Dear Belly Bling:
“I’d like to get my belly button pierced this summer. How many times a day will I need to clean the belly ring piercing in the first few weeks?”
-A navel-piercing newbie
For medical-based questions such as these, we always refer to guidelines from the American Association of Professional Piercers (APP).
According to APP, you can use a fragrance free mild liquid soap or a packaged additive-free sterile saline solution. When using soap, one that’s an anti-microbial or germicidal is best. For the saline solution, you can mix your own by dissolving ¼ tsp. non-iodized sea salt in 8 oz. of warm bottled or distilled water.
The saline rinse can be used as a soak for 5-10 minutes a day (just lean over, place the cup over the piercing, and while holding the cup in place, lay down). You can also soak a gauze pad in the solution and place that on your piercing. Rinse with plain distilled or bottled water after to clean off any salt residue.
If you choose to use soap, don’t clean it more than 1-2 times a day. It’s best to use it in the shower rather than the bath tub, as bath water can retain bacteria.
After cleaning, dry the piercing with paper towels or napkins. Regular towels can snag on the piercing and can also spread bacteria.
A few things to avoid during the healing process: hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, harsh/abrasive soaps, ointments, and lotions. Also avoid over-cleaning a new piercing as it can irritate the hole and the surrounding skin which will delay the healing.
With summer here, it’s super important to avoid lakes, rivers, hot tubs, pools, etc. that are not hygienic. If you will be in the water, protect your piercing with a waterproof bandage.
We strongly suggest you have your piercing done by a professional piercer; he or she will also have advice to ensure the piercing heals nicely.
Most importantly, the belly ring your piercer uses during the procedure is designed for safety so be sure and keep it in for the amount of time he or she suggests.