Healing belly button piercing


I'm sure some of us around here have our navels pierced or work as piercers.  I was just wondering how long it usually takes to heal.  I know when I got my ears pierced years ago they said it would take a certain amount of time to heal (can't remember how long) but I remember my ears were too sensitive and took quite a while longer to heal (I don't think they were completely healed until at least 6 months later).
I got my belly button bedazzled in June of 2011; should I be concerned that is still isn't fully healed yet? I do my best to keep it clean after I shower, but it ends up drying/crusting into place later anyways, and if I accidentally tug it out of place it will start to bleed a bit.
Mar 11, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
SexyRockStarsWifeNowWidow Paid Member

I've been told that it can take up to a year minimum for a belly piercing to heal up. I briefly had mine done, but it kept rubbing on stuff and always looking this angry red. So ended up removing it. Maybe one day I will revisit it.
Mar 11, 2012 from Planet Neptune, United States

Mine doesn't look red or swollen, so I think that's a good sign.  It does however look like...an unhealed wound (how profound of me..) when I move it a little to clean it.

Hearing that it can take up to year minimum makes me feel a little better. I thought something was wrong since it hadn't healed yet. None of my friends have it done so I can't really ask their experiences with it
Mar 11, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

It should be mostly healed. Although some can take awhile, it should be so near completely healed within six months that you shouldn't be able to tell the difference unless there's a large amount of trauma. I'd be worried. Mine didn't heal completely for over a year, so I ended up taking it out. You may have an allergy to the metal or you may not be anatomically built for it (which sounds odd to a lot of people, but if you have a crease line near your belly button then you might want to rethink keeping it).

I just recently got mine repierced in December, and I was scared with pole . . but I did okay. I ended up having to stay away from the long dangly ones and I just wear  simple banana barbell one. I feel a whole lot better and have NO issues. I even just got my girlie bits pierced again . . only a week off of the pole and I'm good to go.
Mar 11, 2012 from Dallas, Texas, United States

Kitty, what do you mean by a crease line? Like slouching over so your stomach creases like a wrinkly worm that's doing crunches? LOL
Mar 11, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Body piercings take a lot longer to heal then your ears- 6 months is average. I have several and the best advice I have is to use baby soap every day in the shower. It is antibacterial but gentle and won't dry out skin. Even years later, when  one of my piercings "flare up" - a few days of baby wash and I am good.  

You can also ask your piercer for a "retainer" (after healing) - this is a smaller plastic curved barbell that can replace your piercing and stay out of your way.
Mar 11, 2012 from IL, United States
Lana Lee

A friend of mine has her belly button pierced and she just wears a loop and it won't irritate when poling.

My body is strange and does not react  very well to piercings.  I've had my ear lobes take up to 6 months to heal up, and every now and then it flares up for no apparently reason.  I baby it and clean it with salt and water and it usually gets better within the day.  I would hate to know how it would take for my body to heal a belly button piercing
Mar 12, 2012 from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
AvaBabe Previous Paid Member
I had a piercing (the don't triangle thingy in the center front part of the eat I can't remember what's the name of it) that seemed to not want to heal properly at all (it kept keloiding really big and I was afraid it would a: be ugly without the piercing and scar horribly out b: be ugly with it and scar horribly) so I went back to the Piercer who also happened to be a nurse. She told me to gently and lightly swab it with tea tree oil every night for a week, then every other night until healed. It finally worked but it took some time. It's perfect now and no one would every know that it scarred so bad in the first place! So maybe talk to a doctor or nurse that may be familiar with tea tree oil and see if that might be an option?
Mar 12, 2012 from Tampa, Florida, United States
Rose2011 Previous Paid Member
I got my belly ring about 6 months ago! The guy at the shop told me the only thing to clean it with is saline (contact solution) and do it atleast twice a day or more!
Mar 13, 2012 from Winfield, Alabama, United States

