Skin Piercing and Tattoo Registration
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 (eg ear, nose and navel piercing)
- Semi-permanent skin-colouring (e.g. henna tattoos)
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.
- Tattoo and Body Piercing Guidance: Toolkit (see bottom of page)
- COSHH essentials for service and retail - Electrolysis, piercing, tattooing and micro-pigmentation
- Health and Safety Executive - Blood borne viruses in the workplace
- Risk assessment - a brief guide to controlling risks in the workplace - HSE
- NHS Direct - Body Piercing
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.
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.
To apply for either personal or premises registration you need to complete our online application form below. We aim to process your application within 42 calendar days.
Please note you will need to pay the appropriate fee. See our Environmental Health Fees & Charges page for payment details.