Skin Piercing and Tattoo Registration

If you own or run a business and wish to carry out, tattooing (including semi-permanent skin colouring), ear-piercing, body piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture you will need to be registered with East Herts Council.

It is essential that cosmetic treatments that involve piercing of the skin are carried out in safe and hygienic conditions in order to prevent the spread of infection amongst customers and those employed in the body piercing industry.

The law requires that the following skin piercing activities need to be registered with the local authority:

  • Cosmetic piercing (e.g. ear, nose and navel piercing)
  • Electrolysis
  • Tattooing
  • Semi-permanent skin-colouring (e.g. microblading)
  • Acupuncture
  • Microneedling

These are invasive treatments that may pose a hazard to public health and safety from infection and/or physical injury. They therefore require close control to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place including knowledgeable practitioners, infection control procedures, advice on post treatment care, waste disposal and insurance in case things go wrong.

The Act requires registration to cover both the person carrying on the practice and the premises used for that purpose. There are no powers to refuse registration, but the practice is controlled through compliance with byelaws in each case.

It is illegal to conduct cosmetic piercing, tattooing, acupuncture, semi permanent skin colouring or electrolysis unless the registration has been formally approved.

Please see The East Herts District Council Byelaws for Acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin-colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis. The Byelaws set out the hygiene standards for cleanliness and hygiene of premises, staff and equipment and must be adhered to.


The guidance below includes information on basic requirements for safe, clean premises, legal issues, waste disposal, infection control, aftercare advice and at a glance checklist. Appendices within each document also present examples of how a medical history questionnaire, consent form and aftercare advice sheet might be prepared for each of the three treatment areas.

If you have questions about registering or about an existing registration, please get in contact with our Environmental Health team using our contact form.

Fines and penalties

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you run a skin piercing premises without being registered.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. This means that you will not be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from East Herts Council by the end of the target completion period.

Consumer Complaints

Depending on the nature of the complaint, we would always advise that in the first instance contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked and you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Apply Online

To apply for either personal or premises registration you need to complete our online application form. We aim to process your application within 42 calendar days.

In addition, you can also use this form to tell us about changes in your premise or personal licence or to tell us that you no longer practise. 

Please note you will need to pay the appropriate fee. See our Environmental Health Fees & Charges page for payment details. Please contact us if you no longer need to be registered.