, such as the hands, rib cage, or any joints. Other than pain, you will most likely experience tingling, itching, and pressure.

In Short

Ear tattoo means that artists are creating delicate artwork on the teeny, tiny curve on the back of people’s ears, as first reported by Elle UK. Instead of jewelry, people are adorning their ear cartilage with dainty ink designs.

Pain associated with Ear tattooing

The area behind the ear, as well as any nearby real estate, is sensitive enough to be classified as an erogenous zone. It’s no surprise that tattoos behind the ear are considered particularly painful. Before you cancel your tat plans, consider why some people find behind-the-ear tattoos more painful than others and what you can do to make the experience less painful.

The pain is a 5+ on a 10-point scale, according to anecdotal evidence from experts. However, it is not the most painful body part to tattoo. This is consistent with the findings of a 2014 study, in which a single study participant, who also happened to be the author, was subjected to bee stings in 25 different locations in order to rate the pain.

On the pain scale, he gave the post auricular area (medical jargon for “behind the ear”) a 5.3. It is said that most people describe the pain as annoying and irritating rather than painful.

Individual differences in getting pain

The vibration from the tattoo machine is what most people respond to. The vibrating pain is caused by the tattoo needles passing over the mastoid bone, which is located behind the ear. The sensation is amplified by the lack of flesh.

The buzzing of the tattoo machine near the ear, as well as the abundance of sensory nerves in and around the ears, contributes to the unpleasant experience. Other factors, such as a person’s emotional state, can make behind-the-ear tattoos — or any tattoos — more painful.

There is evidence that negative emotions such as stress, fear, and depression increase a person’s perception of pain.

Duration of Pain

The worst of it will be over once your tattoo is completed. Following that, some soreness, swelling, redness, and crusting are to be expected for the first week or so. The pain and other symptoms should be mild and gradually improve. Pain that worsens or lasts longer could indicate an infection or other complications.

Suggestions for Pain Relief

There are a few things you can do to reduce pain during and after your behind-the-ear tattoo. Here are some pointers to consider:

:small_blue_diamond: Choose a skilled tattoo artist

The more skilled and experienced the artist, the less time he or she spends in the chair — and thus the less pain.

:small_blue_diamond: Don’t consume alcohol

Drinking alcohol before getting tattoo increases pain sensitivity, increases bleeding, and may cause dehydration.

:small_blue_diamond: Experiment with relaxation techniques

If negative emotions, such as stress, can make you more sensitive to pain, practicing relaxation techniques before and during your appointment is a good idea. Try deep breathing, meditation, or music listening.

:small_blue_diamond: Keep hydrated

Dehydration has been linked to increased pain perception. In addition, not drinking enough can make you feel lousy in general. Drink plenty of water before your appointment and keep some on hand to sip during it.

:small_blue_diamond: Get some food in your stomach

A light snack before getting tattooed can reduce pain sensitivity and prevent nervous stomach feelings and dizziness.

:small_blue_diamond: Take breaks as necessary

If the pain becomes too intense, request short breaks from your tattoo artist. A true professional will not be bothered by it.

:small_blue_diamond: Follow the instructions for aftercare

Aftercare is critical for healing and reducing the risk of complications.

To locate a reputable studio and artist, follow these steps: Ask friends and family for recommendations, or follow popular local businesses on social media. Read online shop reviews. Visit the studio in person to inspect its cleanliness and confirm that it is licensed to operate.

Symptoms of a having problem

Pain behind the ear tattoo is common during and after your appointment, but it should be manageable and improve in the days following. If it doesn’t, it could be a sign of a problem, such as an infection or an allergic reaction. Consult a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling that is severe or worsening

  • Rash or blisters over the tattoo that is itchy and painful

  • Skin that is warm to the touch

  • Odorous discharge or pus from a tattoo

  • Open wounds

  • Fever

  • Muscle pain


The pain of a tattoo behind the ear isn’t as severe as that of a groin tattoo. The lack of flesh back there may make it feel different from other places. Having your tattoo done by a skilled tattoo artist can be extremely beneficial.

