Navel Piercing Rejection

What You Can, and Can’t, Do To Prevent Navel Piercing Rejection

We received this question about navel piercing rejection on our tumblr page:

Anonymous asked: How do I look after my belly piercing? My navel piercing is only 4 days old and obviously the pain is still there but I’m worried about rejection? How can I prevent this and how and when should I clean it?

If you have questions about how to care for your piercing, we would usually suggest contacting your piercer. They should have given you verbal and written instructions on how to take care of your piercing as well as what steps to take to reduce the chances of navel piercing rejection.

Without getting into too much detail, we usually suggest using a sterile, wound-wash-type saline to clean the piercing area a couple of times a day. The saline isn’t a magical healing solution, but it can help remove dirt and debris from the area without causing any additional irritation.

As for navel piercing rejection, there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it happening, and we will get into those in a bit. However, there are some things that you don’t have much, if any, control over:

1) The shape of your navel needs to be right for the piercing. In order to reduce the chances of navel piercing rejection, you need to have proper anatomy to support the piercing. This is something that your piercer determines. If they did the piercing on you, presumably they thought your navel was a good shape for the piercing.

2) Proper placement and execution of the piercing are critical to reduce the chances of navel piercing rejection. Again, these things are all up to your piercer. If you chose an experienced, skilled piercer, you shouldn’t need to worry about these.

3) The use of high-quality jewelry is a really important factor in reducing navel piercing rejection. No matter how well-suited your navel may be for the piercing, if low-quality garbage jewelry is used in the piercing, your body may find it so difficult to heal the piercing that it instead tries to reject it. Ideally, all piercers/studios would be using high-quality, implant-grade jewelry. However, there are still many studios that choose low-quality jewelry because it gives them a higher profit-margin.

4) The jewelry needs to be of the appropriate style and size to fit your body, otherwise there is an increased chance of navel piercing rejection. Piercing jewelry is not “one-size-fits”. Just like shirts, pants and shoes need to all fit your body appropriately to feel good, look good and not cause you problems…the same is true with body jewelry. In fact, it’s even more important with body jewelry. Jewelry that is either too big or too small can cause serious healing problems and can greatly increase the chance of rejection.

navel piercing rejection how to prevent it

A perfectly executed navel piercing with jewelry that is sized appropriately and fits the piecing and the body like it should

5) This is the one no one likes to hear: Sometimes there is nothing you can to do prevent navel piercing rejection (or rejection of any piercing). Even if everything is perfect, sometimes it just happens. A piercing is a foreign object. Your body’s natural reaction is to get rid of foreign objects. When you successfully heal a piercing, you are tricking your body into accepting something that isn’t supposed to be there. Some people’s bodies are VERY GOOD at getting rid of foreign objects. In those cases, the piercing can be perfect, the jewelry can be the best in the world, the aftercare can be ideal…and the piercing might still reject. It doesn’t happen that way very often, but it is possible.

As for the things you do have some control over to help prevent navel piercing rejection:

A) Keep your hands off of it to prevent navel piercing rejection. The more you touch it, move it and mess with it, the more irritated it will be and your body will have a harder time healing. In addition, each time you touch it, you are put germs on it, even if you have just washed your hands.

B) Proper aftercare plays a big role in preventing navel piercing rejection. If you use something too harsh on the piercing and/or clean it too frequently, you will interfere with your body’s natural healing processes. If this irritation happens for too long, your body may reject your piercing. You should NOT be moving your jewelry around as part of the aftercare process.

C) If you know, or suspect, you were pierced with low-quality jewelry, or jewelry that doesn’t fit appropriately, talk to a different piercer about changing your jewelry. While it’s usually best not to change jewelry too soon after having the piercing done, if the jewelry you are wearing is causing a problem, it’s better to change it sooner than later. We suggest having a piercer change your jewelry if your piercing is still new.

D) Be careful with the piercing. The more movement, friction and irritation that the piercing gets, the longer your piercing will take to heal, and the higher the chance of navel piercing rejection.

