Belly Button Piercing FAQs | Painful Pleasures Community

Belly Button Piercing FAQs

Whether you already have a belly button piercing or you're considering having one done, our FAQs address any questions or concerns you may have.

by PainfulPleasures Last Updated: March 16, 2022

Considering having your belly button pierced? If you have any questions about belly button jewelry, navel piercing aftercare, or the belly button piercing process in general, we’ve got you covered.

In our Belly Button Piercing FAQs, we address everything you need to know to about getting your belly button pierced or caring for a current belly button piercing.

Click on a question below to jump right to the answer, or read through our entire article for a comprehensive overview.

Common Belly Button Piercing Questions

Q. Where should I go to get my belly button pierced?
Q. How much pain can I expect from a belly button piercing?
Q. What does a belly button piercing cost?
Q. What’s the proper placement of a belly button piercing?
Q. Can I get a double pierced belly button in one session?
Q. What is a reverse belly button ring?
Q. What is the best type of starter jewelry for a belly button piercing?
Q. How should I clean my belly button piercing?
Q. Is belly button piercing rejection a common issue?
Q. I think my belly button piercing is infected. What should I do?
Q. What kind of belly button jewelry can I wear if I’m pregnant?
Q. Are there any more resources to help me decide if I want to get my belly button pierced?
Q. How do I make a fake belly button ring?
Q. Is it okay to wear gold belly button rings, or should I stick to titanium and surgical steel?
Q. When can I start wearing heavier jewelry, like dangle belly button rings?
Q. Where can I buy custom jewelry for my belly button piercing?
Q. Where can I find additional information about belly button piercings?

Answers to Frequently Asked Belly Button Piercing Questions

Q. Where should I go to get my belly button pierced? Curved Piercing Needle, Piercing Needle, Curved Needle, Precision Needles

A. Belly button piercings are prone to rejection when they aren’t done just right. This is why we always recommend having a professional piercer at a professional shop perform your belly button piercing with a proper sterilized piercing needle. Sterilized piercing needles are preferable to piercing guns. With a sterilized piercing needle, the piercing is done deeply enough and with a heavy enough gauge that your chances for migration and rejection will be significantly reduced. Piercing guns are havens for bacteria, and tear forcefully through the skin, which can leave your belly button piercing jagged and more susceptible to rejection.

Additionally, a belly button piercing is  not the kind of body modification you want to let an inexperienced or unlicensed friend casually perform — even if he or she has a proper piercing needle on hand! Always trust a professional piercer at a reputable shop or studio.

Q. How much pain can I expect from a belly button piercing?

A. As with any piercing that goes through soft tissue, such as the earlobes or lips, the pain of a belly button piercing is only momentary. You’ll experience a brief pinching sensation, followed by pressure as the needle goes through, and then a little additional pressure when the jewelry is put into your new belly button piercing.

If you’re really concerned about the pain associated with a belly button piercing, ask your piercer to apply a topical anesthetic like Derma Numb, both of which contain the numbing agent lidocaine. You’ll need to wait 20 to 30 minutes after being numbed to experience the full benefits of a topical anesthetic. Once you’re numb, you’ll experience more pressure than pain during the navel piercing process.

Note: If you don’t want to wait around a piercing shop for an extra half hour, you can apply an over-the-counter topical anesthetic like Derma Numb at home. That way, the numbing agent is sufficiently soaked into your skin by the time you arrive at the piercing shop. Re-apply as needed prior to getting prepped for your piercing.

Q. How much does a belly button piercing cost?

A. The cost of a belly button piercing varies from studio to studio. Typically, you’ll find that belly button piercings cost less in rural areas and more in cities, due to the varying costs of running a shop in these contrasting settings. You could pay anywhere from $35 to $60 for a belly button piercing, depending on where you go. On average, $45 to $50 is a fairly standard price. If you find a highly recommended piercing artist, it will be worth it to have he or she perform your belly button piercing even if it costs you a little more.

Q. What’s the proper placement of a belly button piercing? Silicone Navel Body Bit, Belly Button Ring, Navel Ring, Navel Jewelry

A. Standard belly button piercings are placed through 1/2″ to 1″ or so of skin above the belly button, down and out through the upper lip of the navel cavity. The end result should be that the bottom ball of your belly button ring nestles right over top of your belly button. If you have an “outie” belly button, it may affect the placement of your belly piercing somewhat, but not dramatically. The bottom ball of your belly ring should still rest over top your belly button when the piercing is done.

