Belly Button Piercing Facts
Body piercing is when a needle is put through part of the body and then a foreign object is inserted as jewellery. Eventually, the skin around the jewellery heals and a hole is left. The hole is the piercing. It is perfectly safe when done by professionals who are careful.
DO NOT pierce your own belly button. The piercing needs to be done with a sterilized needle, gloves and other sterilized pieces of equipment.
Belly button piercings may migrate within about five to ten years, and then they will fall out.
Belly piercings take time to heal – approx 4 months to 1 year
Belly piercing is a big decision. The following information will help you make a decision that’s best for you. Make sure you go to a reputable piercer and see your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection!
Which piercing salon to use?
You should ask friends and relatives with piercings where they went and if they liked the place.
Is the salon clean and safe as this can help you keep healthy after getting your piercing, and prevent you from contracting diseases? Is it well lit so the piercer can see well while working? You should feel safe there.
Do they wash their hands and use sterile gloves and instruments? All the instruments should either be brand new and disposable (meant to be thrown away after one use) or be sterilized in pouches. If disposable needles are used, you should see him/her open sealed packages of the needles! The piercer should throw away the needles in a biohazard container after using them. If disposable needles are not used the salon should have sterilization equipment on site, which you should ask to see. If they refuse to show you, go somewhere else.
A piercing gun should not be used (except on ears) because it cannot be sterilized properly. If the salon uses a piercing “gun” to do body piercings…LEAVE!!
Look for a salon that has a large choice of jewellery. The salon should not tell you what kind of jewellery to have.
What kind of jewellery should you buy?
Only jewellery made of a non-corrosive metal, such as: surgical stainless steel is safe when you first have your piercing done. It is least likely to produce a foreign body reaction or infection in the skin. Other choices for when you first have your piercing done are metals like solid gold (at least 18k), titanium, or niobium. All of these cost more than surgical steel. For people who are extremely sensitive to metal, Teflon or nylon piercings may be used. Gold plated jewellery should NOT be used.
Since the law is different in each country, you will need to find out what the law in your country says about:
o Minimum age for belly piercing
o Whether or not you need parental permission to have a piercing
o What qualifications and regulations the salon should have and should be displayed
How is it done and does it hurt?
Immediately before piercing, the piercer should wash and dry his or her hands and put on latex gloves. The gloves should be worn at all times during the procedure. If the piercer leaves the procedure and touches something or returns later and you haven’t seen everything he or she has done, ask them to put on new gloves.
An experienced piercer uses a hollow needle to create a hole by passing the needle through the body part you want pierced. The body jewellery is then inserted through the hole. Sometimes there can be a small amount of bleeding. You should not take aspirin or any pain medication that contains aspirin the week before any piercing is done, since these medicines may cause you to bleed a little bit more than usual.
As for the ‘pain’ issue. It’s going to vary from person to person as different people perceive pain in different ways. Everyone has a different tolerance level, so really you just have to experience it for yourself.
The piercer should give you instructions about cleaning, maintenance, etc., if they don’t, ask questions (it’s your body, you deserve to know how to take care of it).
What are the risks?
The most common piercing problem is infection. Infection is quite common and is easily cured with the proper care and attention. Another risk with a piercing is that your body might reject it. If it does, this may cause swelling and pain. If your piercing is causing you a lot of pain or continually gets infected, you may want to remove your piercing and get it re-pierced once it has healed. Infections may be caused by hepatitis, HIV, tetanus, bacteria, and yeast. If the piercer washes their hands and uses gloves and sterile equipment and you take good care of your piercing, the risk of infection is lowered (but still exists).
As with other piercings, the belly button piercing is going to be swollen, red, and have pus. It could be painful. If the piercing does not improve in the next couple of days pull out the piercing. Some bodies do not like piercing. It will not heal properly and it has nothing to do with the piercing itself or the piercer. It has to do with that particular person’s body. The belly button piercing can be rejected by the body.
There is no real danger by the piercing itself, but it is important to take care of it. The dangers are once it is in. The reason is that it is on the front of the body with clothing constantly rubbing against the piercing. People have a tendency to touch the piercing and transfer germs from their fingers to the ring. Once it rotates into the piercing a few bellybuttons can get infected.
Infections caused by bacteria getting into the puncture of the piercing may also happen later, even after the piercing has healed.
Another cause of problems from piercings is the wrong kind of jewellery for the area pierced. If the jewellery is too small, it can actually cut off the blood supply to the tissue, causing swelling and pain. If the jewellery is either too thin or too heavy or if you are allergic to the metal, your body can sometimes reject the jewellery (your body reacts against the jewellery because it is a “foreign object”).
How to take care of the piercing
Clean the piercing at least twice a day until it has healed. This is done by:
o Always washing your hands with soap and water (or antibacterial soap) before cleaning
o Removing and crusty skin from the piercing and from the jewellery with warm water
o Gently washing the piercing with a saline solution (sea salt mixed with water) or antibacterial soap
o Gently rinsing the area to remove the solution or soap
o Gently drying the area with a paper towel (do not use cloth towels as these may contain bacteria)
o Do not over wash or scrub as this can irritate the piercing
Check your jewellery while cleaning it to see if any parts have come loose
Do not use alcohol or peroxide or any other strong solution as this will cause irritation and/or discolour the jewellery
Do not let anyone tough the piercing until it is healed
If you are not cleaning the piercing then do not touch it!!
Avoid taking baths, take showers instead to avoid sitting in bacteria
Do not use hot tubs, swimming pools, lakes, seas as these are breeding grounds for bacteria
Always clean the piercing after exercise or playing sport as bacteria love damp moist spots
Do not use antibacterial cream as these trap bacteria
Always wear clean loose clothing while the piercing is healing to allow the air to circulate around the piercing. Clothing should be made of soft fabric and should not cling or rub the piercing. Avoid jeans, leotards, belts, body suits and tights until the piercing is healed
Change your bed sheets once a week to help avoid infection
Do NOT attempt to change the piercing during the healing process. When you get it pierced ask the piercer how long you need to wait before you can.
Always look out for signs of infection; bad smell, discharge, redness, soreness, swelling, rash around the piercing. If you think you have an infection always go and see your doctor.
Be careful with your piercing – it will take time to heal and for you to get used to it
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