Skin piercing and tattooing

Advice for businesses and the public. Looking to register your business?

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VII, registration is required for any person and their premises used for carrying out the practice of skin piercing (acupuncture, electrolysis, ear piercing and tattooing) and must follow and comply with local bye-laws to ensure that the procedures, equipment and facilities used are safe, hygienic, prevent the spread of disease and comply fully with the general duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It is illegal to conduct tattooing, acupuncture, ear piercing or electrolysis unless the registration has been formally approved. The Tattooing of Minors Act 1969, makes it an offence to permanently tattoo persons under the age of 18. No such statutory restrictions apply to cosmetic piercing or skin colouring.

Advice for the public

There are health risks to persons having this activity undertaken particularly if control measures at studios are inadequate. Poor cleanliness of premises, lack of proper consent procedures or inadequate cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of equipment can lead to cases of infection or other health problems.

Advice to businesses

We register all businesses and operators undertaking tattooing, ear piercing etc, semi-permanent skin-colouring, electrolysis and acupuncture. Find out how to register.

Following registration an inspection will be carried out to ensure you are adhering to the Bye Laws and other relevant Health and Safety requirements.