Removing Your Belly Ring: How Early Is Too Early?

The belly piercing is a lot more complicated than many may think.

It is a popular place to get a piercing done and is often many people’s go-to piercing other than the simple lobe piercing, however there is a lot more that goes into the piercing process rather than just admiring the end result.

There is plenty of fun and excitement when getting your navel pierced and you can be eager to take that belly ring out and change it to a much nicer one. But how soon is too soon?

Removing Your Belly Ring How Early Is Too Early

The Belly Piercing

The navel piercing is a piercing very popular, especially making its name in the late 90s and early 2000s.

This piercing, however, is timeless, for you still see plenty of women (and some guys too!) rocking that belling piercing.

It was often that you’d see these iconic popstars wearing the signature belly bar, such as Britney Spears and Beyonce, and of course when you see your favorite celebrities with a belly piercing many fans will naturally follow suit.

When piercing, the needle is pierced into the top of the navel, allowing the jewelry to hang, and there are many types of jewelry you can choose from.

You can choose to go simple with a ball or be the center of attention with a dangling belly jewel.

That is one of the reasons the belly piercing is so popular. It compliments the area and stands out.

When To Change Your Belly Ring

It would be a lie to say that one of the most exciting things after having the navel pierced isn’t choosing the jewelry.

Usually when you are at the piercing shop first getting it done you will only have limited options of jewelry to choose from.

After it is done, however, there is much more to pick from and many people would want to get this straight away.

Unfortunately, that is not the best idea, for many reasons.

With piercing any area, safety is key – safety before, during, and after.

This is so important as to not cause any potential infections or ruin the quality of the piercing. The best thing to do in this situation is to wait until your piercing has fully healed.

The Healing Process

Has It Healed Yet?

The healing process is an emotional rollercoaster. It can be exciting, it can be tiring, but what’s for sure is that the healing process is worth it.

Healing is an important part of getting a piercing because it prevents any future issues. But it can also be difficult to determine if the piercing has completely healed.

On many occasions, it may look like your piercing has fully healed and is ready to be taken out and changed when in actuality it is still in its middle stages – the healing can regress.

The Healing Process of belly piercing

But the real question is how long until the navel piercing has healed.

The healing process changes depending on the individual, therefore it may take either a shorter or longer amount of time than others.

This is nothing to worry about.

Don’t become concerned if your friend’s piercing is fully healed months before yours is. This is completely normal. The only time to worry is if the piercing becomes infected.

For a navel piercing, the estimated time of full recovery is anywhere between 4 and 6 months and it is only at the earliest healing stage (4 months) can you think about replacing your jewelry.

But, of course, this is only an estimate.

It is always safer to leave your belly ring alone for as long as possible, just to decrease the potential risks, but if you are unsure your piercer will always be happy to take a look at the healing piercing to see if it is safe to take out.

What Happens If I Take It Out And It’s Not Healed?

You may be curious as to what will happen if you take out an unhealed piercing. There is a reason why piercers are so strict with aftercare and with the healing process of your piercing.

It is only in the best interest of the client that they tell you to not remove your piercing too soon, for taking it out prematurely can be detrimental to the entire piercing.

Bleeding

If you take your piercing out too early then you have the risk of bleeding.

The navel piercing is confusing, for it tends to look healed within the first month but that is only the exterior. Internally, the piercing is still healing.

Infection

As a result of the bleeding, this can then cause a potential infection. If the jewelry is removed during the healing process, this can lead to bacteria from dirt entering the open piercing.

This is a particular risk if you are replacing that jewelry with another.

That foreign object is entering a healing cavity and pushing bacteria into the wound. It is important not to do this.

Closed Hole

One of the most common scenarios that people know of is the risk of the piercing closing up.

A hole can close up at any stage, even if your piercing is fully healed, but when you are removing your piercing so soon, the chances of this skyrockets.

Even for people who have had their belly piercings for years, their holes can too close up but will just take a lot longer. For somebody with a fresh piercing, the hole can close up very fast.

How Do You Know If The Belly Piercing Is Still Healing?

There are obvious signs towards a healing belly piercing.

Swelling

One of the major signs is the pain and slight swelling you get after the piercing is done. This is completely normal and common amongst many people.

You may experience a soreness and some swelling around the pierced area, but do not confuse this with an infection.

Discharge

Another sign is discharge. It is common for newly pierced navels to have some discharge. This discharge will be clear and dries around the piercing but will soon clear itself up.

This is all a sign that it is healing healthily and at the right pace.

Discoloration

It is often that you will find a discoloration in your skin around the piercing whilst it is healing. That is a positive sign as it means the body is working to heal itself.

This is also handy to know if you are wondering if your piercing has healed yet – your skin will turn back to its original color.

