The healing process after any body piercing is a critical moment. Piercings are wonderful, yet infections are the opposite of that. Proper care speeds up the healing process while reducing the chances at developing an infection. Does Vaseline help for belly button piercings?
You should not put vaseline on a belly button piercing. Vaseline creates a barrier between the piercing and the wound. This barrier reduces the flow of oxygen from entering the area which is vital for an effective recovery. Further, vaseline can trap harmful bacteria near the wound and clog pores.
With low rise jeans and crop tops on the rise once again, belly button piercings will remain one of the hottest piercings of our era. Keep reading to learn about alternative products and the in’s and out’s of belly button piercing aftercare. There’s no reason for you to suffer an unnecessary infection.
The Basics of Vaseline and Its Purpose
More often than not, vaseline can be used to provide dermatology and cosmetic benefits. Though vaseline should not typically be applied to belly button piercings — there are exceptions. That’s why we feel that this section is important.
What is vaseline and is it harmful? Vaseline aka petroleum jelly is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes. This sticky and thick gel assists to lock in moisture by sealing your skin with a water-protective barrier. As a natural and century-old product, vaseline does not pose any health problems for the general public. Its primary use is to alleviate dryness.
The problem with vaseline is that it locks oxygen out while creating a humid environment. Not just vaseline but any kind of thick ointment will cause the same thing to occur. There’s no issue when there is no wound, but new piercings are open wounds. The lack of oxygen for healing and the perfect breeding ground for bacteria — not the best combo out there.
When Can Vaseline Provide Relief For Belly Button Piercings
Vaseline can provide certain relief when used on belly button piercings and other piercings . Here are the exceptions to our general rule of thumb against vaseline usage on belly button piercings.
- Vaseline can be applied as a moisturizer to relieve dry skin after the piercing wound has healed up.
- If there is no way to avoid friction on the wound (e.g. having to wear a specific outfit to work), a thin layer of vaseline and a non-stick bandage can protect the wound from further irritation.
- If you plan to take a long shower, you may apply a thin layer of vaseline to reduce irritation and contact with hot water.
How to Handle Fresh Wounds
Until the piercing wound closes, the only thing that you should use is a sea salt solution. It is never good to directly apply vaseline or any alternative creams and balms on the open wound itself. The open wound will become irritated and will slow down your body’s natural healing process.
For the first 3 or 4 weeks, applying a sea salt solution is often the only thing you will need. If there’s feelings of dryness, you can apply moisturizers but only around the wound.
If the sea salt solution is not possible for you, you can consider using mild soap and water.
Can Sea Salt Solutions Dry Out The Skin
While sea salt solutions don’t cause problems by themselves, there are problems that can occur that dry out the skin and stagnate healing.
- If you are creating your DIY version, you need to be very careful that you don’t use too much salt. Any more than ¼ teaspoon of sea salt per cup of distilled water can end up dehydrating your skin.
- Only non-iodized fine-grain sea salt should be used to avoid irritation additives.
- Mixing containers need to be made of glass or disposable rinse containers only.
- If soaking, only soak for 5 minutes at a time with lukewarm solution.
If you are interested in purchasing a solution, we recommend a product such as H2Ocean that does not excessively dry out the skin.
Natural Alternatives to Moisturize A Belly Button Piercing
While your piercer can assist you more thoroughly on your specific needs, here are some alternatives to vaseline. We’re looking at alternatives that are aimed at solely moisturizing and alleviating dryness issues — not cleaning.
Though not for cleaning, these alternatives have antioxidant properties that make them better than vaseline. Plus, they are authentically non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t clog pores.
- Almond oil
- Emu oil
- Tea tree oil
These oils provide your skin essential fatty acids. They strengthen the cells and promote the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier. This skin barrier protects the body from bacteria and dirt but doesn’t halt oxygen from entering the wound.
It’s important that you aren’t slathering these alternatives around your wounds. If used excessively, these oils will reduce oxygen flow just like vaseline by forming an external barrier. Applying a modest amount of diluted oil around the wound or mix a few drops of oil into your cleaning spray. For tea tree oil, you need to dilute it with a sea salt solution because of it’s potent properties.
Further, we encourage you to test these oils for allergies before applying. Just apply a small sample to your arm and see if a reaction occurs.
What to Avoid During the Healing Stage
If your wound takes longer to heal, there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering or recently just got a belly button piercing. These mistakes can also promote dry and irritated skin.
- Avoid antibacterial products – Products such as Bactine, Neosporin, Hydrogen Peroxide, and rubbing alcohol are harsh to healing wounds. They kill bad bacteria but they also kill your healthy regenerations cells — slowing down healing in the long run.
- Don’t overclean – Cleaning a belly button piercing twice a day is appropriate. Any more and you will be creating a dry environment for your skin.
- Avoid public bodies of water – Absolutely do not go into any public body of water after a piercing. While other resources recommend waiting 24 hours before going swimming, we recommend that you play it safe and wait at least a week. Since our bodies are all a little different, don’t risk it! Plus, pools have chlorine which is a known irritant to wounds.
- Bad lifestyle habits – Part of speedily healing and good skin is a good lifestyle. Don’t eat poorly, sit all day, get poor quality sleep, or smoke.
- Wearing tight clothing – Tight clothing will cause chaffing and excess friction that can be irritating. Your piercing itself may even push on your open wound.
- Excessive movement – While walking or a light jog might be fine, avoid excessive bending or twisting until the wound starts to heal. Movements like these are liable to cause unnecessary irritation.
- Exposing the wound – During the healing stage, don’t expose your wound to harsh winds that dry and blow contaminants into your wounds. Wearing loose fitting clothing is optional.
Belly Button Piercings: What Now
Belly button piercings are one of the most elegant yet fierce piercings that a person can get. Of course, when getting a piercing — you are signing up for the responsibility of taking care of yourself until the wound heals. You might be hesitating, but we think you should go for it!
As long as you take care of yourself, the risk of an infection drastically decreases. Life is pretty short, so it would be a shame if you didn’t get to be your happiest self. Take the leap(and then do proper aftercare)!