The popularity of belly piercings took off in the early 90s when Alicia Silverstone and Christy Turlington flashed their glittery belly button jewelry to the world. Since then, this piercing has become the second most popular for women after earlobes. While it can look gorgeous, the downside is that belly piercings can take longer to heal than many other piercings.
Belly piercings can be one of the slowest healing piercings. Healing can take between six months to more than a year. The actual piercing process is not usually as painful as some others, but the fleshy position in an ever-moving area makes it a slow healer.
Navel piercing has become so popular that even people who usually would only pierce their ears may consider getting a belly piercing. Let’s take a look at why the healing process for these piercings is so slow and how to take care of fresh belly piercings so you can start flashing your sexy midriff as soon as possible.
How Long Do Belly Piercings Take To Heal?
While there is no consensus among piercing experts about the exact length of time a belly piercing will take to heal fully, everyone agrees that it takes a long time. The minimum expected time frame is six months, with some sources indicating that healing can take up to two years.
The length of time that a belly piercing takes to heal varies greatly according to individual physiology. Although having the piercing done is a relatively simple and quick procedure, the healing process takes longer than most other piercings.
Belly piercings are slow healers because they are in a place that is constantly moving. Even if your belly piercing seems like it’s fully healed after a few weeks, it should be considered an open wound and treated as such for at least six months.
After you have had your belly pierced, you should avoid changing the jewelry until the wound is completely healed. The piercing area needs to remain as stable as possible, which means not removing the belly ring until the flesh around it has healed. That can take more than six months, so choosing a quality, comfortable belly ring you won’t need to change is essential.
Getting your belly piercing done at the start of summer is also not a good idea. Firstly, the piercing may look visibly fresh for a few weeks, and secondly, swimming, whether in hot tubs, pools, or lakes, must be avoided. Your piercing is a work in progress and must be treated with extreme care until it is completely healed.
Why Do Belly Piercings Take So Long To Heal?
A normal belly button piercing goes through the skin on the outside of the navel. It is a simple procedure, but it must always be done by a trained professional using sterile equipment. The piercing should never be undertaken as a DIY or party dare maneuver because of the high risk of infection or blood-borne diseases like hepatitis.
A belly piercing is not like an earlobe piercing. It is a lot more invasive, and unlike your ears, which are stationary fixtures on your head, your belly is in perpetual motion. The wound needs to heal and close while rubbing up against clothing, bending, and stretching.
Constant movement and rubbing slow down the healing process. There are four things you should do to encourage faster healing:
- Choose high-quality jewelry – opt for gold, titanium, or stainless steel. Remember, it will not be easy to change your belly accessory for several months, so choose something that minimizes the chance of an allergic reaction.
- Keep the piercing clean – To keep the piercing free of bacteria that may cause infection, it is essential to wash the area frequently and follow up with a saline solution.
- The piercing must stay dry – Use a paper towel or tissue to check that there is no moisture around the piercing regularly.
- Avoid clothes that irritate the area – Tight waistbands and belts that rub against the piercing will slow down healing. The side-to-side rubbing movement will pull the belly piercing from side to side, keeping the wound fresh rather than allowing it to heal.
Do Belly Piercings Hurt?
Anytime a needle is involved, most people’s first reaction is to want to know if a procedure will hurt. Like ear lobe piercing, the piercing process is not entirely painless, but it is considered one of the least painful piercings.
Belly piercing must be done with a needle and not a piercing gun. There is the sensation of skin being stretched as it is clamped, and then the hollow needle is quickly pushed through the taut section, which can cause a slight stinging sensation. You can expect the wound to bleed slightly immediately following the procedure.
On a pain scale of between 1 and 10, all users reported pain between 2 and 4. It is slightly worse than an ear lobe piercing but not nearly as uncomfortable as most other piercings.
The actual belly piercing procedure itself may not be the most uncomfortable part of getting one of these sexy accessories. The healing process after a navel piercing is one of the longest. It takes six months to two years for the wound to completely heal.
8 Things To Avoid If You Have A New Belly Piercing
If you have had your belly pierced, you will probably be excited about showing it off. While exposing your midriff with a fresh piercing is fine, there are some things you must avoid while the piercing is healing.
- Fiddling and touching – It can be hard not to touch your fresh piercing. Unlike earlobe piercings that need to be turned frequently, touching a belly piercing with dirty hands can carry bacteria to the wound. The piercing does need to be cleaned regularly, but you must wash your hands before touching it.
- Excessive cleaning – You need to take good care of your piercing and keep it clean to ensure that it heals completely, but giving it too much attention can slow down the process. Only clean it as often as directed by your professional piercer or doctor.
