We do not use externally threaded jewelry. Externally threaded jewelry has threads carved onto the post of the jewelry, requiring serrated metal to be ran through the piercing channel immediately after piercing, thus tearing the tissue and making jewelry insertion more uncomfortable, not to mention compromising the integrity of the wound, making it more difficult to heal. Externally threaded jewelry is a sign of lower quality manufacturing, and is generally made out of inferior metals that can cause allergic reaction or complications during healing. At Enigma we use only the highest quality, US made jewelry. All jewelry is threaded internally, so the entire surface is smooth, and is hand-polished to a mirror finish. All initial piercing jewelry is made of implant-grade titanium, the same metals used in surgical pins or hip replacements, and has been tested for its biocompatibility.
Autoclave sterilization and spore testing:
At Enigma, all items that come into contact with our clients have been properly sterilized in an autoclave; all needles and jewelry get sterilized in a Statim vacuum autoclave when you come in to get pierced, so you see all of your items physically coming out of the autoclave prior to receiving your piercing (no needles and jewelry sitting around in presterilized packs collecting dust). We spore test our autoclaves monthly, and keep a current record of all spore test results. Spore testing is a method of ensuring that an autoclave is sterilizing properly by sterilizing a sealed pack with live spores inside of it, the sealed, sterilized pack is then sent to a lab, and put in an incubator for several days(an incubator will allow any existing spores or bacteria to multiply) after its duration in the incubator, the strip is tested for sporadical or bacterial growth. If the test comes back negative for any growth, that means he autoclave is working properly. Don't ever be afraid to ask to see a studios spore test log, to ensure they are using properly working equipment...this is your health and safety!
Class 5 integrator strips:
A class 5 integrator is the only way of physically showing, proving, or ensuring that items in an autoclave cycle have been properly sterilized. You may be used to seeing little autoclave pouches with a pink or blue arrow that turns brown after being processed. All those little arrows or dots indicate is that the package was exposed to heat. They do not indicate whether or not the item was exposed to heat for long enough, or that there was any pressure in the chamber to move the hot steam through the packages and items. A class 5 integrator however, will only start to release a bit of ink when the temperature reaches the minimum for sterilization , 270 F, and the black line only reaches the "pass" zone of the strip if it has been exposed to that temperature or above for a long enough duration to sterilize adequately.
Why not use a piercing gun?
Piercing guns are unsafe and inappropriate for ear or other body piercing for several reasons. The design is based off of guns that were traditionally used for tagging livestock, and were not initially intended for human use. The piercing guns that are being used today are made of plastic parts, which would melt if run through an autoclave to sterilize. You'd also be hard pressed to find a piercing gun operator who even knows what an autoclave is. The employees at the stores at malls who use piercing guns on the general public usually have no training concerning cross-contamination, infection control, and dealing with blood and bodily fluids. The only manner of "cleaning" piercing guns get is being wiped down with an alcohol or disinfectant wipe, which will not break down blood or proteins left on the device from handling during and after the piercing.
Piercing guns are also inappropriate for ear piercing due to the fact that they don't use anything sharp and it doesn't pierce the skin; they utilize blunt force to creat an uneven tear in the tissue, resulting in tissue damage, pressure, more swelling, more scar damage, and a longer, problematic healing time, if they heal. It is much safer, and less painful, to be pierced with a single use sterilized beveled needle, laser cut and designed for the piercing of skin. The metal quality of the "studs" that are used is usually never manufactured out of implant grade materials, and are manufactured over seas, where they haven't the metal laws we do to ensure a quality product. This is more apt to causing a reaction in the body while healing, as the body's pH will start to break down the impurities in the metal, causing excessive irritation and/or allergic reaction. One may wonder why piercing guns are still legal to use on people of all ages. In fact , there have been several attempts to pass bills or laws making the use of piercing guns illegal, however, due to the piercing
Gun manufacturing being a multi million dollar industry, the people making money off of these devices just throw money at the right people, then no laws are passed to interfere with their product.
Want more information on safe piercing procedures?
Go to the Association of Professional Piercers website at