I have had my belly button piercing since Sept 2000. I was pierced with a hoop.  I was told it could take anywhere from 9mths to a yr to completely heal. I used witch hazel to clean mine as was recommended at the time and it has only been infected once this whole time. ( That was due to my own stupid actions-I was camping and got it dirty and forgot to bring my witch hazel to clean it. So over serveral days w/o being cleaned properly it got infected:( ) I know it can sometimes can longer for different people. My best friend got hers done at the same time as mine and hers was healed within 6mths. Mine however was almost a year to be fully healed and able to take it out to change jewerly. We did exactly the same thing...hope this is helpful:)
Mar 13, 2012 from Idaho, United States

It's been helpful to hear that everyone has different experiences with body piercings healing.  I think I'll start using a saline soak with a shot glass a couple times per day and see if it gets better. If not, I'll go back to the place where I got the piercing and have them take a look at it.
Mar 13, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
chemgoddess1 Paid Member

I had mine done about 5 years ago and it still bleeds every once in a while.  Every day it is a little crusty, but I have this same problem with my ear piercings.
Mar 13, 2012 from Raleigh-ish, NC, United States
It took about 9months for my to deal. As any piercer will stress this to you- keep it clean! The only problem i had with mine was i changed my ring and it got a little infection, like a large red bump. I took the new ring out and put the previous one in- took a cup and held warm salt water on it 2 times a day and the infection healed in 5 days. Havent had issues since and have had it for 6 years
Mar 13, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Mine to heal**** i type so fast on my phone that i mispell words- sorrry and good luck :)
Mar 13, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Yup, just like a wrinkly worm doing crunches. If you fold over your belly button - you might want to take it out. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is anatomically suited for all piercings, even the common ones like a belly button. If you have any questions about piercings let me know . . I've had over 13+ piercings . .about to add another to the collection ;)
Mar 13, 2012 from Dallas, Texas, United States

Belly button piercings are so dificult to heal because they are literally ina  place on your body that moves so much - they're basically placed on your body's hinge. 

So I wouldn't be worried that it's taken about a year, that's pretty normal. I think mine took about 7 months to heal completely, but in general I'm really good with healing piercings. 


Just keep it clean with saline solution (dilute a bit of tea tree oil if you start to get scarring - this will help minimise it) and you should have no problems with it. It'll heal in it's own time. If your immune system is low, it might take longer to heal as well.
Mar 14, 2012 from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Mine took over a year because I discovered I was allergic to any metal other than gold. What the piercer used was not gold so my belly button swole, was red, had green thick pus coming out, felt hot all the time, and I even had a keloid which is what azblanco described.

During this time I was advised to use glycerin soap or antibacterial, and wash with sea salt and water in a cup minimum 3x daily. I also had to take my ring out and clean it, or move it up and down while in my navel immediately AFTER doing a sea salt soak or a hot shower to help drain/break up the dried up crust and mucous inside and out. Then do a sea salt wash again to flush it out.

Once I discovered I had the metal allergy, I immediately switched to a clear plastic ring from Walmart until I could afford a gold one. That combined with just the sea salt rinses cleared it up immediately, and the sea salt helped dry out the wound as well so. A few months later I found out I was pregnant and I was able to leave my belly ring in throughout my pregnancy and delivery with no problem at all.

It gets a little tender at times after I catch it on things and it gets yanked by my inquiring neices and nephews (ouch!) but never that bad since. And I think the sea salt made a Major difference!
Mar 14, 2012 from Saginaw, Michigan, United States

I never thought about a metal allergy, I had my nose pierced years back and it never seemed to fully heal, was just like you're describing.  I eventually gave up and took it out but I bet that's what it was...thanks for the insight I never thought of that, good to know.
Mar 14, 2012 from Tampa, Florida, United States