- Lotions – If you are a fan of body lotions and creams, you will need to be careful to skip your abdomen while your belly button piercing is healing. Remember that your tummy skin folds when you bend over, so avoid applying body lotions on any skin that might touch the piercing. The area needs to stay completely dry.
- Swimming pools, lakes, hot tubs, etc. – Belly button piercings can get infected, which won’t only be painful, it can be life-threatening. It is essential to keep bacteria away from the wound.
- Any belly impact sports – These are usually associated with watersports like belly-boarding or surfing, which should, in any case, be avoided while your piercing is fresh. However, if you play rough and tumble sports, it is essential to protect your piercing from excessive rubbing by applying a protective bandage.
- Excessive sun – A sunburned belly will be very painful if your belly piercing hasn’t yet healed.
- Tight fitting clothing – Besides just rubbing uncomfortably against the piercing, tight clothing can trap moisture around a belly piercing.
- Skip dangly jewelry or charms – While it may look cute and glittery, wait until your navel piercing is completely healed before attaching accessories that could hook on things or get pulled.
If the belly piercing shows any signs of infection, consult your health care provider immediately. You will not be able to wash an infection away once it has set in, and the faster it is treated, the less severe it is likely to become.
How Do You Clean A Belly Piercing?
Keeping your belly piercing clean and dry is essential to make the healing process as fast as possible. Your piercing salon may have provided a special cleaning solution, or you can make a saline solution at home by mixing 1/8 teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm bottled or distilled water.
Thoroughly douse the piercing in the saline solution at least once a day. You can either dab it on using a wad of clean paper towel or put it in a spray bottle to apply it. Ensure that the entire piercing is soaked in the solution before gently drying it by dabbing it with a dry paper towel.
If your piercer suggested that you wash the piercing, you should do so using a mild soap. Rinse the area well and gently dry it with a paper towel. This part is essential because it must stay perfectly dry. Giving it a wipe with a towel after you shower is not enough to ensure that the piercing is dry – always use a paper towel or tissues to absorb all traces of moisture.
That there will be a clear discharge from the wound in the days immediately following a belly button piercing. The discharge is your body’s way of starting the healing process after an injury and coming to terms with the immovable foreign body that is now attached in your skin. This is not the same as pus. The light liquid will form a crusty layer that should not be picked off.
You do not need to pick away at the crusty discharge, and it is advisable to leave it and only clean the piercing as required. It will crumble and fall off as the piercing heals.
How Will I Know If My Belly Piercing Is Infected?
It is natural that a fresh piercing will feel uncomfortable, especially for the first few days after it is done. The area may feel tender, or there may be a small amount of localized swelling. Some piercers opt to insert a slightly longer belly button ring than required for this specific reason.
However, although belly button piercings take a long time to heal compared to most other piercings, they shouldn’t be particularly painful either during the procedure or in the days that follow. You will definitely be more aware of your midriff, which may feel tender if you touch it, but that is normal and to be expected.
No piercing is without risks, and infection can have serious implications. If you have any concerns, you must get the piercing checked out, either by the professional piercer who did the piercing or by your medical practitioner. Although extremely rare, there have been recorded cases of a few people dying from sepsis caused by belly button piercings, so always treat infection seriously.
Signs of an infected belly piercing include:
- Being excessively tender to touch – a bit of discomfort is expected, but it should not be extremely painful to touch.
- Unusual discharge, especially pus. A normal discharge is clear and odorless. There should never be any pus associated with this piercing.
- Foul smell
Besides infection, other risks of belly piercing include scarring, rejection, and migration. However, these are unusual, and most people heal with no problems and love their body bling.
Do Men Get Belly Piercings?
Belly button piercings are most common for women; however, it is not completely unknown for men to get their bellies pierced. Former American professional basketball player Dennis Rodman has been rocking a belly piercing for decades.
While eyebrow or nipple piercings are far more popular for men, some do get their navels pierced. It is, however, still about 20 times more common for a woman to have her belly button pierced than a man.
Belly piercings are becoming more mainstream for men, and they can opt for bold, masculine jewelry to draw attention to their toned abdomens. A new twist on an old theme is for men to have a double belly piercing or only a bottom one. Of course, some people pierce their belly buttons multiple times, and there is no reason anyone only has to stick to one!
A belly piercing is one of the slowest healing piercings. It can take anywhere from 6 months to two years to heal completely. Healing is slow because the damaged area is always moving. Although a belly piercing is not particularly painful, it does need to be looked after for a prolonged period after the procedure.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):