You work hard to keep in shape, and you’re proud of that flat stomach and trim waistline. What better way to accentuate the sexy curves of your body than with a sparkly belly button ring? It’s certainly a tempting idea, but before you take the plunge, here’s everything you need to know about this fabulous form of body piercing.

What is a belly button piercing?

Belly button piercings, also known as navel piercings or umbilical dip piercings, are among the most popular piercings today, primarily because they are sexy and simple, and there are so many options for jewelry types and styles. These piercings are usually done on the upper rim of the navel, and are best suited for people with “innie” belly buttons. The deeper the navel, the better the piercing, so it’s best to consult a professional to make sure that you are a good candidate for a belly ring.

What kind of jewelry is used?

Initial belly piercings are most commonly made with a curved barbell. Be certain to select only high quality metal for your initial piercing, since lower grade materials can rust when they come into contact with body fluids and cause infection. The recommended material is 316L surgical steel, but implant-grade titanium may also be used.

The standard for navel piercings is 14 gauge, but often a 12 gauge needle will be used to help promote faster healing. The standard length for initial navel piercings is ½”, as this will alleviate some of the swelling and facilitate cleaning and aftercare. Please make sure not to use a barbell that is thinner than 18 gauge, as the risk of infection, tearing and migration increases with smaller gauges.

What is the process for belly button piercing?

While it may look daunting, the navel piercing process is actually rather simple and quick, and while everyone has a different pain threshold, it’s not among the more painful piercing procedures.

The first part of the process is selecting a piercing studio where you feel comfortable, and where you’re certain the employees and facilities meet the most stringent hygiene standards. Chairs should be covered in plastic, gloves should be used, and cleaning liquids should abound. You will lean back into your chair and relax while your piercer exposes your navel. He or she will wash it thoroughly and disinfect it, then mark the exact spot where you will be pierced.

Your piercing professional will then use a surgical needle to puncture the skin and thread the jewelry into place. Once the area is cleaned and dried, you will be ready to go on your way with a beautiful new piercing to show off.

What aftercare is involved?

Because they are found near the waistline, navel piercings can cause discomfort for an extended period of time, sometimes as long as 6 to 12 months. During healing, try not to touch the area often, and when you do, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before touching it. Clean the piercing area twice a day with a gentle soap or other piercings aftercare products and gently pat it dry. Avoid clothing that rubs and tugs at the area, as well as swimming pools and bathtubs, which are often teeming with bacteria.

Some experts recommend using a sea salt soak or H2Ocean rinse twice a day to lessen the discomfort. Just dip some cotton balls in a salt solution and place on the piercing for about 5 minutes. Carefully pat it dry and you’ll help lessen your pain and prevent infection.

Other recommendations to help expedite healing and minimize pain include using a ventilated, hard plastic eye patch to cover the area, and securing it with an elastic band. Whatever method works for you, just keep in mind that this is a sensitive area, not only while the piercing is healing, but all the time.

Your piercing is healed. Now what?

Once your piercing has completely healed, you’re going to want to adorn your belly button with gorgeous, sparkly, dangly jewelry. For those special occasions, beach getaways, and fun times, you will find an endless selection of navel rings. Curved belly rings are the most commonly used jewelry in navel piercings, and are available in a large assortment of styles and colors. The standard size is 7/16”, and you’ll find hundreds of products to fit your needs at freshtrends.com. These options include:

Dangle Rings: Also available in a variety of options, these navel rings usually feature a stunning centerpiece that dangles freely when you wear it. Charms, chains, and gemstones are all possibilities with dangle navel rings, and you’ll find no shortage of options and styles.

Non-Dangle Rings: These rings can vary between basic and stunningly intricate, and come in a variety of designs, colors and styles. Choose a simpler look for everyday wear, or select a glimmering piece for a special occasion.

Reverse Rings: Also known as top-down belly rings, these rings feature a charm or gemstone that dangles from the top of the navel, hanging over the belly button. Aside from their stylish looks, reverse rings offer added flexibility and are available in various colors and designs.

Twister Spirals: These ultra-fashionable navel rings are generally made from a twisted piece of metal that threads through the piercing and is secured into place with a screw-on ball. They’re available in various lengths and finishes.

Captive Bead Rings & Circular Barbells: These simple pieces should not be underestimated. They can be as fun and fashionable as any other piece, and are available in various colors and designs. They are great for everyday wear.

Freshtrends offers an assortment of navel piercing jewelry, ranging in style from very simple and inexpensive to intricate gemstone pieces with higher price points. Pricing starts as low as $1.99, so check out the selection and take advantage of special purchase opportunities and sale pricing that is available from time to time.

Please be aware that for everyday wear, it may be best to select basic jewelry that will not easily snag or catch on your clothing. This means stick to simple, non-dangle curved barbells or captive bead rings made of high quality surgical steel or gold with minimal adornment. Save your elaborate chandeliers and dangles for special occasions. Whatever you do, don’t sleep in them. This preserves your piercing, keeping it from getting irritated, and also keeps your jewelry in good shape.

Whatever you decide to wear to play up a sexy belly button piercing, remember that while the process can be uncomfortable and the healing time long, this piercing is just another opportunity for you to express who you are and to show the world how much you can shine.

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