The belly button piercing, also known as the navel piercing, gained mainstream popularity in the ‘90s when it started gracing the bellies of pop artists like Christina Aguilera. Although it saw waning popularity in the 2000s, it has made a comeback like none other.
Typically, the navel piercing pierces the skin above your belly button. This allows the jewelry to hang inside of the belly button.
When summer hits and you’re sorting through your crop tops, the belly piercing has a bit of an allure to it; what would look better peeking out of your summer attire on a sunny day?
Because of the location of the belly button piercing, which will often be hidden under clothing, there are a few things to keep in mind during the healing process. When it comes to navel piercings, timing can be everything. Here’s all that you need to know about the belly button piercing.
How much does the belly button piercing hurt?
Since the skin around the navel is quite fleshy, belly piercings hurt less than other piercing types, like cartilage piercings. However, you are receiving a puncture hole, so there will be some pain involved.
Most claim that the navel piercing pinches similarly to an immunization. If you don’t have problems getting shots, then you should be fine. The good news is that the process is quick, and any initial piercing pain will be brief.
In the days after you receive your belly piercing, you’ll most likely feel some discomfort, including swelling, throbbing, and some aching. This is normal. If the pain becomes too much to bear, speak to a medical professional.
Navel piercing healing process
The navel piercing takes some time to heal. In a matter of weeks, it will appear healed, but it takes between 3 to 6 months for the piercing to heal internally. During that time, you need to keep up aftercare practices, including avoiding swimming. In some cases, it takes up to a year to completely heal, so make sure to talk to your piercer before stopping aftercare practices.
The navel piercing adheres to standard aftercare practices, but since it’s located on the body, there are certain things that you must keep in mind as it heals.
Stay away from the beach.
Warm areas are where belly piercings shine. However, while it’s healing, you need to keep it away from pools, standing water, sandy areas, and anywhere that might bring in harmful bacteria. Sandy beaches can bring foreign particles into the piercing, which could cause infection. Opt to sit by the pool instead (but don’t go into the water until you’re fully healed).
Make sure your initial jewelry is the right size.
Rejection and migration can occur in any piercing, but it seems to be relatively common in the navel piercing. Rejection can happen for many reasons—such as using cheap metal for your jewelry—but often it comes down to the size of your jewelry. Make sure that your barbell is long enough to leave room for swelling and small enough that the weight of it won’t pull on your piercing. Wait to opt for dangle jewelry until your piercing is fully healed. If you suspect that you’re rejecting the jewelry, visit your piercer as soon as possible so that they can give you options. Rejected jewelry is rarely life-threatening, but it will leave permanent scars.
Conduct a saline soak or salt bath daily.
The location of the navel piercing makes it difficult to keep clean, but there is an easy solution to this. Either mix your own sea salt solution—it’s imperative that you make sure that the solution is properly mixed, uses only distilled water and non-iodized salt, and is stored in a sterile environment—or purchase a piercing aftercare saline solution. Put the solution in a small paper cup, large enough to accommodate your belly jewelry, lean over the cup to dip your piercing inside, and press the rim of the cup to your belly, suctioning the cup to your body. For the duration of the 5-minute soak, you can then (carefully) move around with the cup on your belly.
Be careful with your clothing.
New belly jewelry is so easily snagged. A massive snare could rip the jewelry completely out of your belly button. Even small snags shouldn’t be ignored; habitual tugging at the jewelry could cause hypertrophic scarring or other complications that will affect you long term. Choose clothing items with few things to snag on. Make sure you wear baggier clothing that won’t press or tug at the jewelry. If you’re concerned, you can always cover the jewelry with a large bandage to avoid snagging during healing.
Navel jewelry styles
Your initial navel piercing jewelry will be a basic, non-dangle belly ring. Almost universally, you will be pierced with a 14G needle. You can opt for a 12G or 16G, but your piercer might recommend against it; the 14G is industry standard for safety concerns. Your first jewelry will need to be large enough to accommodate swelling, so you will likely be fitted with a 7/16” barbell, but this can be changed after the initial swelling goes down. Be sure to have a piercer make the jewelry change during healing.
You might choose to continue the non-dangle style. A standard belly ring offers a glint of sparkle in your belly button, drawing attention while remaining understated. You can get glamorous jewelry with diamonds or other gemstones or cute navel rings with charms and other fun items.
For a little more flair, check out dangle belly rings. A dangle belly ring will feature a charm dangling from the bottom of the ring, offering a cute look right below the belly button. Dangle belly rings look extra adorable with bikinis or other outfits that show off your body.
Reverse dangle belly rings feature charms that dangle from the top of the jewelry rather than the bottom. The jewelry will cascade in front of the belly button. The reverse dangle belly ring style is perfect for those who love extravagant jewelry options and want their belly jewelry to take center stage.
Why shouldn’t I get a belly piercing?
Some people might not be able to get a belly piercing, based on their anatomy. Talk to a piercer and have them take a look if you’re concerned.
A belly piercing takes some time to heal. In the springtime, you might be tempted to get your navel pierced because summer is coming, and you know it will look super cute with your new swimsuit. However, it’s best to get your belly pierced in the fall. That way, you can have plenty of time to heal before you reveal your piercing over the summer. Be wary; a navel piercing can sometimes take up to a year to heal, so be sure to talk to your piercer before hopping into the pool.
If you already have a belly button piercing and you get pregnant, you shouldn’t have a problem; a healed piercing can often be kept in even until the day your water breaks. However, it’s not advisable to get a belly piercing while pregnant or while trying to get pregnant. Besides the fact that a healing piercing needs a strong immune system, your changing belly size will affect your new piercing, which could cause complications.
How much will it cost?
A belly button piercing will cost anywhere between $30 and $70. As with any piercing, opt for experience over price. Never choose a piercer who uses a piercing gun. With belly piercings, it’s important that your piercer understands the correct jewelry size to use in order to avoid rejection, so it’s important that you choose an expert piercer.
Belly piercing variations
You might think that the belly button piercing is pretty straightforward, but there are variations to this popular piercing.
The bottom belly button piercing pierces the skin below the belly button, rather than above. This piercing is great for those who would prefer jewelry that hangs lower than the standard belly piercing.
The double belly button piercing allows for a bit of variety. Essentially, it consists of an additional piercing either above, below, or to the side of your belly button piercing. Vertical double piercings seem to be the most popular. The vertical double belly piercing consists of a regular belly piercing and the bottom belly button piercing. You can choose a standard belly ring for each piercing, creating an alluring aesthetic. You can also get creative with charms and dangles to create a stunning cascading effect.