Belly Button Piercing Healing Times

  • Written By Dan Hunter on December 16, 2019
    Last Updated: November 28, 2020

Even though it only takes a few minutes to get your navel pierced, it can take anywhere between nine months to a year to heal completely. Don’t be fooled if your piercing appears to be fully healed after around four to six weeks!

Like any other new piercing, your belly piercing is an open wound and requires lots of attention to its aftercare.

A belly piercing can take up to a year to heal completely, but this depends on:

  • Cleaning your piercing twice daily using saline solution
  • Not picking at your piercing
  • Drying your piercing with a paper towel rather than a cloth towel
  • Your piercing’s vulnerability to infection
  • Keeping your jewelry intact until it’s healed

The Healing Process

Belly piercings take the longest time to heal out of most body piercings. This is because your core is always moving and irritating your new piercing. The healing time of a belly piercing varies from person to person, but it can generally take up to a year to fully heal.

There are things you can do to help your belly piercing heal and prevent it from getting infected:

  • Wash daily: Wash your belly piercing daily with fragrance-free soap
  • Saline: Clean your piercing with saline solution twice daily
  • Clothing: Wear loose, soft clothing, as tight clothes can irritate your piercing
  • Don’t pick: Leave any crust that forms alone as this is a sign of healing
  • Avoid creams: Don’t put any creams, oils or lotions on your belly piercing
  • Hands: Wash your hands with soap before touching or cleaning your belly piercing
  • Swimming: Avoid swimming until your piercing heals completely, as pools can be home to lots of bacteria that may cause infection
  • Cover: Cover your belly piercing with a bandage or other waterproof dressing when exercising

DIY Saline Solution

You may choose to make your saline solution at home instead of buying some. Here’s our favorite saline solution recipe, which you can safely use to clean your belly piercing:

What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 5 ounces of warm water
  • Q-tips
  • Cup or bowl

If you’d prefer to buy a store-bought solution:

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​

What To Do

  1. Stir the salt into a cup or bowl of warm water
  2. Dip your cotton bud into the mixture and gently clean the opening of your belly piercing and around the jewelry
  3. Don’t double-dip! Make sure you don’t dip the same end of the bud you used to clean your piercing back into the saline solution; use a new cotton bud to clean the rest of your piercing if needed
  4. Dry your belly piercing with a paper towel, as cloth towels can hold bacteria, which may cause infection

Spotting an Infected Belly Piercing

It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of infection while your piercing is healing, as it will be susceptible to infection until it’s healed, especially in the early days. 

If you’re unsure whether your piercing is infected or just healing normally, speak to your doctor or pay a visit to your piercer before attempting any treatment.

These are some common signs of an infected belly piercing:

  • Excessive redness or swelling that hasn’t subsided
  • Coloured or smelly discharge
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Intense pain
  • The presence of a swollen bump near the piercing site

Symptoms of infection may vary from individual to individual. It’s also important to note that your body may reject the piercing. If this is the case, speak to your piercer to find out why this has happened and if it’s possible to re-pierce it.

Rejection of a belly piercing may happen for several reasons. After all, the jewelry is a foreign entity that you’ve placed in your skin. It could be that your body just didn’t welcome the foreign object. It may also be that it was pierced too shallowly in your skin and, therefore, as it heals, the body has slowly pushed the jewelry out.

Changing Your Piercing

Don’t change the jewelry used to pierce your navel too early. The original jewelry your piercer will have used will be slightly longer to accommodate for swelling during the healing process. Don’t be tempted to switch it out unless you’re sure it’s ready!

Your piercer can advise on a suitable length of time to wait before changing it, but it generally won’t be anytime before it’s healed. You should look at the type of jewelry you wish to wear — for instance, whether it’s surgical steel or titanium. Make sure you’re not allergic to whichever material you’re using for your belly piercing.

Waiting Is Worth It

A belly piercing can take up to a year to heal entirely, which is the longest healing time out of any other body piercing. You can prevent it from being longer by cleaning the area twice a day with saline solution, and not picking at or playing with it unnecessarily. You should also be careful not to change your jewelry too early.

Belly piercings are, of course, susceptible to infection, so it’s essential to keep an eye on it in case it starts to exhibit signs of infection or irritation. You should also avoid swimming, as this leaves your belly piercing vulnerable to infection and hinder its healing process. In some cases, a belly piercing can be rejected by the body, simply because the jewelry is a foreign object.

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