Piercing, tattooing and electrolysis
We register a number of activities that involve piercing the skin, including acupuncture, ear piercing, electrolysis, and tattooing.
Registered premises and practitioners are required to display a registration certificate, which indicates that the premises and equipment have been inspected for cleanliness and safety in compliance with our bylaws (see below), and that the people carrying out the piercing are suitably trained.
Acupuncture bylaws (PDF 20.7KB)
Ear piercing and electrolysis bylaws (PDF 21KB)
Tattooing bylaws (PDF 20KB)
Please note: we will only register practitioners who operate out of fixed premises, where the infection control and cleanliness requirements in our bylaws can be met. Generally, we do not consider that mobile units are suitable for carrying out skin-piercing activities. Registered practitioners are allowed to visit customers in other places for pre-arranged appointments, but must ensure that all surfaces and equipment are properly sterilised and cleaned after the procedure, in accordance with our bylaws.
By law, tattooing cannot be carried out on anyone under the age of 18 years. There are no specific age limits set in law for ear piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture, but ideally practitioners should request that proof of age be provided prior to carrying out procedures.
If you visit any premises that is not displaying its registration certificate, you feel that it is not as clean and safe as it should be, or if you have any other concerns about skin-piercing practices and procedures, please let us know.
Registered medical practitioners and dentists are exempt from the requirement to register with us.
We issue registration certificates initially for the premises and its proprietor. Further practitioners can then be registered as required. Registration is a one-off requirement, valid for the lifetime of the business, and applications must be accompanied by a registration fee. Once the application has been received, an appointment will be made with the applicant for an Environmental Health Officer to inspect the premises. If the inspection shows that the premises is compliant with all aspects of cleanliness and safety, as required by our bylaws, the registration certificate will be issued. Applicants wishing to register as practitioners will need to provide evidence of their qualifications upon application.
Make an application
You can apply to register a premises and additional practitioners online:
Apply online for registration of premises/practitioners for skin piercing
Please note: when applying to register a new premises and its proprietor, please select 'Both' in section three of the form. If applying to register additional practitioners, select 'Practitioner' in section three).
Fees are set out on our licensing fees and charges page.
Guidance for premises and practitioners
We strongly recommend that those carrying out piercing, tattooing, acupuncture and electrolysis read and follow the guidance published by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in the Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance and Toolkit. This document, which was written by environmental health officers in conjunction with industry representatives and professional piercing operators, gives best practice advice on carrying out these activities, including cleanliness and sterilisation of surfaces and equipment, sourcing materials and equipment, and prevention of infections.
Telephone: 01442 228470 or 228860