Navel Piercing Tips and Aftercare
Healing a Belly-Button Piercing
Navel piercings (belly-button piercings), are a common body piercing among women and some men. They heal relatively quickly with few complications, like ear piercings. But at times they heal more like a surface piercing, with rejection and migration risks.
For the most part, if you follow proper aftercare and healing procedures, you can successfully heal the piercing, unless your body just refuses, which is always a possibility.
Healing a belly-button piercing can be complicated by clothing and friction. Because it's near the waistline, you have to take into account pants, belts, and shirts that could catch on or irritate the piercing, especially considering how often you bend at the waist.
Types of Navel Piercings
The belly button can be pierced at different angles and sides, but generally the more common navel piercings include:
- Upper Rim: The standard belly button piercing, at the top of the navel ring.
- Lower Rim: At the bottom of the navel ring.
- Sides: Anywhere in between the upper and lower navel ring; typically the horizontal left or right sides.
Some people have been known to get their actual navel (outtie) pierced, which could be called a true navel piercing. However, in my opinion, piercing an outtie should never be done due to the numerous problems that can present themselves from healing, misplacement, and movement. It's not safe. Don't do it.
Some people get surface piercings around the navel to accentuate a standard navel piercing. These are not technically belly-button piercings.
Aftercare for a New Piercing
If you stick to proper aftercare and cleaning, you should have minimal problems with just about any piercing.
The proper aftercare for navel piercing is as follows:
- After you get the piercing, make sure that you have a pack of miniature Dixie cups and saline solution: not "contact cleaner," but "saline solution" sold at a pharmacy. Or use a dilute solution of sea salt (1 teaspoon sea salt to 5 ounces water).
- Clean the navel piercing at least two to three times a day.
- Wash your hands first.
- Make sure to use a NEW, unused Dixie cup each day, using just enough saline to fully submerge the piercing.
- Lay on a flat surface with the cup turned upside down on your belly, in order to fully submerge the navel, allowing the saline to work its way through the piercing.
- Afterwards, you can dip a Q-Tip into the saline solution and gently go around both holes of the piercing to remove any excess crust or dried blood or fluids.
There is NO other reason to touch the new piercing.
Continue the process for at least a month to make sure things are fine.
You may experience crust or dried fluid for some time. Whenever this happens, use the Q-Tip to remove the dried fluid.
Dos With a New Piercing
- Wear loose-fitting clothing that allows the piercing to breathe: cotton works best.
- Make sure your hands are clean.
- Do use a new Dixie cup and Q-Tip each time you clean.
- Ask your piercer if you have any problems or questions.
Don'ts With a New Piercing
- Do not use any type of ointment on the piercing—A&D, bacitracin, Neosporin, or Bactine— because it can smother a piercing.
- Do not use hand sanitizer, Dial soap, or peroxide, as they are all too harsh for a piercing and can cause irritation.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothing that restricts the breathing of the piercing.
- Do not touch your piercing for any reason other than to clean it.
- Do not change the jewelry until you are absolutely healed. The best thing to do is to return to the piercer to make sure it's okay to change it, and perhaps to get him or her to change it for you. It's also good to buy the new jewelry from your piercer, so that you know you are getting high-quality jewelry.
- Do not wear heavy barbells or barbells with danglies (things that hang) for extended periods. Danglies can catch on belts, pants, or shirts, which will irritate the piercing. The weight of heavy jewelry will pull on the piercing and irritate it. If you want to wear something gaudy and "bling bling'" to "da club" that's fine, as long as you replace it with a normal, lightweight piece of jewelry when you get home.
- Don't go into a pool, hot tub, ocean, lake, or any other body of water until your piercing is healed. It is unsanitary, and submerging the piercing in unclean water is bound to cause you irritation.
- Don't use a tanning bed with a healing piercing.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Whitney