Once your belly-button piercing is completely healed -- which may take as long as two to six months -- you can easily remove the navel ring yourself and substitute another, or even leave it out for a while. Keep in mind that if you leave the ring out for too long, the piercing may close and need to be redone. How long this takes depends on the individual. Removing your belly-button ring on your own before the navel piercing has completely healed is not recommended; if this absolutely must be done, ask the piercing artist that originally did the piercing to help you.
Wash your hands and the piercing site thoroughly with antibacterial soap, and rinse. This reduces the chance of spreading infection to the piercing site.
Gently twist or slide the belly-button ring to make sure it moves freely within the piercing. If the skin has adhered to the ring or it won't move freely, or if moving it is painful, you need the help of a professional.
Locate the screw-on ball that holds your belly ring in place, usually the smaller "nondecorative" ball on the ring. This is usually at the top of the belly-button ring, outside your navel, although in some rare cases it may be on the inside.
Hold the ring gently in place with one hand as you unscrew the ball with the other. You may need to test the ball gently to determine which way it unscrews.
Slide the belly-button ring carefully down and out of the piercing. It should come out easily and smoothly. If it doesn't, consult a piercing professional, as your skin may have adhered to the piercing.
Wash the piercing region again to sanitize it. Wash and sanitize the belly-button ring you just removed, too.
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Lisa Maloney is a travel and outdoors writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. She's written four outdoors and travel guidebooks, including the award-winning "Moon Alaska," and regularly contributes to local and national publications. She also has a background in personal training, with more than 6,000 hours of hands-on experience.