Belly Button / Navel Piercing Information & Aftercare
Belly Button Jewelry
When getting the belly button pierced the standard size jewelry is a 14 gauge. This is an industry standard, there is rarely 12-gauge jewelry for this piercing. The gauge number is referring to the thickness of the bar. If the bar were any thinner, it can cause irritation in the piercing. Anything thinner can cause the barbell to cut at the piercing or be pulled out. The Length of the bar is typically 7/16", it is a little long to accommodate for any swelling, drainage, and healing. The navel piercing takes 6 - 8 months to heal, and the barbell should be left in for this time period. A professional Piercer can assess the piercing to determine if you need a shorter barbell. After your navel piercing is fully healed you can change the barbell out to whatever it is comfortable. A piercer can help determine the right size bar. For example, some people use a 5/16" while other people prefer 7/16". It depends on the type of belly button jewelry available and the style you are looking for.
The Piercing Process
Before you start the piercing process your Professional Piercer will look at your navel to make sure it is suitable for a navel piercing, this will be dependent on your anatomy. Before beginning the piercing, your piercer will clean and sterilize your navel with an antiseptic to make sure there are no germs on the surface area. The piercer will mark the piercing placement to ensure that it is lined up properly and you are happy with where it will sit. The Piercer will use a hollow needle to pierce through the navel and then insert the jewelry moments after. After the piercing is completed your piercer will go over the aftercare and set up another appointment to check up on the piercing.
After getting your belly button piercing, professionals recommend cleaning the piercing once or twice a day. The best way to clean a piercing is with a sea salt solution. These soaks are easy to do, and they are inexpensive. Buy a gallon of distilled water at any grocery store, it’s important that the label reads “distilled”, and it is not substituted for any other type of water. After getting distilled water go to the salt section and pick up some Non-iodized Sea Salt. The salt should have a label that says pure, organic, or non-iodized. It is important that the only ingredient listed on the label is sea salt.
Once you have these items, pour four teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt into the gallon of distilled water. This will give you a gallon of water that can be poured into a smaller container if need be. If you are going to pour it into a smaller container pour it from the gallon because you know that it has the correct measurements in it, don’t risk making your own recipe of water and sea salt in a smaller batch (it can be too strong or not strong enough). Store the mixture at room temperature. When you go to clean the piercing pour some of the solution in a coffee cup or a shot glass. Make sure you are only using porcelain or glass because paper and plastic can contaminate your salt water solution. After pouring the solution into a glass put it in the microwave for a few seconds.
The solution should be body temperature, or lukewarm, if the solution is too hot it can burn you and your piercing. Everyone has a different microwave, so you may have to experiment the first few times to get the solution to the right temperature. When you have the right temperature lean forward and push the cup around the navel. Pushing it up against the skin will create a “suction” around the piercing. Hold the cup there for five to ten minutes. When you are done lean back over and remove the glass, pat the area dry with a clean paper towel or rinse it off with water.
The navel piercing will take six to eight months to heal, but this will vary from person to person. When it is healing it is best not to touch it, rotate it, or spin it. You want to keep the jewelry in a stationary position. If you constantly touch the piercing it can result in longer healing, migration, or excess scar tissue. It is similar to picking a scab when it is healing, your hands can introduce new bacteria into the open tissue. Since this piercing takes a long time to heal it is normal to expect flare-ups, and when you think something is wrong make sure to check in with your piercer.
A big part of healing this piercing is how well you take care of your body. This means focusing on your overall health, nutrition, and sleep schedule. Between four and six weeks the piercing might not be as swollen, and it may appear healed, but healing is stilling happening on the inside. It is a good idea to wear loose fitting clothing for the first few days as tight-fitting clothing can pull or rub against your new piercing. This might seem like a long healing time, but with the proper after care and attention it should go smoothly!
What Not to Do
Making sure you are pierced with high quality jewelry and cleaning the piercing twice a day are the most important aspects of healing this piercing. Make sure you are not using products such as; Neosporin, Bactine, Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, or Antibacterial soap. These products are extremely harsh on the piercing and it can cause damage to a newly pierced area. These products kill everything, including what is trying to heal! They break apart all the scabbing that you are trying to keep intact. This will cause problems with your piercing, which include: migration, excessive scar tissue, and postponed healing. Only use your pre-made solution on the piercing, and avoid all public pools, Jacuzzis, lakes, ponds, and oceans. These bodies of water can introduce new bacteria into the piercing and can lead to infection. If there ever looks like there is a problem with the piercing, go back to your piercer before trying to self-medicate.
Disclaimer: If you are ever experiencing problems or have questions about a piercing please see a Professional Piercer or a Medical Doctor.