From a vantage point, a belly button piercing might seem like the most effortless thing to you. However, the truth is that apart from the serious commitment to maintaining such a piercing is, the process is also very tricky and sensitive.
Compared to other body piercings, belly button piercings take the longest to heal, plus require extreme aftercare. To begin with, it is never a good idea to change the belly button ring too soon after the piercing.
It would be best if you allowed it to heal completely before you can change the jewelry piece. Changing too soon can cause multiple complications, and close the piercing before putting another jewelry piece in place.
The impatience will cost you heavily, not only in having to re-pierce your sensitive area but also in going through the healing process all over. You may be aware of the fact that the healing time varies per person. For some, it may take as long as four to six weeks, while for others, Healing can take even a year or more.
How do you know that Your Belly Button Piercing is healed?
A navel piercing demands ample time to heal. You can never rush the process, but instead, you have to allow it ample time to heal. Attempting to remove the original ring before your Healing is complete will cause severe pain, infection, and certain other complications as well.
Ideally, you must wait for the navel site to return to normal before you can change your jewelry. A few signs can tell you whether or not your piercing area has healed completely or your belly button is still too sensitive to touch.
According to expert piercers, it is never a good idea to touch the original ring or remove it until four months have passed after your piercing appointment. Secondly, you can conduct simple tests to check if your navel is back to normal or the inside is still recovering.
You can take a tissue paper and blot it gently around your pierced belly button to verify this. If you spot any discharge on the tissue paper, it means that your navel has still not healed. In case the tissue appears completely dry, with no visible stains on dampness on it, then your belly button ring is good to go.
It would help if you also inspected your navel area closely. Try to see if there any signs of redness or swelling. You may also touch the area gently with your fingertips to feel any slight bumps or raised areas on your navel. If you don’t encounter any puffiness or bumpy feelings, assume that it has healed completely.
Swelling, bumps, and puffiness are clear signs that the navel has not healed, and in the presence of such, you must never attempt to remove your ring. Often people mistake certain signs as part of an infection on a navel piercing. The truth is your body gives you certain signs even when the Healing is in process. These include:
- Light yellow or clear discharge is a sign of recovery. It is a normal occurrence and may continue for days post your piercing session.
- Mild redness
- Crustiness, most likely resembling dead skin. This often occurs when you over-clean the piercing site, and unless you have other symptoms, it is not dangerous.
Some other signs of Healing:
As mentioned above, the healing process can take anywhere from six to twelve months for your navel. Hence, you will commonly experience signs like swelling, soreness, maybe even pain and redness. It is all a normal part of the recovery process and nothing to feel anxious about.
Some other common signs of Healing include:
- You may find the piercing site pink or red. Now, this is completely normal unless there is pain or inflammation with it. Only in such a situation, you may seek medical help; otherwise, pink or red skin for a year after the piercing is totally normal.
- You may find puss or discharge around the piercing holes, maybe even daily. At times these may event dry and crust around the site, but it is nothing to worry about.
- Itchiness in the first couple of weeks is very normal.
- Swelling is normal and may even last all through the year
- Discoloration happens
- Soreness for a couple of months, even a year, is normal.
- The best sign of Healing is for your skin color around the piercing to return to the same as the rest of your body’s. You cannot find a more positive sign than this that your piercing is healing but not complete yet.
What happens if I change my Belly piercing too early?
We may sound repetitive here, but you must ensure your piercing has healed completely to bear a jewelry change. It is all too possible for a piercing site to look healed from the outside but still be tender from the inside.
Hence, you need to ensure that your belly button piercing not only looks healed but also IS HEALED. You can generally declare a piercing healed when no more secretions or discharge is coming forth and where a solid channel of skin exists from the piercing’s entry and exit. When there is a sure path to insert your jewelry, there will also be minimal discomfort in the process.
Hence, if you change your belly piercing too early, you may reactivate bleeding and cause infections and not find a solid channel for insertion. This will result in several frustrated attempts for you, causing you even more pain, and the piercing may even close consequentially.
It is never a bad idea to wait till your piercing has healed completely, and only when you are a hundred percent sure should you attempt the change. Waiting is far better than being sorry and pierce-less.
How long does it take for a Belly Piercing to Heal?
The easiest part is getting the piercing, and the tougher one begins after. The piercing session will hardly last beyond a few minutes, but the Healing can last from nine months to even a year and beyond. You may fool yourself into believing that four to six weeks will restore your navel to complete normal, but it does not.
Every piercing on the body is sensitive, but a belly button is the most. You are susceptible to open wounds and infections after the session and thus, need to pay extreme attention to aftercare.
The recovery process can continue for a year, depending on several factors. These include:
- Using a saline solution to clean your piercing twice daily
- Staying away from a cloth towel and using a paper towel instead to clean your piercing
- Refraining from picking at your piercing
- Protecting your piercing site from infection
- Not touching the jewelry till your Healing is complete
Out of all the body piercings, you need to give the most time to your navel’s. Things are especially tricky here because your core moves more and tends to irritate your piercing more in this location.
Here are a few helpful tips to aid in your healing process and avoiding an infection:
- Avoid wearing figure-hugging and fitting clothes. Loose and baggy clothes will not irritate or entangle in your piercing, plus allow more room for air.
- Make a fresh saline solution daily to wash your piercing with.
- Do not use a soap with fragrance but make sure to wash your pierced area daily.
- Do not pick at crust that forms around your piercing site. This is a healing sign, and you best leave it alone.
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water before you touch or clean your belly button.
- Avoid treating your pierced navel to any lotion, oils, or creams. At least not till you have healed completely.
- In case you decide to return to your exercising regime, you must cover your navel with a waterproof dressing or bandage first.
- Swimming is not a good idea till your piercing has healed completely. Swimming pools are residence to tons of bacteria and can cause infection in your piercing site.
Belly piercings are the most sensitive of all and need lots of time and attention to heal well. Impatience and negligence in this regard can cause severe complications, from pain, fresh bleeding to infections. With thorough aftercare and abidance of precautionary rules, you will ensure your piercing heals well and looks as good as you had envisioned it to be.