Your piercing has probably healed for a while, and you’re busy relishing in the compliments you’re receiving on your great-looking piercing. Until, one day, an unpleasant smell starts to emanate from it. Apart from the fact that you don’t want your navel or any other piercings to emit a smell, you may also start to wonder if there’s a medical problem with your piercing.

The fact is: piercing stench is quite common and can, fortunately, be dealt with through some simple steps.

That being said, here’s a short guide to the piercing stench.

Why Does My Piercing Smell?

When it comes to piercings, most people focus more on piercing aftercare during the healing process and forego aftercare for their healed piercing. This basically showcases that piercings don’t need to be tended to once they’ve healed. The fact is: piercings need to be cleaned and cared for throughout its life.

Our body constantly sheds skin cells. While these cells are often easy to flake off from the surface, dead skin cells tend to accumulate in hard-to-reach areas, resulting in gunk. So, just as you have to clean up gunk that accumulates in certain areas of your body, you must also clean out gunk from your piercing tunnels.

When a piercing heals, a piercing tunnel is created where your dead skin cells may collect with the bacteria and oils in your skin. The accumulation of a certain amount of this amalgam in your piercing tunnel can cause your piercing to start smelling.

Although almost all piercings can smell, some piercings have the tendency to experience a higher buildup because of their location, increasing their tendency to smell. Some piercings have a high tendency to smell, including navel, septum, and stretched lobe piercings.

How to Keep Your Piercing from Smelling

The key to keeping your piercing from smelling is quite simple – maintain a healthy cleaning practice for your healed piercing.

Although healed piercings don’t require regular cleaning, you must clean them well at least on a monthly basis to ensure that your piercing tunnel remains clear. You simply need to fill a cup with sea salt water or a saline solution and soak your piercing for a few minutes to clear up your piercing tunnel. Then, you must clean your jewelry with a cleaning solution to ensure that your piercing is free from any potential dangers.

If you keep both your piercing and its jewelry clean, there’s nothing to worry about.

Is a Smelly Piercing an Indicator of an Infection?

If your piercing has completely healed and is smelling, then you’re probably not experiencing any infection. If you’re displaying no other symptoms except for piercing stench, then your piercing probably only requires proper cleaning. However, if this stench remains despite cleaning or you start noticing other symptoms, such as bleeding, swelling, or fever, seek medical attention.

The Bottom Line

It is completely normal for your piercing to smell. The piercing stench is an indicator that your piercing requires additional care and attention. Remember to simply clean your healed piercing properly every month to avoid any stench.