Changing your belly button ring before your piercing heals can damage your piercing by causing unnecessary irritation, ripping or tearing. A navel piercing can take up to one year to fully heal and may mimic the look and feel of a healed piercing while in a good stage during the healing period. The next week or month your navel piercing will show signs and symptoms of healing again, such as redness or swelling. The process of changing your belly button ring is simple and painless once your piercing heals.
Wait to change your ring until the end of the normal healing period for navel piercings. If your navel appears healed after a month or two, chances are your piercing is going through a good stage of the healing period. Continue with your aftercare to promote healing.
Examine the color of the skin around your navel piercing. If your piercing is healed, the skin should be the same color as the rest of the skin on your stomach surrounding the piercing. Red or pink skin indicates that your belly button piercing is still healing or is experiencing irritation.
Check your navel ring for dried crusts. During the healing period, small amounts of fluid exude out of your belly button piercing and dry on your ring. If you still have crusts on your jewelry, the piercing is still healing.
Determine if your navel piercing is still swelling. Look at your navel jewelry. Swelling is a normal side effect after receiving a navel piercing. If you can see only a small part of your jewelry sticking out from each piercing hole in your navel, your navel piercing may still be slightly swollen. Piercers insert jewelry into your navel during the piercing to accommodate for swelling and the jewelry will seem too large if your belly button piercing is not swelling.
Schedule an appointment with your piercer. Ask your piercer to look at your belly button piercing and inform you if your belly button piercing is ready for new jewelry. If the healing period is over and you are still encountering irritation, redness or swelling, the piercer will discuss your aftercare and daily activities to determine the reason why the piercing is not healing correctly.