Guide to Getting the Perfect Ear Tattoo

1. Your dream tattoo

You know what they say: if you can dream it, you can achieve it. The same can be said for your ideal tattoo. Want to conceal a scar or obtain a meaningful symbol to commemorate overcoming personal challenges? Tattoo aesthetics have come a long way, with artists specializing in everything from crisp line work and elegant script to multicolored masterpieces.

However, there are a few things you should know before getting inked. Not all tattoos age well, some hurt more than others (after all, needles are creating and filling in your design), and some designs may become ink regret, especially if the art is not allowed to heal properly.

The end result is determined by your artist, placement, and design. Here’s what to think about when selecting the perfect piece, sitting through your appointment, and caring for your new ink.

2. What to think about before getting inked

Although there is no “right” or “wrong” place to get a tattoo, the location can have a significant impact on how you are perceived at work.

3. Best place to get a tattoo

If you work in a formal office setting, you should think twice about getting ink on areas that are clearly visible, such as your face, neck, hands, fingers, or wrists. Consider locations that are easily covered with clothing or accessories such as you’re:

  • either the upper or lower back

  • the upper arms

  • calf muscles or thighs

  • your feet’s tops or sides

If your workplace is more relaxed, you might be able to sport a new tattoo behind your ear, on your shoulders, or on your wrists.

4. Painful will the tattoo be

You should also consider your level of pain tolerance. It’s no secret that getting a tattoo is painful. The amount of pain, however, is determined by where you want it to be. They hurt more in areas with a lot of nerves and less flesh.This includes the following:

  • Forehead

  • Neck

  • Spine

  • Ribs

  • Fingers or hands

  • Ankles

  • The tops of your feet

The larger the tattoo, the longer you’ll be under the needle — and the more difficult it will be to conceal.

5. Intention to keep your design

Having a clear idea of what script or imagery you want can often help you decide on a location. But, before you buy that trendy underboob chandelier or watercolor-style feather, take a step back and think about it. What’s trendy now won’t always be so — so make sure you want it because it looks great, not because it’s the hottest new thing.

6. Effects after five years

Although all tattoos fade over time, some designs fade faster than others. Lighter colours, such as watercolours and pastels, typically fade faster than black and grey inks.

Some styles also fade more quickly than others. Geometric designs with a lot of dots and clean lines are more prone to general wear and tear, especially if they’re in a place where they’re constantly rubbing against your clothes or shoes.

7. Expectation from Your Consultation

You’re almost ready for the main event once you’ve decided on a design and chosen your artist. If you’re getting something other than script, you’ll need to meet with your artist. This time will be used by both of you to:

  • Finalise your design and talk about placement.

  • Determine the number of sessions required to complete the piece.

  • Confirm the hourly rate and expected total cost.

  • Deal with any paperwork.

  • Make an appointment for your tattoo.

  • The day before your scheduled appointment.

  • Aspirin (Bayer) and ibuprofen (Advil), which can thin your blood, should be avoided for 24 hours before your appointment. You might be able to take acetaminophen (Tylenol), but check with your artist first.

  • Wear something that will expose the area that will be tattooed. If this isn’t possible, dress in something loose that you can easily slip into and out of.

  • Arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment.

  • Get some money to tip your artist.

During an appointment, the following typically occurs:

  • When you first arrive, you’ll finish any paperwork and, if necessary, finalise any design details.

  • Your musician will accompany you to their station. Any clothing that could get in the way of your tattoo placement should be rolled up or removed.

  • Your artist will disinfect the area and remove any hair with a disposable razor.

  • Once the area has dried, your tattoo artist will apply the tattoo stencil to your skin. You can move this around as much as you want, so make sure you like where it is.

  • Your artist will tattoo the outline of your design once you have confirmed the placement. They will then fill in any colours or gradients.

  • When your tattoo artist is finished, they will clean the tattooed area, wrap it up, and explain how to care for it.

  • You can tip your artist at their station or at the front desk when you pay. It is customary to tip at least 20%, but if you had a fantastic experience and are able to tip more, do so.

