A navel, or belly button, piercing is one of the most common. The navel is not what is actually pierced, it is the upper rim, but can also be the bottom or sides of the belly button. This piercing is most common with women but not exclusive to women.
The jewelry used to perform the piercing should be surgical steel, titanium, or 14 or 18k gold. This will prevent infection and irritation. After healing is complete the jewelry may be changed. The two styles of jewelry are hoop rings or barbells which can have various forms of decoration.
This piercing takes 6-9 months to heal if properly taken care of. The aftercare is very important to insure proper healing. If a bandage is placed over the piercing, leave it on for 4 to 5 hours. It is not unusual to see a little blood recently after the piercing.
The jewelry needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, around twice a day. Before handling the jewelry, wash your hands. The jewelry can be cleaned with gentle soaps and water, or sea salt soaks. Soaps that are astringent can cause damage to the piercing and should be avoided. Wearing clothes that are tight around the jewelry can also cause irritation. Proper cleaning and proper sized jewelry should prevent infections.
It is important to make sure the parlor you choose is safe and sterile. If the piercing parlor is not sterile it is possible to get infections such as hepatitis and HIV. At the parlor there will be paperwork to read and complete, stating the risks, what piercing you will be getting, and aftercare instructions. If you are under 16 years of age, a parent will need to sign approval.
When it is time for the piercing, the tools, jewelry and technician need to be sterile. Some parlors will use reusable tools that have been sterilized. Others will use fresh, single use instruments. These instruments and the jewelry should be in sealed packaging that will be opened in front of you and the technician should always wear gloves.