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All About Belly Button Rings
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Although the phrase “belly button piercing” makes it sound as if the naval is pierced, it is actually the rim of skin above the belly button that is usually pierced (although "Outtie" belly buttons are pierced through the navel plug). It is possible to pierce the skin on the bottom or sides, but piercing above the skin above is most common. To allow for easy healing, piercers generally use a standard barbell after piercing the area. Belly button piercings have their own special kind of barbells, though. They are sometimes referred to as bananabells or bananabars because of their curved design. Often the notation, curved barbell, can be found in our descriptions.
Body jewelry is measured by gauges. Belly buttons are generally pierced with 14 gauge, or 1/16" needle. The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) states that no greater than 14 gauge body jewelry may be used in piercings below the neck. This is to prevent the risk of a negative reaction or skin tearing. A standard belly button ring is 3/8" or 7/16" long, but people sometimes use a longer barbell at the time of piercing to allow room for the area to swell slightly.
Even though it is generally regarded as safe, getting your belly button pierced does involve some risk. The most common risks include scarring and infection. To minimize the risk, you should be sure that the piercer uses sterilized tools in a sterilized environment.
Your piercer should give you complete instructions for the care of your belly button piercing and your belly button ring before you leave the piercing salon. You may experience some bleeding, bruising, swelling, redness and soreness. The APP suggests a saline soak for five minutes once or more per day. You should also soap only once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a dime-sized drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing, but leave the soap on for no more than 30 seconds. Be sure to thoroughly rinse all of the soap from your belly button ring piercing and gently dry with disposable paper towels or tissues; cloth towels have a tendency to snag and run the risk of having bacteria on them.
The APP also suggests applying a hard, vented eye patch (sold at pharmacies) to the area if you are wearing tight clothing (such as nylon stockings). Or secure it to the body using a stretchy Ace® bandage. This will protect your new piercing from irritation and impact from clothing, sports or other physical activities.
It can take from four months to one year for a belly button piercing to heal completely. There are many things that affect the healing process: the amount of skin that is pierced, sweat, clothing, overall health, care and quality of the jewelry. Jewelry in a healing piercing should always be the appropriate length, diameter and gauge (thickness). Too tight or too small belly rings can limit blood circulation and movement and prolong healing. A belly ring that is too thin may be perceived by the body as just a splinter or other object and work to eject it rather than heal around it.