Navel or belly button piercing is a fashionable trend common with young ladies across the world. The ease of getting these piercings done, along with the wide range of styles to choose from, makes it a fashion statement. However, while piercings can be sassy, cute, and trendy, there’s a need to have considerable information about body piercings – Below are salient points to take note of to ensure that you get that perfect body piercing.
1. Inquire for experienced advice and recommendations if you like to go through any medical procedure. If you’re underage or below 18, always seek your guardian’s consent before taking any decision.
2. Navel piercing is very painful and risky, and regular maintenance is needed for complete healing. Avoid aerobics, yoga, acrobatics, and any vigorous activity for a few weeks till you completely recover.
3. A trained practitioner must do your piercing to prevent complications or incorrect incisions.
4. An extra visible flap of skin is needed for an outer navel piercing, but an inner piercing is quite simple and easy to place. Hence, if you’ll like an outie, it is recommended you avoid an inexperienced piercer.
5. Belly button piercings are usually done with sterilized needles to prevent infections and guarantee a safe procedure. Therefore, never allow your piercings to be done with piercing guns or any machine to stay clear of any disease.
6. Ensure your piercer is wearing a pair of clean surgical latex gloves before undergoing the process. Hygiene is crucial during navel piercing to prevent bacterial infection since your belly button is very sensitive and prone to irritation.
7. A clean environment is required to avoid possible infection risks. Therefore, always pay attention to the nature of a piercing room before booking an appointment; this will lower any chances of contracting infections during the process.
8. A seasoned professional should be able to offer assistance and guidance before and after your navel piercing in case of any inflammation. Try to ask about this even before booking an appointment.
9. Avoid using jewelry materials made of Nickel, sterling silver, etc., as they are prone to corrosion and tarnishing. Instead, it should be made of non-toxic, anti-allergenic metal like niobium, platinum, titanium, and pure gold – either 14-karat or 18-karat gold (1).
10. To ensure that your piercing area stays clean, free from bacteria, and heals appropriately, use a warm sea salt solution to clean the surface regularly. It speeds up the healing process and guarantees complete relief.
Tea tree oil has prophylactic and antimicrobial properties that can help during the recovery process. Therefore, you can use it to minimize any risk of inflammation and prevent contamination. Moreover, it should only be used as a complementary aid for assisted healing to avoid oil buildup.
11. Use an antibacterial soap to wash your navel piercing in the absence of sea salt. However, your piercer should be able to provide a saline formula. Clean your piercing area two times a day.
12. While your belly button incision is healing, avoid touching the surface, which may aggravate the situation and cause contamination. Instead, gently turn the jewelry occasionally.
13. To allow the area to heal appropriately, desist from using waist ornaments to reduce movement around your navel region and avoid constant sliding at the part. Wait for about twelve months to allow undisturbed healing.
14. Clothes that cling to your belly button region should be avoided to allow air and unrestricted movement during the healing period.
15. The healing period typically depends on external factors. For example, healing will take more time if you engage in routines like tanning or sunbathing.
Reactions Associated with Belly Button Piercing
1. Allergic Reactions
These reactions occur due to the material of the jewelry. When you don’t use the correct type of jewelry, a bad allergic reaction may develop, and sometimes it may cause an abnormal growth around your piercing area. A small or large amount of Nickel in piercing jewelry is a common cause of allergic reactions on sensitive skin. Examples of materials to avoid for navel piercing include:
- Sterling Silver
- Plated Gold
Ensure your jewelry is well-tested before installment. While your piercer can pick out a suitable one for you, buying your jewelry is preferable to select a high-quality piece – especially if you’d like a pure gold set.
The best skin-friendly materials to use for your belly button piercing include
- Physical Vapor Deposition Aztec Gold
- Surgical stainless steel
- Surgical Titanium
Also, metals with high oxidative properties and low grades have an increased tendency to react to body fluids and may cause severe irritations – they also increase the healing duration. In an article disseminated by the “Association of Professional Piercers,” a high-quality jewelry material must withstand the pressure and temperature of autoclave disinfection. (2)
2. Bacterial Reactions
These types of infections are mainly observed due to the position of the piercing. A discharge from the area often accompanies it. Nevertheless, bacterial reactions occur due to inadequate hygiene, irritations, constant disturbance of the pierced region, unsterilized needle, and more.
A belly button piercing heals fully between four to six weeks, but it may take close to six and twelve months for complete recovery – depending on external factors and level of care. While the piercing is healing, follow these guidelines strictly to reduce any chances of infection:
- Be careful when taking out dead blood cells.
- Change your navel jewelry if you have any allergic reactions.
- Always keep your navel clean by washing it with a warm sea salt solution.
- Avoid changing the initial jewelry too early.
- Avoid using creams and oils to prevent clogging and trapping of bacteria.
How to Identify an Infected Piercing Area
Sometimes, identifying routine healing and infection may be tricky. For example, after getting a navel or belly button piercing, it is customary to notice swelling or feel a painful sensation around or within the pierced region (3). On the other hand, if you experience gradual relief daily, it is just a healing process. But new or abnormal signs may indicate an infection.
