Skin piercing (tattooing, electrolysis, acupuncture and ear piercing)
To run most skin piercing or tattooing businesses, including acupuncture, ear piercing and electrolysis (whether from premises or mobile), a licence must be obtained from your local authority. You may be exempt if you are a regulated health care professional.
These controls are important, as skin piercings can lead to infection, scarring and to a range of diseases such as Hepatitis.
The Council inspects all premises where piercing is proposed to be carried out, and anyone carrying out piercing must comply with strict byelaws that the Council has adopted. These byelaws are in place to secure the hygiene of the premises and the person carrying out the piercing.
Advice for anyone wanting a skin piercing or tattoo
If you are thinking of having a body piercing or tattoo carried out we suggest you follow the advice below:
- Always visit the premises prior to having a piercing
- Ask if they are registered by the Council and can you see their certificate
- Check the names on the certificate are still valid
- Ask if you can look around, does it look clean and well maintained?
- Ask if you can see examples of any jewellery, or see some tattoos carried out previously (remember, you are going to live with this for the rest of your life, so it is important that you get work that is a good quality as well as hygienic)
- Check that any equipment used for piercing is pre sterilised, and preferably stored in a sealed pouch or bag
- Ask what training the piercer has received
- Ask for written information on aftercare
The most important thing is to check that they are registered with us – this means that we have inspected and checked that good hygiene is being maintained – remember, we can’t check their standards of hygiene unless we are aware that they are trading!
If you need to register yourself and/or your premises for skin piercing or change the details of an existing registration, the application forms and information you need may be found here.
If you are worried about a business premises that you think may not be suitably registered or is not being properly maintained, you should contact us so that we can carry out an investigation.
If you are worried about any premises or person who may have carried out a piercing or tattoo on someone who is under 18 you should contact the licensing officer immediately, and you may also be advised to contact the Police as the piercing/tattoo could count as an assault.
The Welsh Government produces periodical newsletters to provide information for Practitioners about progress on the introduction of a mandatory licensing scheme for Special Procedures in Wales. You can read the latest newsletter here.
Last Modified: 27/02/2023
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