E) Get plenty of sleep and eat well. This one is overlooked by clients and piercers alike. Your body has to heal the piercing. So, if you aren’t eating well and getting plenty of rest, your body can’t do it’s job nearly as well. Getting enough sleep and having a healthy diet play a much larger role in healing piercings (or any kind of wound) than most people ever think about.

F) Relax. Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether your piercing is going to reject. If everything was done properly and you take care of your piercing properly, rejection is going to be pretty uncommon. Stressing about it just raises your body’s immune response, which is likely going to slow down your healing.

Well, this turned out to be longer than we planned. Hopefully it’s at least a little bit helpful. Enjoy your new piercing and we hope you have a fast and easy healing experience!

Navel Piercing Healing Problems–The Wrong Jewelry

I got my belly button pierced a few years ago and it rejected. the scar is healed and everything and my bestie and I want to get them done. I don’t think the people before did it right because they put in a bull ring and when I went to get a new ring from another place the look on there face was shocked when they saw the ring because my piercing was so red. I’m scared that it will either reject again or they won’t be able to do it again. How do I know if the scar tissue is bad or not?

Questions about navel piercing healing problems are far too common. There is no way for us to cover all aspects of this topic. However, we wanted to share our answer to this question with a wider audience. We hope that educating more people will prevent others from having similar experiences.

Circular barbells lead to a lot of navel piercing healing problems

The piercer chose the wrong style of jewelry for a fresh navel piercing.  Circular barbells (a.k.a., bull rings or horseshoe barbells) are one of the worst choices for jewelry in a fresh navel piercing. They are pretty much a guarantee that you will experience navel piercing healing problems.

This style of jewelry sticks away from the body quite a bit. That means the jewelry will move around a lot more during the most basic daily activities, not to mention exercise or other rigorous activities. In addition, it will get rubbed/pressed on by clothing and is more likely to get snagged. All of those things will result in a lot of irritation to the piercing. The more irritation, the harder it is for your body to heal the piercing.

circular barbells often cause navel piercing healing problems

Circular barbells are not good to use in a new navel piercing

This style of jewelry is also open in the middle. This allows more things to slip between the beads and catch on the inside of the jewelry, causing additional irritation that will make the piercing ake longer to heal and be more likely to reject.

Curved barbells are the best style of jewelry to prevent navel piercing healing problems.

The best style of jewelry to be used in a navel piecing is a curved barbell. This type of jewelry sits much more flush with the body. It is less likely to get caught/snagged on things and it moves around a lot less.

We all know from experience that any wound you get (say, a scratch on your arm), heals easier, faster and with fewer complications if you leave it alone. In other words, the less irritation that happens, the faster it heals. The same thing is true for any healing piercing, The less irritation and movement that happens, the easier it is for your body to heal.

Can I get my navel pierced again?

It’s usually not a problem to re-pierce a navel piercing that has rejected or that was removed for some other reason. The amount of scar tissue is a consideration. You will have to rely on the experience of a piercer you trust to decide whether re-piecing is a good option for you.

As for it rejecting again, that is always a possibility. However, in this situation, the choice of  jewelry probably played a very big role in why it rejected. A properly-placed, properly-fitted piece of high-quality jewelry will go a long way to reducing the likelihood of rejection.

If you are looking for a piercer in your area, a good place to start is the web site for the Association of Professional Piercers. The APP doesn’t endorse the piercing abilities of any piercer, but membership does indicate that the piercer is following at least a minimum set of health and safety standards.



Gold Navel Jewelry from Body Vision Los Angeles

gold curved barbells for navel piercings

gold curved barbells for navel piercings

A new batch of white, yellow and rose gold navel curved barbells from Body Vision Los Angeles has arrived!!!


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Princess cut gem and white opals: clean and classic. Piercing and photo by Courtney at Saint Sabrina’s Jewelry by the incomparable ANATOMETAL. 


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A cool variation on a traditional navel piercing.  Piercing by Courtney at Saint Sabrina’s.Jewelry by Anatometal.