Think Before You Ink: The Pros And Cons Of Inner Ear Tattoos

Rose Inner Ear Tattoo @tattoo___two

The inner ear can be the perfect placement for tiny tattoos. An inking here could be an alternative to a piercing, but the odd angles of the ear can cause some challenges, as well as the thin skin of the area. 

If you’re thinking about getting an inner ear tattoo, here are a few pros and cons you should know before booking your appointment.

Negative Space Flower Ear Tattoo @gemicco

Con: The Process Can Be Jarring 

When opting for a tattoo on your ear, the noise of the tattoo machine will be really loud, which can be an uncomfortable experience. On Glamour, tattoo artist, Kris Howes,

“…advises mentally preparing yourself for tattoos that will be on or near your ear since the loud noise of the machine right next to your eardrum can be intense.”

If the thought of the loud noise being right in your ear is putting you off your inner ear tattoo, you could go the hand poke route. For more about Hand Poke Tattoos, click here

Sunburst Dotwork Inner Ear Tattoo @xdenyse

Of course, your preparation can have a big impact on your tattoo experience. Get a good night’s rest before your appointment, and eat a full meal beforehand.  

Pro: You Can Get Creative With A Tattoo/Piercing Hybrid

Your mini work of art on your inner ear doesn’t have to be limited to ink. You could add a piercing or two to take your tattoo design to the next level. One type of tattoo that works well with this is a mini flower tattoo; the center of the flower can be a stud. 

Flower Inner Ear Tattoo @bearded_beast_79

Con: The Possibilities Aren’t Limitless 

When it comes to placements with limited space, the designs that are available for you to get tattooed become limited, too. Also, the curves of the cartilage and ​helix of the ear can limit your options further. 

If your design is a bit too detailed or large for the inner ear, you can migrate your tattoo to behind the ear – there is a bit more space to work with here. For more about Behind The Ear Tattoos, click here.

Behind The Ear Tattoo @zmfreespirit

Pro: Inner Ear Tattoos Are Easy To Hide

Yes, we may be in the 21st century, but there are certain workplaces and families that aren’t onboard with expressing yourself through tattoos.

If you need to hide your tattoo a lot of the time, then you’ve got to pay careful attention to your placement choice. The inner ear can be a great choice for an easily hidden inking if you have long hair, as your hair can cover it. 

For more about easy to hide tattoo placements, click here.

Also, inner ear tattoos are – by default – tiny tattoos, so covering it up with makeup won’t be an extensive process. Just a quick dab of high quality concealer and you’ll be good to go. Here is a list of the best makeup to cover up tattoos

Leaf And Dots Inner Ear Tattoo @cutetattoogirll

Con: Aftercare Can Be A Bit Difficult

The aftercare for an inner ear tattoo is pretty much standard: Wash your fresh ink gently with non-scented soap and keep it moisturized with a gentle lotion. However, where it gets tricky in the first few days of healing is washing and styling your hair.

“For aftercare, I tell all my clients to avoid letting shampooing or soap run directly on their ear tattoo for the first one to two days after receiving their tattoo. The same going for spraying or applying hair products as well in that time frame,”


She also says that your ear feeling warm and looking red after getting inked is totally normal, so nothing to worry about. 

Mandala Ear Tattoos @stacieharwoodtattoos

Inner ear tattoos usually take three to four weeks to heal. 

Con: There Are Serious Health Risks Involved 

Getting an inner ear tattoo can cause temporary headaches, lockjaw, and migraines. Authority Tattoo suggests that this may be due to people clenching their jaw as a reaction to the pain of the tattoo needle. It doesn’t end there,

“Tattooing ear cartilage carries an increased risk of infection because the blood supply is less around that area. Blood carries oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies needed to fight off infection. So when blood supply is low, an infection can take longer to heal.”

Because of the low amount of fat in this area and the many nerve endings, this tattoo placement can be on the more painful side. 

Dandelion Inner Ear Tattoo @kellyneedles

Con: Inner Ear Tattoos Do Tend To Fade Quickly

This is mainly because the ear is an area of the body that’s almost always uncovered and exposed to the elements, such as sunlight. 

While you may love soaking up the sun, your tattoos don’t. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays break down the ink in your skin, causing your tattoo design to fade and blur. Sorry Mom Shop adds,

“Even if you’ve spent lots of time in the sun in the past and have never noticed any fading before, that doesn’t mean the damage isn’t already being done. You’ll rarely see the damaging effects overnight; they often take years to become noticeable.”

Moon And Star Inner Ear Tattoo @xdenyse

Luckily, this tattoo damage can be avoided by simply applying sunscreen on your ear tattoo – but only on fully healed tattoos. Sunscreen should not be applied to fresh tattoos; you can wear a hat to protect a new inner ear tattoo from the sun. 

Tip: Keep a bottle of sunscreen in your car or in your bag so that you’re always prepared.

Con: A Higher Risk Of Blowout 

This placement risk does come with a higher risk of blowout compared with other tattoo placements. Tattoo blowout is when the ink spreads over the lines of the design making it appear fuzzy. 

Plant Dotwork Inner Ear Tattoo @xdenyse

“…because ears have little fat and no muscle tissue, artists have to inject tattoo ink deeper down into the skin than they would in other locations. That is the reason why the chance of [the] tattoo “blowing out” on the ear is bigger,”

Ink Art By Kate

This risk is reduced when you go to a professional artist. For more about “How To Avoid Tattoo Blowout”, click here.

No matter which placement you choose for your new ink, there are going to be a few cons. When you do your research, come to your appointment prepared, and follow the aftercare instructions properly, the cons become far less daunting.

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