Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, board-certified infectious disease physician and senior scholar at John Hopkins University, stresses that “any time something breaches the skin—a key component of the immune system—there will be a risk of infection. Meticulous hygiene is important to diminish this risk in the early days after a piercing.” Any type of pollutant, whether it’s from your sweat, unclean water, or dirty fingers, can easily be the culprit. You must wash your piercing twice daily with a salt solution and clean cotton swab to prevent bacterial growth and infection.
Many people, however, mistake signs of healing for an infection. You may experience persistent redness around the belly button and soreness that is simply a symptom of healing. Below we will discuss the signs of an infected belly-button piercing versus a healing one.
According to Dr. Ryan Neinstein, Plastic Surgeon MD, FRCSC, “In general, your piercing should heal by the 3-6 month mark, however, each person varies in the pace at which they heal. In some cases, a person may experience discomfort for up to one year. The key is to distinguish between discomfort and an actual infection.” In other words, a navel piercing may look healed after three to six weeks, but it can take six months to a year to fully heal, no matter how good it looks on the outside.
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