I haven't read the rest of teh comments, but let me tell you what happend to me with my belly button ring. Got it at age 17. The guy said to use tea tree oil instead of neosporin because the neosporin would cause "too much healing" and hole would try to close... whatever... But... after like a year it still kept getting infected and felt like it was trying to close up all the time. It would always be crusty. The skin kept getting thinner and thinner where it was pierced.. and then one ay I was at the pool with a guy I liked. He jumped in on me and ripped out the belly ring. It hurt, but not as much as I thought. The skinwas so thin by then. So after like another 8 months or something I decided to get it re-pierced. It was like all scar tissue by then. It stayed in for a few weeks and then literally just came out. The skin just grew out. Point being... anything foreign in your body you run the risk of your body rejecting it. This can happen to piercings or breast implants ( I don't have but I've heard that is a risk). So watch out with these belly rings.. it sucks mine would just not stay in ... it looked really cute.
Apr 4, 2012 from United States

I've had my belly button pierced twice. And sadly both times my body rejected it. The first time i blame on the piercer. they pierced it off centre and at a bad angle (my mistake at 16 for going to a place that does not have proffessionally trianed piercers) I had it for about a year before I took it out as it had pushed itself out to just a think layer of skin. 

the second time I went to a professionally recognized piercer and sadly even though it was done properly my body rejected it again. I've now attributed it to a slighty metal allergy. I've had other body piercings and as long as i use higher quality metals(gold) I am ok.

all of this talk makes me want to go get it done again though.....maybe third times the charm??? I'm not worried about scar tissue as my belly button is now also scarred from surgery from gallstones.
Apr 4, 2012 from British Columbia, Canada

@silverlady: girl.. you bring ruin to my life! those are to die for!!! I'm so getting one even if its for christmas!

I did my piercing right after i turned 18 (my parents didnt allow it before), it took about 8 months to fully heal... but it was worth it! sometimes when I wear too tight clothes it gets "upset" but its just a matter of kipping it clean and all its fine. To avoid complications I often remove it when I practice, when I know i'm going to have to use my belly against the pole... to avoid hurting myself, cratching the pole and also because those tiny holes on x-pole dont make me feel too confortable... maybe i'm just over cautious, but.. better safe than sorry. I love my piercing, too bad there's only one belly botton or I'd do more :P
Apr 5, 2012 from Oxford, England, United Kingdom
bellakarmina Previous Paid Member

I have some piercing! The upper navel, the lip, I have a microdermal implant on the cheekbone, and a small piercing which nobody sees lollll except my lover I like them and I have never had problems
Apr 5, 2012 from Boucherville, Quebec, Canada

My belly button healed within 2 weeks, but i put peroxide on it. they say not to however i find it does quicken the healing process and have quite a few piercings and have never had a problem with any of them on the pole except shortly after i got my nipples pierce, i hit the pole and yes that hurt. however im just being more careful now and no problems. 

An LOOOOVEEE those belly rings !!!! ahhhhhhhh
Apr 5, 2012 from Florida, United States

I had the exact same issue as PowerTwirl and Krissy! Had it done, took forever to heal (in fact, I don't think it was ever 'fully' healed). It was always red and moist with some sort of goo. Sorry if TMI but it's true. My skin got thinner and thinner and while I was at a concert it ripped out through my skin. I decided to have it repierced a year later and it never healed. Again my skin began to get thinner and I knew the bar was going to come out. The stinging and hotness just wasn't worth it. I think sometimes your body just rejects piercings and because of the location of the bellybar I don't think it's that surprising that this one is commonly rejected. 

It just doesn't work with everyone's body. Such a shame because I did LOVE having it done. My tongue bar is my new baby though and *touch wood* it doesn't cause nearly as many problems as my bellybar did.
Apr 5, 2012 from Ireland
Mine took at least one year to heal, however it became an issue when I started pole. One day it unscrewed itself and came undone. After that I decided to retire the piercing. It's just too much maintanance.
Apr 6, 2012 from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The thing that helped mine heal was taking a shot glass and filling it with warm water and epison salt and then put that on top of the piercing and just sit like that for 15 minutes or so. Worked very well. Hope that helps

