Making sure you know how to clean your new belly button piercing is a big deal. This is how you’ll prevent common complications from ruining your new piercing.
Although, knowing what to do isn’t enough. You have to commit to spending the time to actually do it. Cleaning your belly button piercing regularly has to become one of your top priorities for the first few weeks following the procedure.
Why Cleaning Your Belly Button Piercing Is So Important
If you ask people who have just had their belly buttons pierced what their biggest fear is, most of them will say developing infections.
Infections can be unsightly, unpleasant, expensive and sometimes even dangerous.
They aren’t super common – there is only a slight risk after getting your belly button pierced. Still, even though you’ll likely be fine, you have to take that threat seriously because it does happen.
You don’t want to be one of the people who gets stuck watching pus ooze out of their piercing and paying for medicine instead of new jewelry.
How To Clean A Belly Button Piercing
1. Wash your hands
The first thing you want to do is wash your hands well before you begin touching your belly button piercing. If your hands are dirty, they are probably harboring bad bacteria and you might just be giving yourself an infection with your carelessness. So take 30 seconds and give your hands a good scrub down.
2. Remove loose crust
After having your belly button pierced, you’ll notice a crust forming around it for the first few days. You should remove as much loose crust as you can with a Q-tip that you’ve moistened with warm water. You don’t want to be like a bull in a china shop with that Q-tip, though. Any crust that still feels firmly attached to the area should just be left to fall off by itself.
The best way to do it is slowly and gently; this will also minimize any pain you may feel in the tender area.
3. Clean the piercing
You should clean your piercing twice a day using a sea salt solution. This mixture is easy to make – stir one-fourth of a teaspoon of sea salt into 8 ounces of boiled water that has been cooled. You can use cotton balls soaked with the solution for cleansing.
An advantage of this mixture is that it’s incredibly cheap to make, which helps to keep the overall cost of your belly piercing down.
If you’re not comfortable in making your own healing solution, or simply just don’t want to, there are many pre-made ones on the market that are specifically designed to help heal a piercing as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.
How Often Should You Clean Your Belly Button Piercing?
You’ll need to clean your belly button piercing somewhere in the ballpark of between two and four times a day with the saline solution.
If you think the wound is potentially infected, you may want to consider adding some extra cleaning sessions in per day. Cleaning the piercing is a great way to work any infected discharge out of the wound by encouraging drainage.
When Can I Stop Cleaning My Belly Button Piercing?
When you can stop cleaning your belly button piercing depends partly upon how well it appears to be healing. Belly button piercings can take months to heal, and in some cases, it can even take a full year.
If your belly button piercing appears to be healing well and shows no signs of complications, you should continue to clean it for about four weeks.
However, if you develop an infection, you’ll be stuck cleaning your piercing much longer than that. How long will depend upon what your doctor tells you, but you’ll definitely want to keep going for three or four weeks after the infection appears to have cleared up.
You don’t want to cut corners by ditching your cleaning sessions too early. You could be setting the stage for a re-infection, and the only thing that’s worse than having an infected belly button piercing is having the whole situation reoccur.
There are other times when you will want to continue cleaning the area, such as if your belly button begins to reject your piercing. If this happens, you will want to ensure you keep the area as free from bacteria as possible.
How To Clean Your Belly Button Piercing Jewelry
Before you touch your belly button bling, guess what you’re going to have to do? If you said wash your hands, you get a gold star. Handwashing is as important when handling your jewelry as it is when touching your piercing site.
After you take your jewelry out, use a warm, wet paper towel to dislodge any crust on the jewelry.
Once you no longer see any crust on your jewelry, take another fresh paper towel and spray some saline solution on it. Make sure it’s thoroughly wet. Then you’ll place your jewelry inside the paper towel and cover it up for 10 or 15 minutes, making sure that the moisture from the saline is in contact with the jewelry.
After the jewelry has had time to sit with the saline solution or sea salt mixture, you’ll take another paper towel, soak it with warm water and wipe the jewelry down. Make sure you never use a cloth towel for the cleaning because they may be hanging onto bacteria. If that happens, your cleaning session may do you more harm than good.
One thing you should never assume is that cleaning your jewelry like this makes it safe enough to share with other people because it doesn’t.
Your jewelry may have nicks and scratches on the surface that are impossible for you to see with your naked eye. Those imperfections make it hard to fully sterilize your jewelry.
That’s not a huge deal when you’re the only one who plans to wear the jewelry. On the other hand, if you’re sharing it with someone else, it’s very unsanitary and may lead to complications.
The Navel Piercing, more commonly referred to as a belly button piercing, is one of the more popular non-ear piercings among those in and around Newmarket and Mississauga area.
They are versatile, stylish with a wide range of jewelry options to choose from, making them a piercing that can be personalized to match virtually any style or body type. They are also easily hidden under clothing, making them an expressive piercing that can also be worn at work or in other professional settings.
