Belly Button Piercing Keloids: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Belly button piercings are a popular form of body modification that has been around for centuries. However, some people who get a belly button piercing may experience a keloid, which is a raised, reddish bump that forms around the piercing. It’s important to understand what belly button piercing keloids are, what causes them, and how to treat them. This article will provide an overview of belly button piercing keloids and offer tips and advice on how to prevent and manage them.

What is a Belly Button Piercing Keloid?

A keloid is a raised, thick bump that grows on the skin as a result of trauma, such as a cut, burst pimple, or piercing. The formation of keloids begins during the healing phase of a piercing, where scar tissue is produced to aid in the healing process. However, in some cases, the body may produce an excessive amount of scar tissue, resulting in the formation of a keloid. The presence of a keloid may not be immediate and can take months to develop.

A belly button piercing keloid is a specific type of keloid that forms around the site of a belly button piercing. This overproduction of collagen during the healing process can extend beyond the original wound and develop into a keloid. These keloids are characterized by their raised, thick, and sometimes painful appearance and can range in size. They may continue to grow for an extended period of time, causing discomfort or affecting an individual’s appearance.

Belly Button Piercing Keloid Key Points
Appearance Raised, thick, and sometimes painful scar due to excess collagen production during healing
Causes Genetics, infection, improper technique, allergic reaction, poor aftercare
Symptoms Raised, thickened skin that is red, pink, or brown, and may continue to grow
Treatment Silicone gel sheets, corticosteroid injections, cryotherapy, surgical removal, laser therapy
Prevention Choose reputable piercer, hypoallergenic jewelry, follow aftercare instructions, monitor for infection
Aftercare Keep piercing clean and dry, avoid tight clothing, cover piercing if possible, use recommended aftercare solution
Minimizing Risk Choose reputable piercer, hypoallergenic jewelry, follow aftercare instructions, monitor for infection

Causes of Belly Button Piercing Keloids

The formation of a keloid is due to a combination of initial trauma to the skin and an overproduction of scar tissue during the healing process. The result is a thick, raised lump that extends beyond the site of the initial wound. Several factors can increase the likelihood of keloids around a belly button piercing:

  1. Genetics: A genetic predisposition to developing keloids may make some individuals more susceptible to this type of scarring. Those with a family history of keloids or certain ethnicities with a higher incidence of keloids are at an increased risk.
  2. Infection: An infection that occurs during the healing process can cause inflammation, which may lead to the formation of a keloid. Keeping the piercing clean and free from bacteria is crucial in preventing infections and subsequent keloid formation.
  3. Improper Piercing Technique: If a piercing is performed incorrectly, with unsterilized equipment, or by an inexperienced piercer, it can increase the risk of developing a keloid. To minimize this risk, always choose a reputable and experienced piercer who adheres to proper sterilization and piercing techniques.
  4. Allergic Reaction: An allergic reaction to the jewelry material or aftercare products can contribute to keloid formation. Opting for hypoallergenic jewelry made from materials like surgical steel or titanium and using gentle, fragrance-free aftercare products can help prevent such reactions.
  5. Trauma or injury: The likelihood of keloid formation around a belly button piercing can increase due to injury or trauma to the pierced area, especially during physical activity or while sleeping. Navel piercings are located in an area that is frequently exposed to clothing and friction, making them more vulnerable to trauma or injury. Even a small bump or scratch in the piercing can lead to the formation of a keloid.
  6. Poor Aftercare: Failing to follow proper aftercare procedures can result in complications like keloids. Ensure that you adhere to the aftercare instructions provided by your piercer to keep the piercing clean and promote healthy healing.

Symptoms of a Belly Button Piercing Keloid

A keloid around a belly button piercing may present the following symptoms:

  • A raised, thickened area of skin around the piercing site
  • Red, pink, or brown discoloration of the keloid
  • Itchiness, tenderness, or pain when touched
  • Continued growth beyond the original size of the piercing hole

How to differentiate keloids, piercing bumps and infections?