Symptoms of inflammation include:
- You will feel a burning sensation within the pierced area.
- You will notice yellowish-green pus with a foul smell.
- A bump close to the piercing.
- An intense, recurrent, and sharp pain.
- The skin around the region feels hot.
- You feel unwell or develop a sudden fever after the procedure.
- You will observe redness and swelling encircling the piercing.
Furthermore, it is crucial to avoid self-medication if you notice any of these symptoms to avert further complications. The piercing procedure may spread more acute infections like hepatitis and HIV (4), especially when using old or unsterilized needles. If you have a weak immune system, consult with your medical practitioner and inform your piercer before making an appointment.
However, if you are unsure how to identify an infection, you should visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Blood tests are usually carried out by testing the pus or taking skin samples.
Choose a Professional Piercer
A seasoned professional must be registered under a recognized piercing organization. Also, any trained personnel must enforce verified safety procedures following government policies and regulations. A safe piercing procedure can only be guaranteed by a professional.
After your piercing area has completely healed with no indication of future risks, you may switch to a fancy ornament. However, piercers often use plain and simple jewelry made of bio-compatible and hypoallergenic materials for better recovery. Hence, you may replace it with a more aesthetic option, but make sure you do it right. Check out this guide to swap your jewelry safely.
1. Wash your hands properly: Never touch pierced areas with unwashed hands. Make sure you avoid contamination during replacement – particularly during your first substitute. Always make sure you cleanse and wash your hands with a disinfectant or antibacterial soap.
2. Clean the area around the pierced skin with sea salt solution: A saline solution helps kill bacteria and germs. Proper cleaning reduces microbial congestion, clogging, and the number of bacteria.
3. Sterilize your new jewelry: Whether you are getting a replacement with a professional piercer or at home, ensure it is sterilized and sanitized before installment. A proper method of providing complete disinfection is to immerse the navel jewelry in an alcohol solution – let the alcohol dry off before inserting. While this method is effective, the alcohol may damage the jewelry coating or stone features. Hence, you may go for antibacterial soap since it offers the same purpose.
4. Take out the medical jewelry: Remove the initial jewelry by unscrewing the ball. In most cases, it may appear stiff, meaning it still requires extra time to heal. Don’t apply pressure; give it some time.
5. Glide in your new replacement: This process must be done immediately after the previous stage to avoid blockage or clogging. “The United Kingdom’s Association Of Professional Piercers” published an article on Piercings & Surgery that outlines that piercing retainers may be used to keep the hole opened when the jewelry is removed. Next, secure the ornament with any closure – usually ball-like. Nevertheless, after installment, always examine the area from time to time for any redness or sign of irritation. If it becomes itchy, apply an antibiotic ointment to relieve it.
The navel or belly button region is sensitive and prone to irritation or infection during a piercing procedure or after a replacement. Always seek advice from professionals or viable sites for proper guidance to avoid future complications. While it may seem easy to change a navel piercing, be sure to follow the rules and be gentle to prevent rupturing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the types of navel piercing?
The type of navel piercings depends on the kind of navels. Visit a seasoned professional to help identify the piercing suitable for you. Popular navel shapes include; an outie, deep hollow, horizontal, light bulb, round, and vertical.
Can I pierce the bottom of my belly button?
If you have enough skin-flap at the bottom of your navel, then go ahead. However, piercing the upper part is more advisable.
Can I do sit-ups after going through navel piercing?
Exercising isn’t usually a problem after getting a piercing. But it would be best if you could avoid strenuous workouts that may stress or put excess pressure around the area. Professionals advise minimal exercises during the first healing stages. Still, pay attention to your skin and health; if it is painful, desist from continuing to prevent tearing or swelling.
When I am pregnant, do I have to take the piercing out?
While the shape of your belly button will change when your tummy increases, removing the jewelry at this point is up to you; pregnant women with navel piercings usually experience discomfort during their second and third trimesters. But in situations where the surface has not fully healed, the jewelry should be taken out. Nonetheless, you may replace your fancy piercing with a simple one like Tygon. It is a safe, plastic jewelry material that is suitable for pregnant women with belly button piercings.
Can I Swim After Getting a Piercing?
After a navel or belly button piercing, avoid swimming till the healing process is complete. Always ensure the spot is dry to reduce bacterial risk. While swimming, you may contract the infection from the water. Hence, avoid swimming in the sea, rivers, lakes, streams, swimming pools, including hot tubs.
How Do I know My Piercing Has Healed?
A maximum of one year is required for complete healing before jewelry replacement. You may touch the piercing area during the final healing stages if you don’t experience any weird feelings or observe nasty growth. Your skin should look almost like it was before the piercing – with no discharge or swelling. One sign of healing is if you can move the jewelry without any discomfort.
- “Jewelry Materials” – infinitebody.com
- “The Importance of Autoclaves for Safe Piercing” -chronicinktattoo.com
- “What to Do with an Infected Belly Button Piercing” – healthline.com
- “Body Piercing” – youngwomenshealth.org