From dangle charms and bent barbells, to captive bead rings and more– there is something for everyone!
But what about aftercare? This is a subject we receive a lot of questions about. Luckily for you, the team at Pierced has put together this handy guide to answer any lingering questions you may have about navel piercing aftercare.
As always, if you need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We have two conveniently located piercing studios, one in each Newmarket and Mississauga, and would love to have you stop by or call in for a chat.
If you’ve decided that you want a navel piercing, you’ll want to do a little research before you go in. For instance, you want to make sure your piercing parlour uses at least a 14 gauge. Anything thinner than a 14 can lead to irritation, migration, or rejection from the piercing.
Know your piercing parlour. You want to ensure they are following best practices, sterilizing their equipment, and doing everything possible to ensure the safety of their customers. This is why it’s important to have trained professionals to perform the piercings.
Trust your piercer. If they say your navel is not suited for a piercing, take the advice to heart. Not everyone’s body is ideal for certain piercings, and pushing through regardless can lead to complications and injuries.
Unlike standard lobe piercings, which take 12-18 weeks to heal, a belly button piercing can take 9-12 months. Know that you’re in for the long haul and must follow proper aftercare until the healing process is finished. Make sure you like your starter piece– you’ll be wearing it for a while.
Another reason to be picky with your jewelry is to avoid an allergic reaction. Some cheaper jewelry available is made with nickel and lead; this can lead to nasty reactions that are often mistaken for infections. This can be avoided by making sure your jewelry is implant grade, with valid documentation in the form of mill certificates.
On the Day Care
Congratulations! You took the plunge and are rocking that new bling. Now, it’s time to take care of yourself and ensure the healing process goes well.
Your piercer will work with you through the first bit. They’ll sanitize the piercing area beforehand; after, they’ll reiterate the aftercare information and set up a follow-up appointment to check on your healing.
Blood and a sense of pain are usual on the first day. Don’t panic, and take something like Ibuprofen– avoid Tylenol and never aspirin as it causes more bleeding.
Cleaning Your Belly Button Piercing
Before you get home (perhaps even before you get the piercing) make sure you have a cleaning solution available. You need to clean your piercing once or twice a day to prevent infection. Sterile saline in a spray can is the most recommended practice. It’s simple and affordable.
Our piercers will hand you an aftercare sheet which will list all the aftercare instructions. They will also explain the aftercare process with you.
Our online aftercare instructions can be found here.
Dos and Don’ts while Healing
Let’s face it: the internet is full of advice. Some of it is really not that great. Make sure you run anything you read by your piercer to ensure its accuracy.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing or go shirtless if you can get away with it. This helps minimize any irritation.
- Take care of your overall health. Eat well, sleep well, etc. The healthier you are, the smoother your body’s healing process.
- Wash your hands anytime you do something regarding your piercing to avoid introducing bacteria. Make sure there is no dirt under your fingernails.
- Avoid all public pools, hot tubs and Jacuzzi, lakes, ponds, and oceans. These can introduce new bacteria and cause an infection.
- Ensure that any soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc is rinsed away from your piercing.
- Remove any crusting when cleaning your piercing– you may want to use a Q-tip.
- Avoid sun tanning with a new navel piercing
- If swelling occurs you can use ice to calm the swelling (in a clean ziploc bag)
- Touch, spin, or rotate the jewelry. It needs to be as stationary as possible, or you risk migration, excess scar tissue, and a longer healing time.
- Scratch any itches. Ice can help calm irritation (make sure to have the ice in a clean Ziploc bag; scratching will hurt more than it will help.
- Use products like Neosporin, bactine, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibacterial soap. These cause a lot of issues with piercing, including migration, excess scar tissue, and prolonged healing. Ointments can smother the piercing, and sanitizers can cause irritation.
- Wear tight-fitting clothing; it will restrict the piercing’s ability to ‘breathe’ and cause migration due to pressure.
- Change the jewelry until you are 100% healed. We recommend visiting your piercer and getting their approval before trying even then.
- Use a tanning bed.
- Pull or stretch your stomach, causing the piercing to be pulled or moved.
- Keep covered with a bandage; this can lead to infection.
- Sleep on your stomach; too much pressure and discomfort.
Signs of Complications
It’s easy to get a little paranoid about the healing. Redness, swelling, and some discharge is to be expected.
So how do you know when to and not to panic?
If your reddened skin starts to feel hotter than the surrounding area, or a large amount of pus or discharge that changes color may be a sign. It is highly recommended to see your piercer or a reputable piercer. If needed the piercer may suggest a doctor if needed.
Next Steps to Take
While most instructions for aftercare are standard, everyone’s body heals differently. Keep in contact with your piercer while you heal. Also all of the DO’s and DON’Ts are during the full healing process of your navel piercing at 9-12 months minimum.
