Belly button piercings were the accessory du jour of the 1990s and were once one of the most popular female piercings on the market.
From Britney to Xtina by way of Lindsay Lohan, everyone who was anyone had a belly ring and they weren’t afraid to flaunt them at every possible moment.
But as the say, fashions fade, and as the preference for (terrifyingly) low rise jeans thankfully dissipated in favour of their flattering high waist counterparts, so too did the penchant for belly button piercing.
New Idea takes a trip down memory lane to remember the good, bad and downright ugly from the glory days of belly piercing.
How is the piercing performed?
A traditional belly button ring is inserted in the top half of the navel.
The body-mod artist creates a star or square shape by piercing both upper and lower lips of the belly button as well as two more surface piercings on either side of the navel.
How much does it cost?
In Australia, navel piercings vary in price but generally start from $39.95 AUD.
What is the healing process like and how long does it take?
While other types of piercings heal relatively swiftly, belly button piercings take anywhere between six months and one year to fully heal.
Belly piercings should be checked daily for signs of infection and irritation including redness, swelling and leaking.
It is normal for your piercing to show some discharge around the site immediately after modification, but this should not continue for more than a week.
Reduce the risk of infection by touching the ring as little as possible (aside from careful cleaning) and washing both piercing and jewellery with a gentle soap twice daily.
Pat dry with a thick paper towel.
Is belly piercing painful?
While all body modifications cause a small amount of pain, navel piercing is pretty low on the scale of ouch to morphine.
However, catching belly button jewellery on your clothes is another matter!
What are the health risks of belly button piercing?
A bacterial infection at the site of the navel piercing is the most common risk.
According to study from Northwestern Medicine published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, roughly 20 percent of all body piercings become infected.
Other risks associated with belly piercing include allergic reactions to the body jewellery used, scarring, loss of blood (although this is rare) and rejection of the piercing itself which causes the hole to close up.
Can anybody get a navel piercing?
The simple answer is no.
Belly button piercing is not for everyone, as it calls for the correct “navel anatomy”. This means the top flap of the navel must provide enough room for the ring or jewellery to hang without pressure.
If you have a belly button that closes when you sit down, piercing is most likely not possible.
‘Outie’ belly buttons - more properly known as herniated umbilicus - are dangerous to pierce because if infection sets in during the healing process, it can travel through the blood vessels to the intestines and other organs.
For those who don’t have sufficient room on the top flap, a bottom belly piercing may be an option.
Consult with a professional body modification artist to see what’s suitable for you!
If worst comes to worst and you don’t qualify for any form of belly button piercing, you can always invest in a fake clip-on ring like these ones from Ebay.
Are there any other types of piercing?
For the brave and uber cool, a double belly button piercing is a step up from the generic navel piercing.
This is best suited to those in peak physical condition as it draws major attention to the lower abs area.
The process is similar to a standard belly button piercing but the piercing will pass through the skin twice instead of once, leaving you with a more dramatically adorned belly.
What happens to belly button piercings during pregnancy?
As long as your piercing is healed and healthy, there is no medical reason to remove you navel jewellery during pregnancy.
A belly piercing does not allow pathogens to travel to the foetus, as some outlets falsely report.
However, in late term pregnancies a belly ring can cause irritation and discomfort especially when the navel ‘pops’ at the end of the third trimester.
If you prefer to remove belly hardware entirely, What To Expect recommend running the ring through your piercing every few days to prevent the hole from closing.
Some women replace the hard metal ring with a flexible belly bar made of Teflon.