Belly Button Piercing Scars
Summer’s coming, and this year you might be thinking that a belly button piercing would really compliment your look when you finally get to hit the beach or lounge by the poolside.
Yet, you’re hesitant. You’re not sure a belly button ring is something you’ll want for life, and you don’t want it to leave some kind of permanent blemish or damage.
If you remove your belly button ring, will your navel go back to looking like its old self, or will you be left with a scar long after you stopped wearing the jewelry?
We’ve got all the answers in this post. Whether you’re trying to decide if you should get a belly button piercing or you already have one and want to know how to avoid or treat scarring, keep reading to get the info you need.
How Do Belly Button Piercing Scars Happen?
There are three main causes of scarring from a belly button piercing: trauma, infection, and pregnancy.
Scarring can happen when the pierced area experiences trauma (tearing of the skin) when it’s still undergoing the healing process.
Due to its location, belly button piercing trauma can result from the jewelry getting caught in clothes, especially when they are being put on or taken off, or even bedsheets while sleeping.
Some trauma can also occur from vigorous and excessive motion, meaning that runners, athletes and others who engage in intense physical activities are more susceptible to piercing trauma and the scarring that comes with it.
This is the one your mom always warned you about.
Improper aftercare of your belly button piercing can lead to infection. Most people who talk to you about infection will focus on how painful and unpleasant it can be. What they might not mention is that it could also result in piercing migration or a permanent scar.
Your body will work overtime, trying to aggressively heal the infected area. When the infection finally clears, it could leave you with some scar tissue.
One thing that trauma and scarring have in common is the body changing quickly. Instead of letting the pierced area heal slowly, the trauma or infection makes your body step up its game and try to heal you more rapidly, often resulting in scarring.
Pregnancy doesn’t mean your belly button piercing will tear or get infected, but it does mean that the skin around it will change quickly. When you’re pregnant, your piercing is smack dab in the middle of your expanding stomach. As the skin stretches to accommodate the baby growing in the womb, it can leave scar tissue and stretch marks in the pierced area.
If you want to avoid this risk, take your piercing out about 6 months before getting pregnant. You can get it re-pierced after the pregnancy.
What Do Belly Button Piercing Scars Look Like?
Not every type of scar is the same. You might be okay with the risk of scarring if the result is discrete and not easily noticed by anyone unless you’re getting really intimate with them. So, just how bad will your scars look when you stop wearing your navel jewelry?
One common type of scarring that results from trauma or infection after getting a belly button piercing is known as a hypertrophic scar.
Hypertrophic scars are raised patches of skin caused by collagen clustering in the pierced area when the body engages in its natural healing process. The scarred area tends to be thicker than the skin around it, and it might also be redder in color, often making it very conspicuous.
While hypertrophic scars are similar to keloid scars, they’re not as prominent or serious, nevertheless, they are visible!
The typical navel piercing scar will look like a dot above the belly button and may be a bit recessed. Depending on the severity of your scarring, it could simply look like a small dark, reddish circle or it could look almost like a second, smaller belly button directly above yours.
How to Prevent Belly Button Piercing Scars
If you get a belly button ring, the area you pierced will never look exactly the way it did before the needle went through. After all, your piercing is, fundamentally, a small wound that has healed over and there will always be some trace of that.
Although, there’s a big difference between a small blemish and a scar that can be noticed from across the street.
So, what steps can you take the minimize the amount of scarring from your belly button piercing?
Work with a Professional
You should only let a qualified professional do your piercing. You wouldn’t let someone without a medical degree suture your wounds, so you shouldn’t let just anybody pierce your skin.
Amateur piercers are more likely to cause unnecessary damage when piercing, due to their lack of experience. They may use improper or unsterilized equipment, or be overly aggressive with your piercing, making the skin prone to scarring.
Decrease your risk of scarring by working with a professional piercer. Look for someone who works out of a clean and proper facility, uses professional-grade equipment, and is certified by the Association of Professional Piercers.
Be Careful During the Healing Process
Give your piercing the time it needs to heal. Be careful with your clothes and anything else that your jewelry might get caught on while it’s still healing.
Remember that engaging in a lot of intense physical activity could cause trauma during the healing process. If possible, time the piercing so you can take a break from any sports you engage in and go easy on any workouts until the piercing is fully healed.
Follow Aftercare Instructions to the Letter
Your piercer will give you instructions on how to care for your piercing. These are not suggestions. They’re important guidelines that you need to follow to a T.
Skipping any steps in the process or taking a day off from properly caring for your piercing could leave you with an infection, and as we saw above, infections are one of the main causes of scarring.
Aftercare is easy as long as you follow a few simple steps, such as using a salt water solution twice-daily to cleanse the area. If you’d prefer not to make your own solution up, there are plenty of ready-made ones available on the market.
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.
How to Treat a Belly Button Piercing Scar
Scars are permanent, but even though there’s no way to entirely get rid of one, there are some things you can do to minimize their appearance.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E softens the skin and can be used to reduce the appearance of scars.
You can buy creams containing Vitamin E oil over the counter. If you rub it on your scar regularly, it can gradually make it less prominent and reduce redness.
The act of rubbing itself will be part of the process. Massaging your scar makes it less firm, which will eventually make it look a little more like the skin surrounding it.
Another treatment you can buy over-the-counter at most pharmacies is hydrocortisone cream. These creams are used for a few different dermatological applications, including treating eczema and scars caused by acne, injuries, and yep, piercings.
It’s a good idea to consult your piercer, pharmacist, or doctor before using hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone is a steroid that reduces inflammation when applied to the skin. It’s normally harmless, but if you have certain skin conditions, it could exacerbate them.
If all else fails, there’s always cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgery might sound drastic but dealing with the scar from a belly button piercing is a minor, routine procedure.
Avoiding belly button piercing scars doesn’t take any additional effort. If you follow the basic aftercare procedures, you should be able to avoid trauma and infection.
If you can manage that, the scar you’re left with when you decide to stop wearing the jewelry should be discreet and barely noticeable. However, if it’s too late and you’ve already got scarring, start by using a Vitamin E cream and consider the other alternatives if you’re not getting the results you want.