After you’re fully healed, you will want to avoid taking out your piercing without replacing the jewelry. However, certain situations call for it. Pregnancy, for instance, or surgery. If you experience these, invest in a piece of bioflex to keep your piercing open until you can wear jewelry again.
Navel Piercing Aftercare – not as hard as you thought
Navel piercings are fun and can enhance the aesthetics of any body type or style. But they aren’t without their risks. Any time you piece or puncture the skin there is always a risk of infection and improper healing.
However, by choosing the right piercing shop and by following proper aftercare instructions, you’ll be left with a piercing you can enjoy for years.
Getting your belly pierced is a sure shot way of upping your hotness quotient. Belly piercings look especially hot when your sporting a bikini or navel revealing tops. Belly button piercings are becoming very popular with the young, especially those in the age bracket of 14-18.
Amongst all piercings, the belly takes the longest to heal. It is not advisable to bend or squat when your piercing is brand new. And here’s a piece of good news you lazy bones- you can give your ab workout a miss for a few weeks! Your piercing should heal fairly quickly if you treat with tender loving care. However, the chances of developing an infection are particularly high if you fail to clean your piercing properly.
Do not ignore an infection as nothing could get nastier than an infected piercing. You might notice that your navel feels warm to the touch, may look inflamed and might be sore. This is okay on the first two days of getting your piercing. However, if the redness persists causing your piercing to swell and you see smelly, greenish-yellow pus oozing out of it, it is time for prompt action. – Rinse your navel with salt water after you have finished bathing. Use a teaspoon of sea salt and mix it with some warm water. Soak a cotton ball in the salty concoction and place it on your piercing. This will sting a little because of the presence of the sea salt. Hold it on the piercing for a few minutes and repeat a few times with new cotton balls. The heat from the warm water will help in increasing the blood flow to the infected piercing thus allowing the pus to drain out. The sea salt will help the wound to dry out without destroying the good cells that are trying to heal the wound.
– Avoid using a cloth instead of cotton balls as cloth can spread the infection.
– Although they help in disinfecting a wound, do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean your infected piercing as they do not aid healing.
– Dilute a few drops of mother tincture in water and dab your piercing with this solution. This is going to sting a lot more than the sea salts but clears off the infection faster.
– Do not ever remove the belly ring. Infected piercings close up pretty fast and once you remove the ring you may not be able to re-insert it. If your piercing closes while it is infected, an under-skin infection known as abscess could develop. There are high chances of a keloid forming at the piercing after it has healed.
– While bathing with warm water, gently move your ring up and down to loosen up any bacterial build-up. The build-up can also dry up and become crusty. Clean the crust while you are soaking the piercing with the salt water solution.
– Do not clean the piercing with a towel. Your ring could get stuck in the towel’s fibres and besides, the infection could spread.
– If you are a swimming enthusiast, do not swim for a few weeks as the chlorine in the pool will dry up your piercing, making it itchy.
Belly button piercings are a popular way to modify your body and show off your personal style, but they come with the risk of infection. Infected belly button piercings can be painful, unsightly, and dangerous if left untreated. That’s why it’s best to take good care of your piercing to prevent infection in the first place.
Here’s how to know if your belly button piercing is infected and how to treat it.
Symptoms of an infected belly button piercing
If your belly button is freshly pierced, it’s normal to experience some redness and swelling around the piercing, says Howard Sobel MD, board-certified dermatologist at Sobel Skin and Clinical Attending Dermatologic Surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital.
However, if the swelling becomes severe and is accompanied by pain that feels like soreness, this may be a sign of infection, Sobel says. Other symptoms that signal you may have an infection include:
- Smelly discharge/pus from the piercing
- Upset stomach
Important: “An infection tends to be constant pain and swollen with drainage of pus. An allergic reaction will be more itchy and sometimes look like a hive. Always use metals that are safe for your skin, like surgical steel, platinum, or solid 14 or 18 karat gold,” says Sobel.
How to treat an infected belly button piercing
To treat an infected belly button piercing, it’s important to keep the piercing in. You may be tempted to remove it, but if that happens, you risk the wound closing up and trapping the infection inside your body, Sobel says. Keeping the piercing in also allows any pus to drain.
You also need to make sure the area stays clean. “Remember piercings are open wounds, so it’s important to keep them clean while healing,” says Sobel.
Sobel says you should also follow these three steps which will work together to care for the infection:
- Clean the area with gentle antibacterial soap, and dry it with a clean towel twice a day, morning and night.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment two times a day after the area is cleaned.
- Use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to keep the wound clean, once a day, at night after cleansing the affected area.
If the infection persists even after following these care tips, or if you’re experiencing the more severe symptoms such as fever, chills, and upset stomach, you should see a doctor. Sobel says that in this case, you might need oral antibiotics to help clear up the infection.
If you leave infected piercings untreated, it can lead to a more serious infection, an abscess, or the infection spreading. Therefore, it’s crucial that you take action if your piercing is infected.
