Woman with navel piercing
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Circular barbells are perfect accents for ear, lip, bellybutton and brow piercings since they’re so easy to customize. Depending upon the model of your jewelry, one or both of the balls can be removed and replaced with bejeweled, beaded, novelty or spiked trinkets to complement your outfit or mood. This is advantageous for new piercings that haven’t yet healed, since you don’t have to completely remove the barbell to totally change your look.

Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water before handling the circular barbell and your piercing if it hasn’t fully healed yet. This will go a long way toward keeping infectious bacteria away from the wound. Saturate a cotton swab or piece of sterile gauze with a packaged sterile saline solution. Gently clean any crusty dried material from the wound and the jewelry. Allow the area to air dry. Don’t use products containing alcohol, which is harsh enough to seriously injure tender tissues that are healing.

Grasp the ball that unscrews from the circular barbell with the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand. Grasp the other ball with the thumb and forefinger of your nondominant hand. One or both balls of circular barbells are removable, depending upon your jewelry’s type.

Twist the removable ball in your dominant hand counter-clockwise to unscrew it. Hold the other ball firmly in place with your other hand. Keep turning the removable ball until it separates from the barbell completely.

Wash your hands again and clean your piercing site with antibacterial soap or sterile saline solution. Repeat the cleaning at least two to three times daily while your wound is healing to help prevent infection of the site. Clean the piercing at least once every day in the shower thereafter. Human body parts differ in healing times following piercing. Ear lobes heal in as little as four to six weeks, while a navel requires anywhere from nine months to a year. Ear cartilage and nipple piercings take from three to six months, nostrils heal in two to four months, and lips need two to three months for proper healing. Female genitalia require four to 10 weeks, while male genitalia need four to eight weeks to recover.

Slide the circular barbell gently through the piercing once or twice. Don’t completely remove the jewelry from the wound until complete healing occurs. Leaving the barbell in place will keep the site open and allow normal discharging fluids to drain and escape.

Pat the area dry with a clean paper towel or napkin. Don’t use a bath towel, which may introduce bacteria to the piercing site.

Rinse oral wound sites with alcohol-free antibacterial mouth rinse or sterile saline solution for about 60 seconds at least 12 to 15 times daily for six to eight weeks following piercing. Make special efforts to cleanse the area thoroughly after you eat and before you go to bed at night. Although tongue piercings typically heal in about four to six weeks, the human mouth is a pretty unsanitary environment.


If the barbell ball seems difficult to grasp or twist off, try wearing disposable gloves to give you a better grip.

Soreness, discoloration, bruising and swelling typically accompany new piercings and are normal conditions. Healing has occurred when the piercing isn’t swollen, red, bruised, sore or irritated anymore and the barbell slips easily through the site without causing any discomfort.


Contact your medical professional at the first hint of the presence of an infection at the piercing site. Symptoms include tenderness, swelling, heat and increase in redness. Get medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms at nasal piercings, which can spread to the brain.

Don’t use Hibiclens -- an over-the-counter antiseptic cleanser -- for cleaning any skin piercings above your shoulders. This product can cause blindness or deafness.