Everyone has insecurities about getting their belly button pierced, especially since there’s always a chance it’ll get infected. Don’t worry! Here are some short steps to follow on how to keep it clean and avoid infection.
Part One of Four:
Getting the Piercing
- Get permission. If you are under 18, make sure you get permission from a parent or guardian before you get the piercing. You need to have this approval so that you don’t waste your time taking care of a piercing that you’ll just have to take out anyway.
- Do your research. Find a piercer with a good reputation at a reputable tattoo or piercing shop. Read customer reviews online to find out information about the piercer’s reputation, and make sure the piercer has completed an apprenticeship with a reputable piercer.
- Check out the shop. It is very important for a piercing/tattoo shop to be sterile and clean. If you go to the shop and it does not appear immaculately clean, don’t get a piercing there.
- Make sure sterile utensils are used. When you get the piercing, make sure that the piercer opens up a package of unused, sterile needles to use for your piercing. This is very important to prevent the spread of infection and disease.
- Expect a little pain. The piercing itself will hurt minimally. The initial healing and swelling are the worst part.
- Don’t be surprised. For the actual piercing, the piercer will take a clamp and put it on your belly button to hold it in place. This protects you from jerking when the piercing happens.
- Know what to expect. There will be more symptoms for the first 3-5 days immediately after getting the piercing.[ Expect to see swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and tenderness, especially during this initial period.
- Expect some discharge. Even if you follow these steps and do exactly what the aftercare sheet says, there could still be a whitish goo that come out of piercing hole. This is normal and is not an infection. Just make sure that it is not puss.
Part Two of Four:
Cleaning it Properly
- Wash your hands. Always wash your hands with soap before cleaning or touching the piercing or jewelry.[ Never touch the piercing except during moments of cleaning.
- Rinse the area. Wash the piercing with a basic soap with no dyes or extra chemicals (that is not antibacterial soap) once or twice a day. Remove any crust on the piercing with a cotton swab or Q-Tip. Then gently clean the site with the basic soap and water. Avoid tugging on the piercing; this will be painful and slow the healing.
- Make sure the soap suds get in the holes. The easiest, gentlest way to do this is to half-fill a cup with soapy water, gently place it over the piercing, and lightly swish it around. It may hurt a little if the piercing is fairly new, but the pain will wear off in a few days.
- Rotate the jewelry. When the piercing is wet from cleaning, gently turn the jewelry in the piercing hole. This will prevent it from scabbing over and getting too crusty.
- Dry the piercing properly. Dry the piercing after cleaning with a paper towel or napkin instead of a bath towel or a cloth. Towels can contain germs and bacteria, so it is better to use a disposable paper product instead.
- Avoid hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. These solutions can slow the healing process and kill new, healthy cells.
Part Three of Four:
Avoiding Things that Might Aggravate the Piercing
- Avoid ointment. This will prevent oxygen, which is essential to the healing process, from reaching the piercing.
- Avoid swimming. Whether it’s a chlorinated pool, a hot tub with bromine, or a natural river, it’s best to avoid getting anything besides soapy water in your piercing.[
- Avoid touching your piercing. The only time you should touch your belly button ring is when cleaning it. Always remember to wash your hands beforehand.
- Keep an eye out for infection. If there is clear or semi-white liquid, it means it’s healing. If it’s yellow, green, or smelly, it may be infected. In this case, go to a doctor,[ or visit your piercer and discuss the proper care.Advertisement
Part Four of Four:
Wearing the Right Jewelry
- Check the balls regularly. Occasionally, the balls on naval piercing bars can become unscrewed or loose over time. It is important that you regularly check to make sure they are tight. Use one hand to hold the bottom ball in place and use the other hand to tighten the top ball.
- Note: To tighten the balls, remember twisting to the right tightens and twisting to the left loosens.
- Keep your jewelry in! Don’t remove the jewelry during the healing process. Though many piercings heal within six weeks, others can take months and the piercing can close within minutes if the jewelry is removed too soon.[ Check with your piercing artist (or read the paperwork you should have gotten with the piercing) for an exact timeline.
- If you want a new look, and your piercing does not hurt when you touch it, you may unscrew the balls from the barbel and change them, but leave the barbel in place at all times.Changing it will irritate the piercing and may introduce bacteria to the wound.
- Choose the right style for you. Once the initial healing process is over, you can pick any of the many styles of jewelry for your belly button piercing. Just keep in mind if you have metal allergies or sensitivities to certain materials.