How to care for your belly button piercing to avoid infection
There are steps you can take to care for your belly button piercing, especially when it’s first healing. To maintain the health of your piercing, Sobel says you should:
- Clean the piercing regularly with warm water and a small amount of soap twice a day.
- Soak the area in a sterile saline solution for five to 10 minutes daily. You can do this by soaking a cotton ball with the solution and then applying it to the area.
- Avoid tight fitting clothes that can irritate the area. Instead, opt for looser tops and pants.
- Avoid hot tubs, pools, and lakes where chemicals or dirt may irritate your piercing.
- Cover the piercing with a large bandage when you exercise so that you avoid irritation while you’re working out. This will prevent it from moving around and to prevent any further irritation from sweating or clothing rubbing the infected area.
Compared to other piercings, belly button piercings have a long healing time. It can take up to nine months for this type of piercing to heal completely. However, you only need to avoid going in those bodies of water or tight clothing that may irritate the piercing for about three months, says Sobel.
A belly button piercing can be a fun type of body modification, but you must be vigilant during the healing process to avoid infection. That’s why it’s important to follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions and know the signs and symptoms of a possible infection.
If you think your belly button piercing is infected, be sure to take action ASAP, and see a doctor if things aren’t improving after some at-home care or if your symptoms are severe.
When it comes to self-care, we give a ton of attention to our hands, feet, face, arms, neck, legs. But there's one little area we tend to overlook. It's the belly button. We talked to dermatologists to find out exactly how to clean belly buttons!
That random (dare I say, cute?) hole in the middle of your stomach needs love, too. Even though it may look totally harmless, your belly button is actually a breeding ground for some prettyyyy wild bacteria. “The navel is an occluded area where skin rests on skin, creating a dark, moist environment in which bacteria and yeast can breed and can become a cesspool for microbes if not properly maintained,” says Dr. Susan Bard of Sadick Dermatology. “If bacteria and yeast are allowed to breed, it can lead to foul odor and even infection.”
A smelly belly button? Yikes! And the fact that you can get a yeast infection in there. Why is no one talking more about this?! I mean, we've all heard about (or had) "belly button lint," but this is a whole new level.
Belly button issues are technically more common for people who have piercings, but those of us with jewelry-free navels aren't totally safe. You should regularly be giving your belly button a little extra TLC to make sure it stays clean and infection free. “I recommend patients clean their navel daily in the shower with gentle soap and water,” says Dr. Bard. “A washcloth or Q-tip may help." Unlike with your ears, your navel is a "blind pouch" (does that make anyone else think of teeny, tiny kangaroos?) so unlike with your ears, there's no risk of going too far with a Q-tip or losing anything inside your body.
Read on to find out exactly how to clean your navel, whether it's an innie or an outie!
How to Clean Your Innie Belly Button
Innie belly buttons need the extra help of a Q-tip to get into all the nook and crannies of the skin. Before going in, swab the Q-tip with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Gently swab the inside of your belly button.
To make sure you get all the soap or rubbing alcohol out, follow up with a clean Q-tip with water and reswab the area. As an added measure, hop in the shower to give yourself and your belly button a final rinse.
Gently dry the inside of your navel with the tip of a dry washcloth or another clean, dry Q-tip.
How to Clean Your Outie Belly Button
Outie belly buttons are easier to clean. There's no trick to it—it's really just like cleaning any other part of your normal skin. Lather up your washcloth, sponge, or loofah and gently scrub your belly button.
Dry off the area and follow up your belly button cleaning with a lotion or body oil to keep the skin soft, supple, and smelling good! (This is not a step you should include if you have an innie belly button, since the lotion inside can produce too much moisture and become a breeding ground for bacteria—yuck!)
How to Clean Your Belly Button When You Have a Piercing
In addition to regularly cleansing and drying your belly button, you can add an extra step of washing your navel (this is especially important when the piercing is fresh) with salt water or an isotonic saline solution, which you can find for under $10 at your local drugstore. You can also make a DIY saltwater solution by combining 1/4 of a teaspoon of sea salt into 1 cup of clean, warm water. Stir the sea salt in until it is fully dissolved, and you're good to go! Just make sure you use sea salt, as iodized table salt won't do the trick. Using a saline or saltwater soak is key to warding off infections caused by piercings.
Our belly ring care guide is intended to help you maximise your investment in belly jewellery. Learn the best way to clean, store and maintain your belly rings for a longer lifespan and learn which types of jewellery are best for you and for optimum durability.
NOTE: Wash your hands, clean your piercing and your belly jewellery with a disinfectant hand soap before changing – this applies to BOTH old jewellery and new jewellery straight out of the pack. For a guide on how and when to change your navel piercing visit the, TummyToys information page here.
