Several things can cause a belly button itch, from allergic reactions to insect bites. While some causes may clear up on their own, others require professional treatment.
Causes of itchy belly button
Typically, an itchy belly button results from either a rash around your navel or an infection in your navel. Some of the specific causes of an itchy belly button include:
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a condition that can make the skin in and around your navel itchy and red.
Treatment: There is no cure for eczema. Wash with gentle soap, and then rinse and dry your belly button thoroughly. If you have an “outie” belly button, moisturize it twice a day. Don’t moisturize an “innie” belly button — keep it dry.
When your skin comes in contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction (allergen) or an irritant, the reaction is called contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis usually itches and appears as a red rash that sometimes blisters.
Treatment: Avoid the allergen or irritant. Use a topical over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch cream with a minimum of 1 percent hydrocortisone, or take an OTC oral antihistamine such as:
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Find out more about contact dermatitis treatments.
Candida is a type of yeast that commonly grows in damp, dark areas of your body. It can cause a yeast infection known as candidiasis. Along with a white discharge, candidiasis can cover your navel with an itchy, red rash.
Treatment: Use an antifungal cream such as miconazole nitrate (Micatin, Monistat-Derm) or clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex), and keep your navel clean and dry.
Lint, sweat, and dead skin can collect in your navel and lead to bacterial growth and infection. Sometimes an infection in your belly button can result in a brownish or yellowish discharge.
Treatment: Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics such as penicillin or cephalosporin (Keflex). Keep your belly button clean and dry.
Infected navel piercing
Just like any piercing, a belly button piercing can become infected.
Treatment: Leave the piercing in and keep the area clean and dry. Use topical antibiotics such as Neosporin or Duospore. Your doctor might also prescribe oral antibiotics.
Mosquitos, spiders, bed bugs, and fleas all have bites that look like tiny, red bumps.
Treatment: Use an OTC topical anti-itch cream containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone, or take an OTC oral antihistamine such as:
- brompheniramine (Dimetane)
- fexofenadine (Allegra)
- loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)
Although these remedies haven’t been backed by clinical studies, advocates of natural healing have a number of suggestions for dealing with an itchy belly button:
- Apply a paste of turmeric powder and water directly to the itchy area. Once the paste has completely dried, thoroughly clean it off.
- Apply a mixture of tea tree oil diluted in coconut oil to the itchy area several times each day.
- Dip a cotton ball in lukewarm calendula tea, and then press it against your navel for 12 minutes.
Remembering to gently wash, rinse, and thoroughly dry your belly button a few times a week will help you avoid unwanted itching.