If your piercer tries to place your belly button piercing so high that the bottom ball is actually above your belly button, they’re performing the piercing incorrectly. This incorrect placement qualifies as a surface piercing rather than a belly button piercing; and surface piercings have a high chance of migration/rejection. This isn’t a common issue for those going to professional piercers, but it does occasionally happen. If your piercer marks you in preparation for the piercing and you find the placement of the dots questionable, talk to your piercer before he or she does the piercing. Don’t leave with an awkwardly-placed piercing.

If you’re getting a bottom belly button piercing or another configuration, like a 4-point belly button piercing or a double pierced belly button, the placement will be different than a standard belly button piercing. The same principle should be applied, though, meaning that one ball should rest over top of your belly button, the barbell should go through the inner wall of your navel cavity, and the outer ball should protrude somewhere between 1/2″ and 1″ away from your belly button.

Q. Can I get a double pierced belly button in one session?

Double Navel Ring, Double Belly Button Ring, Double Belly Button Piercing, Navel JewelryA. If you want to have both your upper and lower belly button pierced, the top and the two sides, or some other configuration, you can technically get a quadruple, triple or double pierced belly button in one session — if you can tolerate it. If your piercer moves quickly and gets all of the piercings done while your adrenaline is still kicking, you’ll be able to handle multiple piercings better. You may also want to ask to have a topical anesthetic applied to your belly button area ahead of time if you’re getting multiple piercings in one sitting.

Even though you can get a double-pierced belly button in one session, it may be best to have one piercing done, see how it heals, and then consider adding to your collection later. If your body decides to reject the piercing, it’d be better to lose just one piercing. Otherwise, you may end up with nasty scars in multiple locations around your belly button.

Q. What is a reverse belly button ring?Navel Ring, Belly Button Ring, Top Down Belly Button Ring, Navel Jewelry

A. Reverse belly button rings are intended for standard belly piercings. While standard belly button rings are inserted through the bottom navel cavity, reverse belly button rings are inserted through the top lip. Also known as top down belly button rings, reverse belly button rings feature a decorative top, charm, or threaded end above your belly button, instead of a standard ball. Sometimes, reverse or top down belly button rings feature a standard ball that rests inside your navel cavity.

You can wear reverse belly button rings in lower belly button piercings, too. That would keep the decorative end over top of your belly button cavity, whereas a standard belly button ring placed in a lower belly button piercing would sit with the decorative end hanging below your belly button.

Q. What is the best type of starter jewelry for a belly button piercing?

A. There are a number of different jewelry styles you can wear in a navel piercing, including traditional bent barbells (banana barbells), captive bead rings, seamless rings, segment rings, clickers (typically labeled as daith rings or septum rings, but you can wear them in a wide variety of piercings, including belly button piercings), circular barbells, and twisters. Most of those options are better suited for use in a well-healed belly button piercing. Bent barbells are the ideal style to wear as a starter belly button ring.

Titanium Belly Button Ring, Titanium Navel Jewelry, TitaniumIn terms of material, titanium and surgical stainless steel are the safest, most optimal choices for a starter belly button ring. Titanium is the most inert metal and the least likely to trigger an allergic reaction, so if you have sensitive skin, this is the best choice for you. BioPlast (a.k.a. PTFE or BioFlex) is another good alternative for those with sensitive skin, since it’s a hypoallergenic material.

If you play any contact sports, like field hockey or football, you should absolutely opt for a PTFE starter belly button ring. It’s a softer, more flexible material that’s less likely to stab into you if anything or anyone makes contact with your healing piercing. You may want to ask your coach if it’s okay to have a belly button piercing at all before you go through the trouble of getting pierced Some coaches won’t allow it, but it may help your case if you tell your coach that you have flexible PTFE as a jewelry option.

Q. How should I clean my belly button piercing?

A. Religious belly button piercing aftercare is a critical component to the success of a belly piercing. It’s important to perform full sea salt solution soaks 2 times per day for the first couple weeks after having your belly button pierced. You should also spritz your piercing with a saline solution like Recovery Piercing Saline Solution up to 6 times a day in between full soaks. Spritzing your piercing with a piercing aftercare spray will keep the fistula (hole where you were pierced) flushed of debris. It will also keep the skin around your piercing well-hydrated. Recovery, Recovery Saline Wash, Recovery Aftercare, Recovery Aftercare Saline Spray

For the full soaks, you can either apply a store-bought solution like Recovery Piercing Saline Solution or a homemade sea salt solution. To make your own solution, mix 1/4 tsp of Recovery Sea Salt with 1 cup of sterile water (boil water for 5 minutes to sterilize it) and 2–3 drops of tea tree oil, if desired. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and moisturizer, but it can’t be applied directly to a piercing; it has to be delivered in a carrier oil or a solution like your homemade sea salt soak. You could also add it to store-bought saline solution, if desired.

