Belly Button Piercing: Pain, Healing, Cost, Aftercare, Jewelry

Belly Button Piercing: Pain, Healing, Cost, Aftercare, Jewelry

If you're looking to get an exciting, exotic piercing, the belly button piercing or the navel piercing is a great option! Once only popular in eastern cultures, this piercing has now found its way into the Western world. But is it right for you?

How Popular Are Belly Button Piercings?

These piercings were especially popular in the 90s. But thanks to a lot of celebrity support, they're quickly becoming more popular.

Here are some of the celebrities who have belly button piercings and love showing them off: Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, Vanessa Hudgens, Meghan Thee Stallion, and Normani.

5 Common Types of Belly Button Piercings

If you aren't too familiar with the world of belly button piercing, you might think there are only one or two actual piercings you can get. However, there's a remarkable array of belly button piercings and jewelry to choose from.

Here we have listed the 5 most common types of belly button piercings, of which the standard/vertical is the most popular one.

1. Standard/Vertical

Belly Button Piercing: Pain, Healing, Cost, Aftercare, Jewelry

This is probably the most common type of belly button piercing. It's especially popular among teenage girls. You often see it done with a curved barbell so it looks like there is a smaller bead above your belly button and a larger one under it.

Once the initial piercing heals, many people switch out the barbell for a ring or add dangly jewelry to the bottom of the piercing.

2. Floating Belly Button Piercing

This unique type of piercing is a good one to get if you want to stand out. It gets its name from the fact that the finished piercing looks like there is a single piece of jewelry "floating" above the belly button.

The look is accomplished with a short curved barbell. However, the end of the barbell that comes through the belly button is small and/or flat, making it difficult or impossible to see.

3. Inverse/Lower Navel

This piercing is a lot like the standard navel piercing. However, it places a (usually) curved barbell so it looks like one bead is sitting inside the belly button and one is sitting under it.

4. Double Belly Button Piercing

This piercing can look really special when used with the right jewelry. It's a combination of two different types of belly button piercings: a standard and an inverse belly button piercing. 

5. True Navel

If you have an "outie" belly button and want to pierce it, you'll be getting what's called a "true navel" piercing. This one actually goes through the protruding belly button. You often see rings used as jewelry for true navel piercings.

How Bad Does a Belly Button Piercing Hurt?

Everybody's pain threshold is different. But if you ask most people, belly button piercings are some of the least painful piercing types. You'll usually feel a little pinch and maybe some pain.

Piercing shops will often tell you the pain level is about that of an earlobe piercing, so it shouldn't be bad at all!

How Long Does a Belly Button Piercing Take to Heal?

If you opt for a belly button piercing, you should know that you're in for a long haul when it comes to aftercare! It will usually take one of these piercings nine months to a year to heal.

A word of warning, though most belly button piercings will appear to be fully healed after four to six weeks. However, they are not. They still need daily aftercare. If you stop regularly cleaning your piercing after this, you'll be likely to develop an infection.

How Much Is a Belly Button Piercing?

On average, a belly button piercing will cost you about $30-$70 for just the piercing. This might sound steep. However, it's not a good idea to cheap out on a piercing! A skilled piercer will be able to ensure your piercing looks good and will have minimal risk of infection.

The cost of the jewelry varies dramatically. For an inexpensive Bioflex piece, you might pay $10 or less. But for a solid gold piercing, you might pay $200 or more.

Belly Button Piercing After Pregnancy

What happens if you get pregnant with a belly button piercing? If your piercing is fully healed, it is generally safe to leave in. But depending on how much your belly grows, you may find it too uncomfortable. Occasionally, you may even experience small tears around the piercing.

If the piercing is still healing, it's likely a good idea to remove it. If the piercing stretches out white while still healing, it may heal irregularly. And since the piercing hole will be stretched wide, your risk of infection may increase.

Similarly, don't pierce your belly button while pregnant: you're at a much higher risk of developing infections!

What Gauge Is a Belly Button Piercing?

And despite the large variety, the standard gauge for each one is 14G (1.6 mm or 1/16-inch in thickness). For this piercing, piercers will often use a slightly larger needle to make healing easier.

To be detailed, the larger hole allows for some swelling and prevents the healing from getting too tight as it heals.

Types of Jewelry for Belly Button Piercing

As with any piercing, one of the most exciting things about a belly button piercing is that you get to choose what jewelry to wear with it! But there's a lot more to consider than just the look. Here are some things to take into account before choosing.

1. Curved Barbell

This is probably the most common jewelry type used for navel piercings. However, most shops use specially designed curved barbells called "banana bells." These have one end bead that is larger than the other. That makes them great for showing off larger stones.

Pros:

  • They're popular enough that you'll have plenty of jewelry options.
  • You can use them for a number of different types of belly button piercings.
  • If you want a high-end look, you can often find them in precious metals and/or with embedded precious stones.