Apr 6, 2012 from Reseda, California, United States
RedFox Previous Paid Member

I was going to say almost exactly what daniandmoredani said.  I healed my nipple piercing that way, and I didn't even have crusties (sorry to the squeamish).  Perfect heal.  I used sea salt though, instead of epsom, and I would warm it to as much as I could handle, put it in the shot glass and watch tv (or whatever) for 20 minutes.  I did it twice a day for at least two weeks.
Apr 6, 2012 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I just had to retire my belly button. It was completely healed, but the skin between the holes was slowly getting smaller and smaller. I am a firm believer that belly buttons aren't for everyone ... Especially for polers
Apr 6, 2012 from Dallas, Texas, United States
Runemist34 Previous Paid Member

While not a belly button, I had two cartilage ear piercings that attempted to reject. I had them for 5 years, and every 6 months or so, they'd get really upset and bleed. Constant crusties, and they swelled up pretty good all around the piercing. I couldn't move the rings at all, other than turning them, because the swelling hurt so much.

There are a lot of things I could have done, or that I could have been told, about having those piercings. To get one at a time, so I could sleep on one side and keep the other without pressure. To keep my hair back and away from them at all times. To not get them when I'm working a job where I have to wear a headset (I was working in a call centre).

I tried the salt, the oils and everything... I did a lot of research. By the end of 5 years, I decided that they would never heal, and I discarded them. Very little scar tissue, so that's good. They healed up perfectly fine with the rings out.

However, I wanted to say this: Using things like polysporin, or something oil based, is not recommended because it doesn't allow the wound to breathe. It's a very particular kind of thing you're trying to do, and suffocating your skin around the piercing may cause it to stop healing, reject entirely, or other nasty things.

Using salts (such as epsom salts or seasalt) can be very beneficial. I didn't find that it helped me, but there were a lot of people that I read about that found it amazing, so you can give that a try.

Otherwise, belly button piercings are, from what I've seen, just as bad as any surface piercing for being rejected. I've heard of them being rejected only to one side, so you end up with a piercing somewhere near your hipbone, and some just are rejected out. That's where the skin becomes smaller and smaller... till the piercing itself comes out. 

Specifically, crusties are a fluid that our bodies use, created by the Lymph node, in order to flush out foreign objects- namely, the piece of metal you've shoved in there. They're normal, and natural for your body to be producing.

I'd say, leave the piercing in for a bit, try to be very careful of it (if it keeps wrenching or moving, perhaps put a bandage over it to keep it from doing so). Pulling or moving it when it's not healed, and discovering it bleeding, is a sure sign that whatever healing had been done was wrecked by the movement. It's a very delicate process!

And... some people heal differently than others. Some people take ages, some take days. Some don't heal up at all- such as myself.

I wish you luck!
Apr 7, 2012 from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

Wow there has been so much response to this topic, and a lot of good advice! :)

I know I'm not supposed to change the jewelry when it's not healed yet, but I did change my jewelry to a small quartz retainer while I had to be around/in an MRI for a research study. I have since left in in and noticed that catching on things, bumping it, or getting tugged has decreased dramatically.  So I just decided to leave it in and let it heal with the retainer for a while. That plus warm salt soaks with a shot glass is making it already look better a few days later!

The good news is, while it was crusty and bleeding (thanks to Runemist I will no longer be moving it around to see how it's doing...oops [www.studioveena.com] my belly button never got swollen, red, hot, or painful to touch, and so far it doesn't look like it's migrating or rejecting (but now I'm a little paranoid though! haha)
Apr 8, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Annieloo! How do you do the warm salt soaks? I've heard it works great but i also heard that if you put too much salt in the water it can actually harm the piercing even more. Can you tell me your measurments, please? :)
Aug 4, 2012
Nicolette, the measurements the piercer gave me were 1/4 teaspoon of noniodized sea salt with warm (but not uncomfortably hot!) water with 1/2 cup of water. I cut it in half and estimated about 1/8 teaspoon with 1/4 cup of water so I could pour it into a shot glass :)
Aug 4, 2012 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

mine took about a year and I believe I did the salt soaks for at least 7 or 8 months. I did them twice a day for the first few months and I didnt go in pools/lakes/oceans til about 8 months
Aug 5, 2012 from Davis (near Sacramento), CA, United States
Lyme Lyte

Another thing, make sure you keep top of the line metal in the piercing.  I found a cool BB ring at the dollar store, put it in, and a few months later my body rejected it and my BB is now full of scar tissue and I can not get it redone. 
Aug 5, 2012 from Grand Haven, Michigan, United States
calipolepixie Previous Paid Member

It took about 3-4 months for mine to completely heal. DEFINITELY don't change the belly ring out until your are fully healed and when you do be quick about it because just a few hours with the belly ring out and it will start to close up that quick. Just keep following the after care instructions that your piercer gave you and it will heal just fine.