Itchiness

You may feel that the area you were pierced is itchy and that is very common. What is important is to make sure that you do not itch the area, no matter how tempting it may be.

Just like itching a tattoo, it can have a drastic effect on the end result.

While with a tattoo you can ruin the art, with a piercing, itching the healing area can cause you to move the piercing, therefore irritating it, potentially cause scarring or even an infection.

Aftercare

With every piercing there is a healing process that a person has to go through.

This is to ensure the safety of the person and to make sure that nothing goes wrong with the piercing itself.

There are several steps to making sure your piercing heals correctly and these steps will be provided to you by your piercer at your appointment.

This list of aftercare will include both the standard requirements from your piercer as well as handy tips to ensure the safety and longevity of your piercing.

Keep Away From Beaches And Pools

The ocean along with pools carry tons of bacteria and any direct contact with the healing piercing can have a negative effect on the healing process.

Make sure that you are staying from areas where foreign bacteria can enter the navel and irritate your healing wound.

Clothing

This is a step many may not think to consider but beware of your clothing. It is very easy to catch your new navel jewelry on your shirt causing the material to latch on and tug at the piercing.

Not only will this be painful, but you can cause scarring in the navel area – (in worse instances, you could potentially end up pulling the jewelry out).

This goes the same for your pants. If you are used to wearing high-waisted jeans, then you might have to temporarily adjust your style.

Having your pants pulled up that high above your navel risks the material catching as well as foreign fibers infecting the space.

Avoid Touching

t may be tempting but avoid touching the healing area. There is plenty of bacteria around your hands, especially beneath your nails, and touching the newly pierced area will only transfer that bacteria.

As well as this, it is known that crust eventually forms around the piercing – do not pick at this. Crusting is a good sign that your piercing is healing so it is advised to leave this be.

Wash Your Hands

When you have to handle your piercing when you are cleaning it, make sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap.

By doing this you are killing the bacteria trapped in your skin and under your nails, therefore not allowing it to transfer onto the piercing.

Wash Your Piercing Daily

When you do clean your piercing, it is recommended to do this daily to ensure its cleanliness.

Wash your piercing using a Q-Tip and warm water and gently remove any built-up crust around the pierced area.

Once that is complete, take some non-fragranced antibacterial soap (only a small amount) and rub this on the piercing trying not to move the ring around too much and rinse this with warm water.

This can be done whilst in the shower if easier for you.

Saltwater Solution

Because of the location of your navel, it can be more difficult to clean your piercing effectively compared to the common lobe or nose piercing.

However, there are ways to get around this obstacle. One method is to make a saltwater solution and pour that solution into a small cup.

Then lean your body so your belly piercing is inside the cup. Leave this for no less than 5 minutes.

Belly Jewelry

After you complete those long 4 to 6 months of healing, you can now do what you’ve been desperately waiting for. You can change your jewelry!

There are many types of belly rings to choose from and they all have reasons for that. It could be they are made for specific types of navels or maybe suit your style more than another.

When you have your piercing done initially, you will find that the piercer will give you the standard ball jewelry.

It is very unlikely you will find piercers who will allow their client to have a dangly piece of jewelry to start off with.

Not only can this disturb the healing process (for example, higher chances of it getting caught on items), but the ball is used to accommodate the swelling which will occur.

Your style of jewelry can also change depending on what type of navel piercing you choose to have. That’s right, there are more types of piercings aside from the generic one you always see.

These consist of:

  • Upper belly button piercing (the most common kind)
  • Lower belly button piercing (pierced from the bottom of the navel)
  • Double belly button piercing (a combination of upper and lower)
  • Dermal belly button piercing
  • Floating navel piercing

Final Thoughts

This article has explained much about the navel piercing. We know the good, the bad, the ugly, and have been provided with tips to ensure a positive piercing experience.

What is most important, however, is healing.

Healing is the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful piercing and it is up to the wearer to do whatever to make sure that freshly done piercing is kept safe.

The temptation to remove your belly piercing early is high and that is understandable, especially when you are having to wear the standard belly ring for months on end.

It can take as long as half a year for a belly piercing to heal, and even then that is all dependent on the individual. It can take certain people over a year for their piercing to fully heal.

It is only after that time that you can think about removing your jewelry and replacing it for a new one.

In order to get to this stage of replacement, it is essential that you follow your aftercare.

Following your aftercare correctly means that you are not risking any problems which may occur and making the process go along smoothly.

As well as following aftercare, it is also important to know what to avoid as to not attract any bacteria, cause infection, and damage the skin.

As long as precautions are being met and you are able to stay patient then there is nothing to worry about.

The main thing to know is how important it is to wait for your belly piercing to heal completely before removal. And it is sure worth the long wait!

Max Peters