316L Surgical Steel Belly Rings
316L surgical steel will not tarnish, flake or peel and will last the test of time. However, all belly rings, even the basic belly rings will still collect particles of dirt and body oils in various areas. We recommend cleaning your jewellery for to keep it looking brand new and for maximum hygiene. Simply use dish washing detergent in warm water.
Warning: alcohol can damage and loosen gems, likewise harsh chemicals can also prematurely age your belly jewellery.
To remove dirt or build up, use a gentle brush – like a toothbrush. Give your jewellery a final wash with disinfectant hand soap to assist killing bacteria.
925 Sterling Silver Belly Rings
The optimum choice for belly rings, especially for those who suffer allergies due to its low nickel content. Many people think that 925 Silver jewellery is less valuable because it tarnishes. While it is true that it does tarnish, it is also easily restored unlike cheaper metals. Simply using a Godards Silver Cloth or silver cleaning agent to polish your belly jewellery (no matter how tarnished it is). Polishing will restore its shiny luster and bring it back to brand new EVERY TIME! For many reasons silver is dearer than surgical steel, it is shinier, durable and is recognised as a precious metal.
Solid Gold Belly Bars
Another optimum choice for belly jewellery, be it the most expensive, it comes with its advantages. Unlike 925 silver, 14K gold will not tarnish and unlike gold plated jewellery, it will forever maintain its luster. Neither will it flake or peel with age like costume jewellery. However, solid gold navel rings can still collect particles of dirt and body oils. We recommend cleaning your navel jewellery to keep it looking brand new. You can use a jewellery cleaning agent if you have one, but if not, something as simple as dish washing detergent will do the trick! The WikiHow has an excellent photo demonstration on cleaning gold jewellery, you can check it out here.
Gold Plated Body Jewellery
Gold plated is perfect if you want the style of gold without the price tag. It allows you to save money and buy more belly rings! Take caution though, gold plated jewellery (unlike solid gold) will fade over time, especially when it is regularly exposed to water or chemicals like soaps, creams, sun lotion, tanning oils and cleaning products. Even your perspiration and the PH balance of your skin can affect the lifespan of gold plated belly rings. It’s impossible to predict how long your gold plated belly rings will last as this depends on many factors, including how often you wear it and the conditions you expose it to. Chlorine, salt water and pool chemicals can have an aging effect on your shiny plated jewels, for this reason we recommend replacing your gold plated belly bars with surgical steel, 925 Sterling silver or solid gold when showering or swimming and saving your plated jewellery for other special occasions. NOTE: Do NOT store your plated jewellery in the bathroom or anywhere humid, this will speed up the aging process. Keep plated jewellery dry and away from the elements.
Maintaining, Using and Cleaning TummyToys® Belly Rings
The TummyToys® clasps all come with a lifetime guarantee, they will not fade, flake or peel with age. The clasp tightness is also fully adjustable, so if your clasp is too tight or becomes too loose you can easily fix this by following the TummyToys® online video tutorial guide.
For full instructions on maintaining, cleaning and using the TummyToys® clasps visit the online tutorials at TummyToys®.
PTFE and Plastic/Acrylic
The best thing about PTFE belly bars (aside from the bargain price) is that they are easily resized to a desired length. To adjust, use a pair of scissors and cut the bar on a slight angle at the required length. Using a surgical steel ball, screw it on to the newly cut edge with firm pressure and the PTFE bar will re-thread itself. You can then replace the steel ball with a plastic ball if desired.
When cleaning this type of material do NOT use alcohol or any chemical based cleaning agents as these will crack and damage your jewellery. Simply rinse in warm water with a generic disinfectant hand soap.
Dangly Belly Bars, Costume Jewellery and Bronze Plated
Yes, these items are bargain priced and are available in a wide range of styles, colours and lengths, however they are NOT comprised of the same quality materials as the more expensive range of belly bars in 925 silver and solid gold. Costume belly bars can be susceptible to water damage and age with exposure to chemicals. Additionally they can be affected by your body oils and hygiene products including sunscreen lotion and tanning oils. To get the most out of your dangling belly rings we recommend you care for them in a similar way as you would gold plating (above). While costume jewellery does have a 316L surgical steel shaft, many have charms and dangles that are rhodium plated over metal or vintage brass plated and will show their age when mistreated.
Technically, anyone can have the skin around their navel pierced, however, anatomically, not everyone is setup to heal a navel piercing.
In order for a navel to heal properly it must have a good lip of skin above the navel (or in some cases, below) with space both behind and below the lip for the jewelry to sit without pressure. The lip of skin should be a flap (like an earlobe), with an obvious front and back to it and a defined edge between the two. Without a well-defined “lip” above the navel there is an increased chance for problems healing—including rejection. Likewise, attempting to pierce navels that do have a flap but do not have enough space behind them to allow jewelry to sit comfortably will generally result in a difficult and problematic healing process.
