How can so many ignore belly piercing migration and embrace the very things that cause it?

We have normalized the look of migration. Look around you, how many navel piercings do you see that are barely hanging on. YES, that belly ring that is mostly exposed hanging only by a piece of skin. This this a unique perspective on migration and the drivers of it.




Did you know navel piercing migration can happen at any time. And often we don’t even know we’re looking at it. So, here’s a question - how have we come to normalize the look of migration and embrace the very things that cause it?


If you were not aware, there’s no rulebook to how your body reacts to navel jewelry. Think of the navel jewelry as a foreign object your body wants to remove – meaning it wants to push it to the surface and while it often gives up – you should know that every time you remind your body of the jewelry it goes back to healing mode. This is why migration happens slowly and most times you don’t even know it’s happening.


I am going to approach this topic through a completely different lens – my aim is to get to the very essence of what is driving migration – no matter where you are in your piercing journey – follow along and don’t stop there, join in, and share your experience. Let’s start with the obvious - the primary causes of navel piercing Migration are Material Quality and Improper Care


Everything else we will touch on is related:


• Piercing Trauma

• Heavy Jewelry

• Wrong size Jewelry

• or Frequently Changing


And if your piercing is fully healed or at least you believe it is, you might be wondering what does frequently changing your belly ring has to do with proper care?


Let’s pause and carefully analyze. The answer is not so obvious.


It isn’t about changing the jewelry but rather what got you to do it in the first place. You get pierced because you’re drawn to a look and the idea of exploring with different looks is really what makes it exciting. And this is how it all starts. You’re inundated with offers of inexpensive jewelry, you’re told you should build collections of it, many do it before their piercing is fully healed and so the race to put the collection on display is on.


Did you know – there isn’t something more damaging you can do than changing your jewelry too soon after you get pierced, let alone frequently changing it. And even later in your journey, you are scraping away at that channel every time you change. Your body has a simple reaction to this - remind it of that foreign object – and back into healing mode it goes.


But there’s are much bigger issues here. Starting with the very designs and styles that defy all common sense for navel piercing care. They are bulky, heavy, and often made using poor quality or contaminated materials and wait for it – they do not fit your piercing right. People, if collections are about the look shouldn’t the jewelry fit you right? You would think the look and fit are not a one or the other kind of thing – it looks right, because it fits you right.


That means the jewelry is not too long and definitely not too tight. In fact, the bar length should only be about 1-2mm longer than the length of your piercing. In other words, the bar should be mostly concealed within your piercing – Why is this important? Because if it sticks out it easily snags and pulls onto things and causes TRAUMA to your piercing. Think about the pressure tight clothing like a pair of jeans puts on your piercing – you might not realize but when the bar is longer your clothing pushes into it more and causes your piercing to get irritated and that’s how migration starts.


You want your jewelry to fit you right and be comfortable to wear – the weight of the jewelry is also critical. Heavy jewelry keeps constant pressure on your piercing. And by the way most inexpensive jewelry is heavy and bulky mainly because the materials they are made of are difficult to work with. It is difficult to create refined pieces of jewelry as you would from solid gold. Solid gold is a soft material and can be easily sculpted into exquisite pieces. When done right the overall design is thinner and just feels better when you wear it. If you didn’t know, your body also responds better to solid gold. Ask a reputable piercer and see what they say.


And here’s something I really want you to think about. It just seems that the lower in price you go the funkier the shapes and styles. It’s by design, they sell you cool because it’s meant to sell in volume and let me assure you the cooler and funkier the design, the worst it is for your piercing. I won’t show you pictures but let me give you a few examples – think of that reversed belly ring that sticks out a lot - it pushes into your piercing every time you lean against something or that funky shape like a sword that sticks out or butterflies or some other shape that pushes into your piercing need I mention the dangly belly ring that’s wider than your navel and weights a tone. You know exactly what I am referring to – you just feel the weight of the belly ring and there is nothing more damaging than you can do your piercing - any kind of pressure means TRAUMA.


Look around how many piercings you see that are barely hanging on. I’ll put a number to it so you understand how serious this is. Roughly 1 in 2 navel piercings experience some issues whether related to the piercing itself or aftercare – and now you know that aftercare isn’t just how much saline you use.


Do some detective work and see what most have in common?


And speaking of that there is one thing they all have in common besides weight and style. At the very top of the list is material quality. Metal allergies often develop over time with exposure to known allergens like nickel. Material degradation and contamination contribute to this.


So, you may think you got the right jewelry, because the label said so or you didn’t have any issues with it - but prolonged exposure to allergens, and materials which degrade – well YOU either react to it quickly or slowly over time. Walk into a piercing shop and say you have sensitive skin and see what happens – will they still recommend that surgical steel piece of jewelry you have come to love?


And while you can quickly suggest that inexpensive means poor quality that is not always true. But what you should know is that the way the jewelry gets handled (the tools and processes) and inconsistencies in materials blind sight even those manufacturers that mean well and care about what they deliver. And here’s something – are you ready - irrespective of how much they care you should know that ultimately the focus is on volume, how else would they make a profit selling inexpensive jewelry? But this can also be true for more expensive precious metals such as silver or gold.


Here’s a red flag - do not wear silver with a fresh piercing and monitor it closely even when your piercing is fully healed. Solid gold is no different – it often contains nickel, especially white gold. A manufacturer’s commitment to quality needs to be apparent in their presentation. And don’t be fooled by a low price as manufacturers will always find ways to give you the deal you’re looking for and it rarely comes out of their bottom line – so you might think you’re getting a deal but think again.


Low price means the focus of the manufacturer is on volume – read the reviews.


XOXO ‘til next time Alyssa Jolie