Cons:

  • The larger bead at one end is easy to snag on things.
  • It's not advisable to wear them with tight clothing.

2. Dangles

Dangles aren't really a separate piercing type. Rather, they are attachments that you can connect to a ring or barbell used in the piercing. You can find dangles with charms, jewels, or even just shiny chains! They're a great way to dress up your piercing.

Pros:

  • They offer you an exciting way to personalize any belly button piercing.
  • They are interchangeable, so you can have a different look each day.
  • Many are surprisingly inexpensive.

Cons:

  • They can pull on a piercing, so they might hurt newer piercings.
  • It's especially easy to snag them on clothes, towels, and sheets.

3. Circular Barbells

If you can't decide between a captive bead ring and a curved barbell, a circular or horseshoe barbell is a great compromise. With this jewelry, the bar bends into a horseshoe shape, and there is a ball at each end.

Pros:

  • They're much easier to put in and take out than captive bead rings.
  • You can decorate them with a number of interesting stones.
  • They offer a tougher look than some other types of belly button piercings.

Cons:

  • They can easily become crooked.
  • They heal more slowly than curved barbells.

4. Captive Bead Rings

With a captive bead ring, a stone, bead, or other decoration is held "captive" on the ring. Thanks to its placement, the bead makes it look like the ring has no seams or openings.

Pros:

  • Since it's less common than curved barbells, it's a good way to stand out.
  • The captive bead can be a precious or semi-precious stone.
  • Its seamless look makes it especially interesting.

Cons:

  • Captive beads can be very hard to put on and take off.
  • This jewelry type often ends up leaning to one side or otherwise looking asymmetrical.

Materials Recommended for Belly Button Piercings

As with any piercing, choosing a high-quality jewelry material is essential. The right material will help protect you from infections and any complications that may happen in the healing process. Here are some of the best materials:

1. Implant-Grade Titanium

This is the best choice for people with sensitive skin and nickel allergies, as titanium is 100% nickel-free. Titanium is also quite durable, though it's generally more expensive than surgical steel.

Pros:

  • It's an outstanding choice if you have sensitive skin.
  • It's durable and its finish won't generally wear off.
  • It's lighter than surgical steel.

Cons:

  • It's almost always more expensive than steel.
  • Since it's less common than steel, you may have somewhat limited design choices.

2. 316L Surgical Steel

This is probably the most common material for any belly button piercing. It's quite durable and you can find a huge selection of available designs!

Pros:

  • It's an inexpensive material that's safe for the majority of people.
  • You can find a massive variety of jewelry types and designs.
  • It's both common and affordable.

Cons:

  • It does contain some nickel, so it's not the greatest choice for those with nickel allergies.
  • It will sometimes get discolored over time.

3. Bioflex

This bendable, light option is made of body-safe plastic. If you're very active and don't want a healing belly button piercing to get in the way of that, Bioflex is a great choice.

Pros:

  • It's relatively inexpensive.
  • It moves with your body.
  • It comes in a range of colors.

Cons:

  • It generally doesn't come with embedded stones.
  • Some wearers have complained that it feels too cheap.

4. 14K Solid Gold

Though this luxurious option is expensive, it's great for people with nickel allergies. If you're willing and able to spend a little more on a beautiful piece of jewelry, it's a great option.

Pros:

  • Its finish won't wear off over time.
  • It has a beautiful high-end look.
  • You can usually find it embedded with diamonds and other precious stones.

Cons:

  • It's very expensive.
  • Since it's less common, your design choices may be limited.

How to Clean a Belly Button Piercing?

  1. Make a salt solution by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt with one cup of water. Stir the solution until it dissolves. As an alternative, you can buy ready-to-use piercing aftercare sprays.
  2. If you see signs of infection, you can also use antiseptic solutions, such as betadine, isopropyl alcohol, or diluted hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and dab it around the piercing site. Don't remove the jewelry!
  4. Take clean gauze or tissue and pat the area dry.

Your piercer should give you detailed instructions on keeping your piercing clean once the piercing has been placed.

Belly Button Piercing Aftercare

  • Take care to avoid contaminating the piercing.
  • Avoid touching it or applying makeup very close to it.
  • Avoid getting in water that might be dirty.
  • Clean your piercing twice per day using a saline/salt solution or a piercing aftercare spray.
  • And of course, make sure to avoid snagging on clothes or towels.
  • Don't move the piercing before it heals. Pulling on a piercing early in healing is painful, but it also can get in the way of healing or damage the piercing itself.
  • Leave any crust alone. It's normal for a white or yellow-colored fluid (not pus) to ooze from your new piercing. This may form a crust that can itch or feel tight. Try not to pick at it, since that will cause the area to bleed. This crust will come off on its own as your piercing heals.
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