This is why when clients come to the studio requesting a piercing, we will have a piercer take a look at their navel and discuss the viability of the piercing first. If you come to us requesting a navel piercing and we think your navel does not have a good chance of healing properly, we will often decline to pierce it. We do not want to take your money and condemn you to a year or so of discomfort and hassle when we know that, in the end, you probably won’t get what you want. If your navel is not a pierceable shape, that doesn’t mean you’re too fat, too thin, or deformed; it’s simply that your navel is not shaped in such a way that we think you can heal the piercing.
If I can’t pierce the top, can I pierce the bottom?
Some people have enough of a lip on the bottom that it can be pierced—but very few. More often than not the answer is “no.”
Can you pierce my outie?
It’s not recommended to pierce “outie” tissue. A normal navel piercing goes only through surface skin at the edge of the navel, while an “outie” navel is more complex than simple surface skin; it is residual scarring from the umbilical cord. As such, an infected “outie” navel piercing can become dangerous quickly.
With that said, some people with outies have regular lips of surface skin above or below them—sort of a combination “innie” navel with a little outie inside. Depending on the individual shape of the navel, this surface skin may be pierceable. However, this is entirely dependent upon your anatomy. Your best bet is to check with your piercer to see what’s possible.
Why do navels take so long to heal?
The skin being pierced around the navel is not very vascular—meaning there is very little blood flow to the area. The less blood flowing to an area, the slower the healing tends to be. Due to its location, the piercing is also subjected to constant bending, stretching, folding, and friction. Both of these things contribute to a long healing process—anywhere from six months to a year.
With such a prolonged healing time, navel piercings are also more likely to develop problems during healing. While a properly treated piercing may never give you problems, a wound that is healing for up to a year has a much greater chance of getting irritated—or even infected. To prevent this from occurring, keep yours (and others’) hands, mouths, and bodily fluids off of it during the healing process.
Why is the jewelry so thick?
At Infinite, we generally pierce navels at 12 gauge. Our experience has taught us this tends to be the best size jewelry for most lifestyles. While it is possible to pierce, and heal, a navel with 14 gauge jewelry, you must be even more careful and conscientious with your care; the thinner the jewelry is, the more likely the piercing is to be injured, scarred, or even start to migrate when caught or pulled on. The thicker the jewelry, the more internal surface area you have, and therefore the more skin you have supporting the weight of the jewelry.
Think of it this way: if you distribute weight and pressure over a larger area or over more skin cells, the area becomes more resilient and resistant and, ideally, less prone to small tearing and scarring. It’s like carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder: A bag with thin straps cuts into your shoulder a lot more than a bag with wide straps since the weight is dispersed more evenly. As such, thicker jewelry can give you a little more of a chance of success with healing.
Can I go swimming?
With any fresh piercing we generally recommend you avoid swimming for the first month, though the risk to your piercing depends on where you’re swimming. Saltwater and chlorine may be okay for your piercing, however, other bacteria in the water may be problematic. You can never be sure how balanced the chemical levels are in anyone else’s pool—or what else may be in the water. Ocean water tends to be great for speeding healing, but the water on a beach in the tropics is not the same at the water at the Jersey Shore. If nothing else, definitely avoid hot tubs, quarries, or lakes as the water quality is even more questionable.
If you do go swimming during the healing process, the most important thing to do is to make sure that you clean your piercing thoroughly afterward.
What about sit-ups and exercise?
Sit-ups and exercise usually don’t present a problem for you or your piercing, but you may want to adjust your workout to avoid putting excess pressure on your jewelry or piercing—at least in the beginning. Listen to your body; if it hurts, don’t do it. (And sweat shouldn’t hurt your piercing, just be sure to shower afterward.)
What about tanning?
Tanning itself will not affect your piercing, but tanning lotions and the chemicals in them can be problematic. If you do go tanning, make sure you don’t get lotion on the piercing.
Do I have to take it out if I get pregnant? Can I get it repierced after the baby?
Whether or not you take your jewelry out when pregnant is up to you, and what your particular body does. The shape of your navel will certainly change as your belly stretches to accommodate your growing little one. At later stages, the navel can stretch flat or turn inside-out, making wearing jewelry uncomfortable. Jewelry can also become increasingly difficult to keep in as your skin stretches, especially during the second and third trimester. Some women find this pressure so unbearable that they remove the jewelry and let the piercing close; others leave their jewelry in the whole time and have no pain or problems.
In many cases, especially if the navel piercing has fully healed before the pregnancy, jewelry can simply be removed and put back in after delivery. The piercing may shrink a bit in size, but the hole can often be stretched open later—making repiercing unnecessary.
If you remove your jewelry and your piercing completely closes, you can usually get it repierced after the birth. You should obviously wait until you are back to relatively normal functions before you ask any more of your body’s energies. (On the same note, you should wait until after your child is done breastfeeding before getting a new piercing. Trying to heal anything while still lactating tends to be incredibly difficult as your body has energies directed elsewhere.) Also keep in mind that you will be holding your newborn close to you (often on your hip), and you don’t want to make healing even more difficult when your little one starts kicking his or her feet.
