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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read more: How to Safely Put in a New Belly Button Ring
Casey Holley is a medical writer who began working in the health and fitness industries in 1995, while still in high school. She has worked as a nutrition consultant and has written numerous health and wellness articles for various online publications. She has also served in the Navy and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health administration from the University of Phoenix.