Condition Definition Causes Characteristics Treatment
Keloids Raised, thick growths of scar tissue Overproduction of scar tissue during healing process Can continue to grow, firm to the touch, raised, discoloration Surgical removal, corticosteroid injections, silicone sheets, pressure therapy
Piercing Bumps Raised, red bumps Normal part of healing process, irritation or trauma Do not continue to grow, red, raised, tender or itchy Time, warm compresses, sea salt soaks, topical treatments
Infections Inflammation or infection of piercing site Bacterial or fungal infections, poor hygiene, contaminated jewelry Redness, swelling, pain, discharge, warmth to touch, possible fever Antibiotics, topical treatments, proper aftercare and hygiene

How to Get Rid of a Belly Button Piercing Keloid?

If you have a belly button piercing keloid, various treatment options can help reduce its appearance and alleviate symptoms:

  • Silicone Gel Sheets: Applying silicone gel sheets consistently to the keloid can help flatten and reduce its size over several months.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: A healthcare professional can administer corticosteroid injections directly into the keloid, helping to shrink it and relieve discomfort.
  • Cryotherapy: During this procedure, a healthcare professional applies liquid nitrogen to freeze the keloid, which can help reduce its size and alleviate symptoms. Multiple sessions may be required for optimal results.
  • Surgical Removal: A healthcare professional can surgically remove the keloid, but it’s important to note that this may result in a new keloid forming. Combining surgical removal with other treatments, such as corticosteroid injections or silicone gel sheets, may help reduce the risk of recurrence.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser treatments can help flatten and fade keloids, improving their overall appearance. Multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve desired results.
  • Pressure Therapy: Wearing a pressure garment or applying pressure to the keloid consistently can help reduce its size and thickness over time. This therapy may take several months to show significant improvement.

Aftercare Tips for Belly Button Piercings

Appropriate aftercare can effectively reduce the likelihood of keloid scar formation. Due to the extended healing period required for belly button piercings and the increased risk of infection in the area, maintaining aftercare treatments for several months may be necessary.

  1. Keep the piercing clean and dry: Cleanliness is crucial for preventing infection and subsequent keloid formation. Ensure that your belly button is clean and dry after the piercing is in place.
  2. Avoid tight clothing: Tight clothes can rub against the piercing, causing irritation and trapping bacteria. Wear loose, breathable clothing to avoid putting pressure on the piercing area.
  3. Cover the piercing when possible: Ideally, you should cover the piercing with a compression bandage. However, this can be challenging on an area like the belly button. Instead, opt for a self-drying silicone gel that can keep the area clean and prevent further irritation.
  4. Use an aftercare solution: To keep the piercing site completely clean, use an aftercare solution recommended by your piercer. Wash the area daily, ensuring it’s thoroughly dry before dressing.

Preventing Belly Button Piercing Keloids

Preventing keloids is crucial, as they are difficult to remove once formed. To reduce the risk of developing a keloid around your belly button piercing, proper aftercare is essential.

  • Choose a reputable, experienced piercer who uses sterile equipment and follows proper techniques.
  • Opt for hypoallergenic jewelry made from materials like surgical steel or titanium.
  • Follow your piercer’s aftercare instructions diligently, including cleaning the piercing site regularly and avoiding unnecessary touching.
  • Monitor your piercing for any signs of infection or complications.


Can You Get a Keloid on Your Belly Button Piercing?

Yes, you can develop a keloid scar on your belly button piercing. The formation of a keloid is a possible complication that can occur during the healing process of your piercing.

Is a belly button piercing keloid dangerous?

While a keloid is not typically dangerous, it can be uncomfortable, painful, or aesthetically displeasing. In some cases, a keloid may restrict movement if it’s particularly large.

How long does it take for a keloid to form after a belly button piercing?

A keloid can begin to form within weeks or months after a piercing, but it may continue to grow for several years.

Can I still get a belly button piercing if I’m prone to keloids?

If you have a history of keloids or a family history of keloid formation, it’s essential to discuss this with a professional piercer or dermatologist before getting a belly button piercing. They can help you weigh the risks and decide if a piercing is a good option for you.

Will a keloid go away on its own?

Keloids may sometimes reduce in size over time, but they generally do not go away on their own. Treatment options like silicone gel sheets, corticosteroid injections, or laser therapy can help reduce the keloid’s size and appearance.

Can I re-pierce my belly button after a keloid has been treated?

It’s important to discuss this with your healthcare professional, as re-piercing the area may increase the risk of another keloid forming. They can help determine if it’s safe to re-pierce and provide guidance on minimizing the risk of complications.

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