It seemed to be the biggest trend in the 90’s: getting a belly button piercing. Many models, dancers, and actresses would happily flaunt their newly acquired navel jewelry. There are indications that Egyptian Pharaohs used a ring through the navel as a ritual transition from earthly life to eternity, but otherwise, there are no historical indications that the piercing of the navel was common. After the ear piercing, the belly piercing is the most popular piercing among women and men also increasingly opt for this sexy piercing. But before you make a hasty decision, it’s good to think about the pros and cons of this piercing.
Do I have a suitable belly/navel?
Unfortunately, not everyone is a suited candidate for this piercing so it may not be possible for you to get a belly button piercing. If your belly button is too deep or has too much surrounding tissue, it can cause constant pressure on the jewelry, preventing the wound from healing properly. This often causes irritation or can cause infection. When this is the case, it is wise not to have this piercing done. A belly that’s too big can also be detrimental to a belly piercing. This, in turn, creates pressure on piercing, which can cause it to grow out. This is the case, for example, if your belly folds over your belly button when you sit or bend over. In general, changes of it growing out are bigger when you have a bigger stomach. The body will reject the piercing and it will fall out over time. In addition, with an outward navel, it is possible that there is not enough room to have it pierced.
Getting your belly button pierced
A belly button piercing is not placed in the navel itself, but through the skin that surrounds it. Therefore, the name is actually a bit misleading. It’s most common to have the upper edge pierced, but theoretically, it is possible to have the piercing done on any side you prefer.
When your navel is found to be suitable, you can have the piercing done. Preferably wear a shirt that is not too tight and that you can easily pull up. Your pants should not be too high in the waist. It is important that your clothes do not get in the way during and after piercing.
The belly button piercing is a surface piercing. This means that the jewelry is pierced through a skin fold. This is done in the same way as a cartilage piercing. The skin fold is held with a clamp and a needle is pushed through. When the needle is withdrawn, the piercer pulls the jewel through it.
Aftercare and healing
A belly button will take longer to heal than a piercing in any other part of your body. This may mean that you’ll be bothered by the piercing during this period. Sometimes the wound becomes inflamed. This can be painful and annoying.
On average there is a recovery time of about 6 months. The most important thing is that the piercing is kept clean. Due to the large amount of bacteria, it is not recommended to swim in chlorinated water for the first few weeks. However, swimming in salt water can work very well to prevent infections, as well as cleaning the piercing with a saline solution.
You can clean the piercing as follows:
Use a paper cup and dissolve 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in warm water.
Put on low pants and pull your shirt up (or off).
Bend forward from your waist until the edge of the cup surrounds your piercing.
Then move on to a couch or bed carefully while pressing the cup against your stomach.
The saline solution will help to clean and disinfect the wound and the heat of the water will drain any pus or secretion from the piercing. You must keep the cup over your belly button for at least 10 minutes.
When you’re done, carefully get up to avoid spilling the liquid, drain the water into the sink and pat your belly dry with a clean tissue or paper towel.
It is also advisable not to wear pants with a high waist. Because of the edge of the trousers, the piercing can get stuck which can lead to unwelcome complications. The jewelry might even get stuck and in the worst case you’ll tear out your piercing. A poorly cared for belly piercing can cause considerable scarring, or in the worst case, the infection can lead to serious health problems. If you experience any problems, prevent things from getting worse by contacting your piercer or your doctor immediately.
As with any other piercing, don’t change the jewelry before your piercing is completely healed.
Different types of piercing jewelry
You can decorate your stomach with different types of piercings. In general, rods and rings are the most suitable. Below is a brief overview of the different types of piercing jewelry.
Barbell: In the simplest form, this is a rod with a ball on two sides, but can also have other shapes. One ball falls into the cavity of the belly button and the other ball outside it.
Banana bell: A type of barbell where the rod is slightly bent. This is often used when placing a belly button ring after piercing. The ball that falls into the navel cavity can have an extra decoration, such as a stone or a short chain.
Captive Bead Ring (CBR): This is a ring that’s closed by a small ball.
Hopefully, we have provided you with enough information about the advantages and disadvantages of belly button piercings, but if you have any questions or doubts, please feel free to visit our store where our team is happy to help you make the right choice.
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Your belly button, or navel, tends to collect germs, sweat, and dirt. In fact, your belly button can even grow dozens of different bacteria.
Belly button infections
Like other parts of the body, the belly button can gather bacteria or fungi over time. This may trigger an infection, creating a funky smell in your belly button. People who have an “innie” belly button or a pierced navel may develop these infections more easily. Making sure your belly button is clean will help prevent any unpleasant smells and keep it healthy.