8. Keeping Tattoo in Perfect Condition

Unless you’re going home to watch Netflix, you should keep the dressing on for the next few hours. When it comes time to remove the tattoo, you will clean it for the first time. For the first three to six weeks, you should adhere to the following cleansing regimen:

  • Always start by washing your hands! Make use of antibacterial soap and warm water.

  • Wash the tattoo with the cleanser recommended by your artist or a mild, unscented soap. Avoid using any soap that contains irritants such as fragrance or alcohol.

  • After washing, pat the area dry gently with a clean towel. Do not, under any circumstances, rub or pick at the skin, even if it flakes! This has the potential to ruin the tattoo.

  • While it heals, wear sunscreen or SPF clothing because sunlight can fade the colours.

You’ll also want to keep your ink hydrated and fresh. If you have itchy skin or it feels dry, apply a thin layer of your artist’s recommended ointment. You can also use an unscented, gentle lotion.

Most tattoos heal at the surface layer within a few weeks, but it may take months to heal completely. Don’t be concerned if your tattoo begins to flake or peel; this is normal (although an infection is not). The peeling usually lasts only a week or so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some frequently asked questions related to ear tattoos.

1. Do ear tattoos fade easily?

Ear tattoos fade much faster than tattoos on other parts of the body. Sunlight exposure is frequently the cause of ear tattoos fading faster than others. Covering your tattoo with your hair or wearing a hat that covers your ears will help keep the color of your tattoo vibrant.

2. How do you shower with an ear tattoo?

When you do shower or wash your new ink, make sure to use a gentle, fragrance-free soap. Consider traditional Dial soap or anything antibacterial and gentle. Following a gentle wash, tattoo artist John O’Hara of Brooklyn recommends applying Aquaporin to hydrate the skin and create a barrier to prevent infection.

3. Do ear tattoos heal well?

Ear tats do not have a bad reputation for fading; in fact, quite the opposite. “It appears that the ear is quite easy to heal,” Jeffs says, adding that he is especially focused when doing ear tattoos because the ear itself is so limiting in shape and size, and he always does them by hand.

4. How painful is a ear tattoo?

The pain is a 5+ on a 10-point scale, according to anecdotal evidence from experts. However, it is not the most painful body part to tattoo.

5. Do ear tattoos get infected easily?

The tragus is a popular location for ear piercings, and while it can look great, this type of piercing can easily become infected if not properly cared for. Tragus is also the name given to ear hair.

6. Can you shower 1 day after getting a tattoo?

If they used a waterproof protective tattoo film, you should be able to shower normally almost immediately. After the bandage is removed after 3-5 days, you can shower whenever you want, as long as you take some precautions.

7. Do ear tattoos blowout?

“Specifically, in terms of ear tattooing, when you inject the ink using a needle into tissue that’s so thin, with very little dermis for the ink to reside in, what can often happen is the ink will just roar out,” Joel Tron, piercer and owner of Stone Heart Body Art in Sydney, told ELLE Australia.

8. Can tattoo needle hit vein?

“Tattoos involve the application of pressure to your skin with a needle, which can rupture the vein, causing it to bleed into the surrounding tissue and cause an infection,” she explains. If you have varicose veins, this could aggravate them and cause veins to protrude even more, according to Chimento.

9. Where do tattoos fade the fastest?

Tattoos are pretty much indestructible, but that doesn’t mean you never see a faded tattoo.

The 5 body parts where a tattoo is most likely to fade

  • Inside palm tattoos

  • Tattoos on the hands

  • Tattoos on the feet

  • Tattoos on the elbows

  • Tattoos on the armpit or the inside of the upper arm

10. Is it possible to over moisturize a tattoo?

Yes, it is widely accepted that the more you moisturize your tattoo, the better. However, over-moisturizing causes clogged pores and breakouts in your skin.


If you want a tattoo in the ear area, like any other, the placement can be a rewarding experience. The delightful tattoo experience, however, can turn sour in the absence of a properly experienced artist. Do your homework to ensure that you get the best tattoo possible.

Related Articles

Small Shoulder Tattoos
Micro tattoo
Do Tattoo Shops Sell Ink