Fill a small container, like a shot glass or our 3oz disposable plastic cups, part-way with either saline solution or homemade sea salt solution. Lean forward and place the lip of the glass up against your belly, so the cup is surrounding your belly button. Holding the cup tightly to your skin, sit upright. Let your belly button piercing soak in the solution for 5 minutes. Afterwards, you can use a clean tissue or cotton pad to gently wipe away any “crusties” that have been softened up by the solution. Crusties are just dried lymph, which is a clear excretion common with new piercings and other healing wounds. It dries to a whitish crust that’s harmless. You just don’t want to twist or slide your jewelry to break up the crusties; always soften them with saline solution first, then gently wipe it away.

Avoid washing your piercing with soap for the first couple months. Soap can dry out your skin and cause it to crack, which will make you more susceptible to infection. Sea salt solution is the best thing to use to keep your piercing clean while it’s healing, which can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months for most people. Some people need almost a year before their belly button piercings are fully healed. That being said, don’t be surprised if yours takes longer than the average 3 to 6 month healing time that is typical for belly button piercings.

Q. Is belly button piercing rejection a common issue?

Tea Tree Oil, Recovery Tea Tree Oil, Recovery AftercareA. The chances of belly button piercing rejection and migration are minimized if your piercer uses a sterilized heavier-gauge piercing needle (and pierces you deeply enough). Ideally, belly button piercings should be in the 14g to 12g size range. Never let a piercer insert jewelry size 16g or smaller; finer-gauge jewelry is much more prone to migration and rejection.

Since belly button piercings are technically surface piercings, and since surface piercings are more prone to rejection than piercings that go in one side of your flesh and out the other (think earlobe and lip piercings), the depth of your piercing is extremely important to its longevity. Your piercer should pinch a good amount of flesh before piercing your belly button. If the needle barely skims the surface of your skin, you won’t have your navel piercing long-term. Let your piercer know you’re okay with him or her going as deeply as can be done comfortably to get a belly button piercing that will last.

Dead Sea Salt, Recovery Sea Salt, Recovery AftercareA professional piercer will know to keep these factors in mind when piercing you, which is why it’s best to go to a professional piercing shop to have your belly button pierced. Once the piercing’s done, it’s up to you to care for your new belly piercing properly to ensure that it heals well. You should do sea salt solution soaks by holding a small cup of solution over your piercing for 5 minute intervals 2-3 times a day for the first few weeks. (Apply 3 times per day if your piercing is especially irritated or you suspect you’re developing an infection; otherwise twice daily is sufficient.) Read our sea salt solution recipe and application tips in the answer to the question immediately above, or check out our article, The Belly Button Piercing & Healing Process, for more detailed belly button piercing aftercare tips.

Q. I think my belly button piercing is infected. What should I do?

A. Because of the location of a navel piercing — right in the middle of your body, where you bend at the waist — it’s natural for belly button piercings to get irritated during the healing process. Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help minimize irritation, and adding tea tree oil to your saline soaks will also calm the skin around your healing piercing. Even if you wear loose clothing and practice religious belly piercing aftercare, you may experience red, inflamed skin around your piercing and seemingly excessive discharge at times during the healing process. As long as that discharge remains a clear or whitish color and the skin isn’t a streaky red, your piercing most likely isn’t infected.

Belly Button Piercing, Navel Piercing, Navel JewelryIf at any time you experience significant swelling that causes the balls of your jewelry to press into your skin, or if you develop a hypertrophic scar (a kind of hard, circular, granular tissue development around either the top or bottom ball of your piercing) or hypergranulation (more of a smooth, bubble-like, reddish bump), your jewelry may be too tight for you. In this case, you should see your piercer right away and ask to have a longer barbell inserted. Prolonged pressure on your piercing can cause necrosis, or tissue death, which can lead to infection. Getting the pressure off is the only way to avoid necrosis and give issues like hypergranulation a chance to resolve themselves. You’ll also need to ramp up your aftercare regime for the next 1 to 2 weeks, performing full sea salt solution soaks (preferably with tea tree oil) 3 times a day and spritzing your piercing with Recovery Piercing Aftercare Spray or a similar product frequently in between soaks.

If the area around your piercing develops streaky red lines around it or becomes hot to the touch, and/or if the fistula begins oozing a thicker, yellowish, pus-like discharge, chances are you’ve moved from an irritation to a full-blown infection. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your family doctor as soon as possible. You may need an antibiotic to combat the issue. Be sure to ramp up your aftercare regime as described above if your belly button piercing becomes infected. You should be able to keep your piercing as long as you keep it clean and take any antibiotics you’re prescribed until you finish the prescription.