Belly button cysts
Cysts are liquid- or pus-filled growths that may feel hard or soft. If a cyst becomes infected, it can cause fluid to leak from the belly button. There are different types of cysts depending on what led to their formation.
Newborns and older kids can develop urachal cysts. The urachus is the tube that connects the fetal bladder to the umbilical cord. Although the urachus usually closes before a baby is born, sometimes it fails to seal completely. In this case, a cyst may form on it later in life. Other symptoms may occur, such as abdominal pain, a fever, and pain when urinating.
Other types of cysts — sebaceous (from sebaceous glands), epidermoid (from surface skin cells), and pilar (from hair follicle) — can also result in belly button discharge. If you think you may have a cyst, never try to burst it on your own. Instead, seek advice from a health care provider.
One of the most common causes of belly button odor is poor hygiene. The belly button can trap sweat, dead skin, and dirt. Many people forget to wash their belly buttons regularly, so germs tend to develop there. To keep a clean and healthy belly button, maintaining your overall hygiene is important.
Your skin houses trillions of bacteria that naturally develop and are usually harmless. The belly button’s folds of skin give the bacteria a great environment in which to grow. Bacteria have no odor, but if they get too densely packed, the decomposition of waste products can create a specific belly button smell.
Newborn belly button smell
A newborn baby is covered with amniotic and birth canal secretions and may not smell pleasant. After a bath (excluding the umbilical cord), this odor goes away. After delivery, the umbilical cord attaching the baby to the mother will be cut. Because the cord’s blood supply is cut, it starts to dry and wither. A purple-blue stump may remain until it completely falls off. Then, the belly button may surface as early as the third day after birth; however, it usually takes up to two weeks to appear. The cord stump/belly button may smell unpleasant at first, but this smell will fade once the residual cord stump falls off completely.
Smelly navel risk factors
You’re more likely to experience a smelly belly button in the following circumstances:
- if you have diabetes
- if you recently had a belly button piercing
- if you are overweight
Preventing a smelly button
- Washing your belly button at least once a day prevents a buildup of the dead skin, sweat, and oils that your body produces naturally. Showering or bathing daily can also help prevent skin problems and unpleasant odors. Especially after sweating a lot, such as in hot weather or after strenuous exercises, make sure to wash your body well.
- Using warm water and soap, gently clean in and around your belly button. Rinse the soap with warm water and dry your belly button with a clean towel.
Cleaning your belly button
If you’re noticing an odor from your belly button, you may need to clean the area more thoroughly. Here are the steps:
- Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you can use water, a saltwater solution, or hydrogen peroxide to clean your belly button.
- Dip one side of a cotton swab into a cleansing agent and gently wipe your belly button. Delicately work your way across the belly button, being careful not to rub inside the navel and cause irritation.
- If your navel still seems dirty or smelly, start the process again with a new, clean swab. When you’re done, make sure to remove any excessive cleansing agent from your navel.
- Apply a small drop of baby oil to replace the natural oils you may have wiped away.
- If your belly button feels dry, gently apply some ointment in and around the center of your navel. Then, remove any excess ointment with a swab.
Washing your belly button should stop the unpleasant smell if it’s from a buildup of dirt and germs. However, if the odor persists even after cleaning, you may want to see a health care provider. If you develop redness, swelling, aching, or discharge, your belly button may be infected. This is especially problematic if you have a navel piercing. If needed, a health care provider may prescribe antibiotics or other treatment to help you feel better.
Worried you’ll have to ditch your belly button piercing once you’re pregnant and your tummy starts to bulge with baby? Not necessarily.
As long as your piercing is healed — for example, you didn’t get it done within the last month or so — and healthy, there’s no medical reason why you need to remove your hardware during pregnancy. After all, your belly button marks where you were connected to your own mom in the womb, not where your baby connects to you — which means that a piercing won’t allow pathogens in.
Of course, as your stomach starts to jut out and your skin gets increasingly taut, you may find that the jewelry becomes too uncomfortable to wear. Watch for redness in the skin surrounding your piercing, which probably means that it’s too tight. Your belly ring might also start to rub against your clothing and even get caught, which can hurt, especially if your belly button “pops” later in pregnancy.
If you opt to take out your jewelry entirely, run your belly ring through the hole every few days to keep the piercing from closing. Or consider replacing it with a flexible belly bar made of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene — aka, Teflon — which is the stuff used on nonstick pans that was reformulated so it no longer contains the potentially dangerous chemical PFOA). Because these bars aren’t made of rigid metal, they’re more comfortable, and can be cut to the size that suits your growing bump.
If the hole does happen to close, though, you can always get it re-pierced after you give birth.
As for getting your belly button or anything else pierced during pregnancy, it’s better to hold off until after delivery. It’s not a good idea to puncture the skin when you’re expecting, since doing so ups the odds of an avoidable infection. Remember: Changes to your immune system during pregnancy can put you and your baby at higher risk of infections.