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Tattooists, piercing and electrolysis

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1. Guidance

There are a number of hazards associated with skin piercing activities, including bacterial infection and the transmission of blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B/C and HIV.

Because of this, a person carrying out the practice/business of any of the following activities is required to register with us.

  • Cosmetic piercing (ie piercing of any part of the body, including the ear)
  • Semi-permanent skin-colouring (ie micropigmentation, semi-permanent make-up and temporary tattooing (not henna tattooing))
  • Electrolysis
  • Acupuncture
  • Tattooing

Premises where these activities are carried out also require registration.

Registration will depend on compliance with our byelaws:

Exemptions

Registration is not required when skin piercing is carried out by, or under the supervision of, a person who is registered as a medical practitioner (or, in the case of acupuncture only, a dentist).

Age of consent for piercing and tattooing

There is no statutory age of consent for cosmetic piercing. Cosmetic piercing of a minor is lawful provided that they are sufficiently mature to understand the nature of the request. If piercers are willing to treat minors, the presence of a parent or guardian is strongly recommended during any such procedure.

A statutory minimum age of consent for tattooing (18 years of age) is specified in the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969.