I've had my belly ring about 6 years and still have to be careful what BB rings I buy. If you have sensitive skin (I do) make sure that the BB rings you buy are 100% surgical steel. I've had allegic reactions(hole gets infected, starts to scar and will start to close up) with any belly ring that is just plated with surgical steel or not a hypoallegenic material/metal. I had to have my belly button repierced once( it got super infected & closed up) because of using cheap belly rings and I won't make that mistake again. The piercer said if it happens again, I won't be able to get it repierced because i have scar tissue in that area now.

As far as my pole dancing with it, it hasn't been an issue at all and even when I first got it, snagging wasnt an issue either. I love my belly ring :)
Aug 5, 2012 from Sylmar, California, United States

I had my belly button pierced twice and both times it grew out. My body just slowly rejected it. No redness or infection the skin just got thinner and thinner. Took about a year.  I was really bummed about it.  One of my daughter's did the same thing after 3 times. My ears are double pierced since I was 12 and no problems at all.  I may try one more time. : )
Aug 6, 2012 from Arkansas, United States

Rejection is always a possibility.  Some people are more prone to this than others.  Definitely keep it clean, and don't move it around or tug on it too much - just a little right after you soak/clean it to make sure the healing tissue isn't adhering to the bar.

Also, ALWAYS use high quality metals.  SURGICAL stainless steel, titanium or gold.  If you want to wear a cheap one that you don't know the metal, take it out at the end of the day, clean the piercing, and put your good one back in.  Some people have reactions to different metals - I would suggest starting with a gold banana bar and experimenting from there with either titanium or surgical stainless steel.  Gold is the least reactive, and most people can tolerate gold when their body will not tolerate other metals. 

Glad to hear your piercing is starting to do better, and I hope this helps!
Aug 6, 2012 from Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Im 13 nearly 14 and have mine done, you can change the bar after 8 weeks (thats what I did) just make sure youre not alergic to the metal, do salt and water soaks buy surgical spirit and also what I to is take my belly bar out heat it up soak it in surgical spirit, dry it, put it in some cream (prefrrably. The one you got given when you got it pierced) Ive had mine done for bout 5 months now, it looks healed but it's now, and also the peircer told me if it hurts just put an ice pack on it:3 Hope Ive helped.
Dec 1, 2012
Im 13 nearly 14 and have mine done, you can change the bar after 8 weeks (thats what I did) just make sure youre not alergic to the metal, do salt and water soaks buy surgical spirit and also what I to is take my belly bar out heat it up soak it in surgical spirit, dry it, put it in some cream (prefrrably. The one you got given when you got it pierced) Ive had mine done for bout 5 months now, it looks healed but it's now, and also the peircer told me if it hurts just put an ice pack on it:3 Hope Ive helped.
Dec 1, 2012

Ive had mine done 3 times. First time it got infected and nevery really healed well, so i took it out and let it close. I did it again a year or 2 after that, but the little ball came off and the barbell fell out,i didnt notice until it was already healed. Had it done again in 09, and have had no issues with it since. I usually change the loop to a barbell after it stops hurting, i just like the barbells better than the loop they pierce it with, seems to heal faster for me and get less infected.
Dec 1, 2012 from San Diego, California, United States
hi there i was wondering how long it will take to heal like i got my bellybutton done ages ago its still red and sore
Aug 6, 2014
i never stop being amazed at what a great TEACHER you are. even my gravity unfriendly self has been able to inch farther and farther with technique because you teach so well. thank you.
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