"I'm an A student," explains Ilysa. "I'm on the soccer team and do volunteer work at the hospital. I don't drink or do drugs. But the minute I told my parents I wanted to get a belly piercing, you'd have thought I was some cheesy girl without ambition. As if that teeny belly piercing would change my soul and personality." "I don't know how long 'til it gets old," adds Rosie, "but I definitely want one. To me, it's the tamest way I can express myself, and let the world know I'm a bit alternative. My friends say a belly piercing hurts about as much as getting an injection. Sometimes it's still sensitive a week after you get it done, and it stays tender for the longest time but I don't care, it's worth it." "My grandma asked who did that to you?" laughs Amy. "You would think after allowing my mother to go braless in the '60s she would cut me some slack. But she sees only that some monster punched out a hole near my navel and she hates it." You think it's a fashion statement. Your mom thinks it's a moral issue. Your friends at school are all getting those sexy Britney Spears potholes —belly button rings —and you can't believe how your parents are carrying on. Like a belly piercing is some kind of rebellious teen-shock thing against them. Yet whether they approve it or not, the practice has become widely acceptable if not respectable. Even a Miss America contestant showed off her belly button ring at this year's pageant. No matter how you feel about a belly piercing, we believe your opinion should be an informed one. First off, remember this is a medical procedure. In general, teens between 15 and 18 need a parent or guardian's permission. What you are actually piercing is the navel, the portion of skin that lies just above or below the belly button. Navel piercing can take 12 months to heal and might be uncomfortable for much of that time since they are prone to infection and easily irritated by waistbands. If you are considering this procedure, please remember: Belly Piercing is done with needles. Check to see that they are sterile and prepackaged. Piercing guns or other machines can't be sterilized and can transmit disease. Make sure the piercer wears latex gloves. Use only new jewelry made of non-allergenic metal, such as stainless steel, 14K gold, niobium, titanium, or platinum. If you have diabetes, hemophilia, or are prone to raised scars called keloid scars, you should NOT get a belly piercing. Afterward, wash with an antibacterial soap twice a day. Don't touch the ring unnecessarily, just turn it three or four times a day. Wear loose-fitting clothes that don't rub against the belly piercing. If it looks red or swollen, you might have an infection and need an antibiotic. Check with your doctor. If you decide that the look is not for you, know that once the jewelry is removed, the belly piercing will close. Do not have this or any other medical procedure done in an environment where you are not 100% comfortable, and it is not 100% clean. Thinking about a belly piercing? Read helpful information on BeingGirl before you decide.