How Soon Can I Change My Belly Button Ring?

Trained female body with belly button ring
It can be tempting to change your belly button ring to a new piece of jewelry soon after getting pierced. Making sure you're fully healed first is essential to avoid infection. (Image: DragonImages/iStock/GettyImages)

There will come a time after you have your belly button pierced that you will want to change the jewelry. In order to avoid health risks such as infection, you must ensure that your piercing is fully healed before trying to change your belly button ring.

Time Frame

When you get your belly button pierced, you should leave the piercing jewelry in until the area is completely healed. Many piercing shops have multiple options available for piercing jewelry, so be sure to choose the option that best suits your personal tastes.

The Center for Young Women’s Health notes that belly button rings can take anywhere from four months to one year to fully heal.

Procedure

Before you attempt to remove the belly button ring, you must wash your hands and your navel area. Use antibacterial soap for your hands and saline solution for your belly button.

Once your hands and navel are clean, grab the ring with one hand and hold it firmly. Use your other hand to turn the ball to the left. Some piercing rings have a ball that slides, so if the ball doesn’t come off when you turn it, try pushing it toward your skin.

Once the ring is open, slide it out of the skin. Slide your new piece of jewelry into the hole and secure the ball by turning it to the right.

Tip

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, choosing a curved barbell piece of navel jewelry instead of a ring when you get your belly button initially pierced may reduce irritation and scarring.

Prevention/Solution

In order to prevent an infection after changing the jewelry, only sterile jewelry should be inserted. You can do this by purchasing pre-sterilized jewelry.

If you already have the jewelry you want to wear and it isn’t pre-sterilized, you can place the entire piece of jewelry into rubbing alcohol. Wipe it off gently with a cotton ball saturated with rubbing alcohol. Allow it to dry before inserting it.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, navel piercings are prone to tearing if the piercing is placed incorrectly and not given time to heal. Be gentle with your new piercing and thoughtful with the pants you wear while you are healing. A high-waisted pair of jeans could result in chafing in this area, and eventual tearing.

Considerations

Removing belly button jewelry before the piercing is healed may result in the hole closing before new jewelry can be inserted. A fully healed piercing won’t hurt at all and the area around the piercing will be the same color as the rest of your skin.

If you are unsure if your belly button is healed, go to the piercer you used and ask them if it is healed enough to change the jewelry. Some piercing shops will change the jewelry for you.

Warning

If you think you have an infection, you should contact your doctor prior to removing the jewelry. An infection needs to be able to drain and the belly button ring keeps the hole open so it can drain. If you remove the jewelry, the fluid could build up under the skin and cause an abscess.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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