Important Note: Don’t ever take part of a course of antibiotics and stop, even if you begin to feel better. The infection will just grow stronger to the point that the antibiotic can no longer conquer it, and you could develop an immunity to that particular antibiotic.

Q. What kind of belly button jewelry can I wear if I’m pregnant? Belly Button Ring, Navel Ring, Pregnancy Belly Button Ring

A. As detailed more completely in our Pregnant & Pierced article, your growing baby bump doesn’t have to mean the end of your belly button piercing. If you want to keep your piercing, you have a couple options. One option is to purchase several steel or titanium bent barbell shafts in different lengths and swap in progressively longer barbells as your belly grows. That way, you can turn your favorite belly button rings into pregnancy belly button rings rather than buying special pregnancy belly rings. (See our How to Modify Your Belly Ring article with video tutorials and written instructions detailing how to change your barbell shaft.)

Another option is to purchase a pregnancy belly button ring made from flexible PTFE/BioPlast that you can cut to the perfect length based on the current size of your baby bump.

Tip: Leave it long initially so you don’t have to buy additional lengths of PTFE later, when your belly’s at it’s biggest. The great thing about pregnancy belly rings is that you can keep using them even after your tummy goes back to its normal size post-baby. Just cut the PTFE shaft down a bit more and keep wearing it!

Q. Are there any more resources to help me decide if I want to get my belly button pierced?

A. Our community photo gallery is chock full of belly button piercing pictures that you can peruse just by visiting the Navel Piercing Pictures section of our gallery. (Note that you must be a registered user age 18 or older and signed into your account to view mature content in the belly button piercing pictures section of our photo gallery.) For belly button videos, visit the Piercing Videos section of our YouTube channel.

Q. How do I make a fake belly button ring? Captive Ring, Captive Bead Ring, Body Jewelry, Basic Body Jewelry, Belly Button Jewelry

A. The easiest way to make a fake belly button ring is to buy a captive bead ring, remove the bead, widen the gap in the ring as necessary, slip it over the upper lip of your belly button, and squeeze the sides together gently until the captive ring fits snugly around the rim of your belly button. Save the bead, and that way you can pop it back into the ring and have an intact belly button ring to wear later, if you eventually decide to get your belly button pierced.

Q. Is it okay to wear gold belly button rings, or should I stick to titanium and surgical steel?

A. After 3 to 6 months, it should be safe for you to try wearing belly button jewelry made of materials other than titanium, surgical steel, or PTFE. You may find it difficult to change your belly ring by yourself the first time, so ask your piercer to perform a jewelry change for you once you find a new belly ring you love, if needed.

We offer a large selection of 200+ gold belly button rings, many of which can be customized with your choice of 14k white or yellow gold and made to order with your preferred gauge and shaft length. Some also come with your choice of gemstones. Check out our full selection of gold belly button rings now, or read our Investing in a Gold Belly Ring article first to get tips on choosing the perfect gold belly button ring for you.

Q. When can I start wearing heavier jewelry, like dangle belly button rings?

Dangle Belly Button Ring, Dangle Navel Ring, Dangly Jewelry, Dangle Body JewelryA. It’s best to wait 3 to 6 months after getting your belly button pierced before attempting to change your jewelry. That way the fistula will have had time to reinforce and get stronger, which will make it easier to change your jewelry and allow you to wear any style of belly button ring you choose, including dangle belly button rings.

If you have trouble changing your belly ring yourself, you can either try using a threaded taper to insert your new belly button ring (with a drop of water-based lubricant on the tip to allow the taper to slide through your belly piercing more easily, if desired) or your can have your piercer change your navel ring for you the first time. It may take up to a year for your fistula to reinforce to the point that you can comfortably change your jewelry yourself, so don’t worry if you need help at the 3-6 month mark. Even if you can’t get your jewelry in by yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a dangle belly button ring or another heavier navel ring. If it feels comfortable for you once it’s in and it isn’t constantly getting tangled up in your clothing, you can wear any style of belly ring you choose once your belly piercing is fully healed.

Q. Where can I buy custom jewelry for my belly button piercing?

A. We offer a large assortment of custom belly button rings. Choose from materials ranging from titanium to 14k white gold, a variety of jewel options, a wide variety of shaft lengths, different ball sizes, external or internal threading, and other options. There are a lot of choices; if you need help navigating our store and honing in on your perfect custom belly button ring, check out our article, Tips for Picking a Custom Belly Ring.

Q. Where can I find additional information about belly button piercings?

A. We offer a wide variety of belly piercing and belly button ring resources for those looking for additional belly button piercing info. Check out our full library of belly button piercing Info Center articles belly ring blog posts to read more about navel piercings:

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