Piercing, if done correctly, can be beautiful. A glistening piece of jewelry can enhance just about any body part. However, if you are allergic to the jewelry, the reaction can be less-than-beautiful; it can be downright ugly, sore and a little disgusting. There are a few simple ways to tell if you are allergic to your new belly button ring.
Caring for Your New Piercing
Your belly button ring will take six to eight weeks to heal. During this time you should be giving your piercing extra special care. Clean the area with a medicated cleanser and warm water. Remove any debris with a clean cotton swab. Pay close attention to how the entrance point of the jewelry is healing. Air helps with healing so be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing around your belly area. Avoid tight clothing, such as pantyhose or skinny jeans.
Signs of an Allergic Reaction
You may develop an allergic reaction even though you are properly taking care of your piercing. You may be allergic to the piece of jewelry or your piercing may have been done with contaminated tools. You will know you have an allergic reaction when you experience any of the following: an odd smell, an infection that won't go away, persistent bleeding, redness/inflammation of the area and/or skin lesions. The jewelry's entrance point may be raw, ooze pus or have lesions or blisters. Even worse, you may possibly run a fever because of a bacterial infection.
If you are experiencing bleeding, apply direct pressure to the area. If you experience irritation, apply a cold pack. Do not apply the cold pack directly to your belly button, use a shirt or a towel as a barrier. Wash the belly button gently and thoroughly with antibacterial soap. If the symptoms continue and/or become worrisome, remove the jewelry and contact your doctor.
How to Avoid an Allergic Reaction
Should you decide to get another piercing, take steps to avoid future infection. Have the piercing done by a trained and licensed professional in a clean and sterile environment. Confirm that the professional is using a sterile, unused needle. Avoid jewelry that is made out of brass and/or nickel, as these can prompt an allergic reaction. Stick with jewelry that is made of 14 or 18 karat gold, titanium, surgical-grade steel or niobium.