Skin piercing

Unless you are a registered medical practitioner or dentist (acupuncture only) you will need to apply for a licence if you are providing:

  • tattooing
  • acupuncture
  • electrolysis
  • cosmetic piercing
  • ear piercing
  • semi-permanent skin-colouring

Both the premises and the person doing the skin piercing must have a licence.

There are 2 types of licence:

  • operative registration
  • premises registration (this includes one operative)

It is illegal to permanently tattoo people under the age of 18.

For cosmetic piercing or skin colouring there is no minimum age, but we recommend that you get written consent from a parent or legal guardian if the client is under 18.

For premises registration we will need to inspect the premises as part of the application. We will be using our guidelines below when doing the inspection.

You should not provide any skin piercing treatments until we have inspected your property.

Skin piercing premises guidelines

Clean premises in good condition

You should make sure that:

  • you keep your premises and furniture in good condition so you can clean them effectively
  • needles are single-use and disposable or you sterilise them each time you use them
  • you store needles safely
  • you handle and dispose of any waste material and used needles accordingly

Your treatment area should:

  • only be used for treatments and not for any other purpose
  • have smooth waterproof flooring
  • not allow eating, smoking or drinking and you should put up signs making this clear

This does not apply if you only provide ear-piercing of nose piercing using a hygienic piercing instrument.

You should use a smooth, waterproof surface for any:

  • furniture which could become contaminated with blood or other body fluids
  • surfaces you put a needle or instrument on before using it

This furniture should be disinfected:

  • immediately after every use
  • at the end of each working day

You should also use a disposable paper sheet on any furniture a client sits on during treatment which you must change between each client.

Sterilisation of needles and other equipment

Equipment you use should be sterile including:

  • needles
  • equipment used in treatment
  • equipment used for handling needles or other equipment
  • any part of a piercing instrument that touches a client
  • jewellery used for cosmetic piercing
  • dye used for tattooing or semi-permanent skin-colouring (this should also be inert)

Make sure that covering, protective clothing, towels or other material used in treatments are:

  • clean, in good condition and (as far as appropriate) sterile
  • not used with another client, unless you clean them and they are (as far as appropriate) sterilised

Any container holding dye for tattooing or semi-permanent skin-colouring should be (either):

  • disposed of at the end of each treatment
  • cleaned and sterilised before each use

Cleaning facilities

You should provide:

  • facilities to clean and sterilise equipment (unless you only use pre-sterilised equipment)
  • safe gas points and electrical socket outlets
  • clean hot and cold water
  • clean and suitable storage to avoid contamination of needles, instruments and other equipment

Hygiene for you and your staff

Any staff that provide treatments should:

  • keep their hands and nails clean and their nails short
  • keep any cuts or grazes on an exposed part of their body covered by a waterproof dressing
  • wear protective clothing that is clean and washable, or a disposable covering that has not been used before
  • wear disposable examination gloves that have not been used with another client (this does not apply to acupuncture, see below for guidance on this)
If you are providing acupuncture

Your staff member providing the treatment should wear disposable gloves if:

  • your client is bleeding or has an open lesion on an exposed part of his body
  • your client is known to be infected with a blood-borne virus
  • your staff member has an open lesion on their hand
  • your staff member is handling items that may be contaminated with blood or other body fluids
Accordion end

Washing facilities

You should provide:

  • staff only washing facilities (if you use a hygienic piercing instrument and have either a hand hygienic gel or liquid cleaner, it does not need to be staff only)
  • sanitary accommodation for your staff

You can find more information in byelaws.

Apply for a tattoo/piercing or electrolysis operative licence

You’ll need this licence if you are working in a licensed premise.

You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • which treatments you personally will be doing
  • any relevant qualifications, training and experience
  • membership of any professional organisations

After selecting the button below you’ll need to:

  1. Create an account if you do not already have one.
  2. Select licensing.
  3. Select apply for a licence.
  4. Select skin piercing.
  5. Select operative – Tattoo/Piercing/Electrolysis.
  6. Select operative – Tattoo/Piercing/Electrolysis in the application type field.
  7. Follow the onscreen instructions.

There is a fee for this service.

Apply for a tattoo/piercing/electrolysis operative licence

Apply for a tattoo/piercing or electrolysis premises licence

You’ll need this licence for a skin piercing premises. As part of this application you can also licence one operative.

You’ll need to provide:

  • which treatments you will provide at the premises
  • details of any directors, company secretary or bearers
  • details about the treatment rooms and facilities
  • cleaning provisions for the premises and sterilisation of instruments
  • waste disposal arrangements
  • opening times and days
  • any convictions for anyone named in the application

After selecting the button below you’ll need to:

  1. Have a credit or debit card for payment.
  2. Create an account if you do not already have one.
  3. Select licensing.
  4. Select apply for a licence.
  5. Select skin piercing.
  6. Select premise – Tattoo/Piercing/Electrolysis.
  7. Select operative – Application for a licence to carry out tattooing, piercing and/or electrolysis.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions.

There is a fee for this service.

Apply for a tattoo/piercing/electrolysis premises licence

 

Add a tattoo/piercing or electrolysis operative to an existing premises licence

If you want to add extra operatives to your premises, you’ll need to complete this application.

After selecting the button below you’ll need to:

  1. Have a credit or debit card for payment.
  2. Create an account if you do not already have one.
  3. Select licensing.
  4. Select apply for a licence.
  5. Select skin piercing.
  6. Select premise – Tattoo/Piercing/Electrolysis.
  7. Select adding person(s) to existing registration.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions.

There is a fee for this service.

Add extra operatives to a premises

Apply for an acupuncture operative licence

You’ll need this licence if you are working in a licensed premise.

You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • which treatments you personally will be doing
  • any relevant qualifications, training and experience
  • membership of any professional organisations

After selecting the button below you’ll need to:

  1. Have a credit or debit card for payment.
  2. Create an account if you do not already have one.
  3. Select licensing.
  4. Select apply for a licence.
  5. Select skin piercing.
  6. Select acupuncture (operative).
  7. Select acupuncture (operative) in the application type field.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions.

There is a fee for this service.

Apply for an acupuncture operative licence

Apply for an acupuncture premises licence

You’ll need this licence for a skin piercing premises. As part of this application you can also licence one operative.

You’ll need to provide:

  • which treatments you will provide at the premises
  • details of any directors, company secretary or bearers
  • details about the treatment rooms and facilities
  • cleaning provisions for the premises and sterilisation of instruments
  • waste disposal arrangements
  • opening times and days
  • any convictions for anyone named in the application

After selecting the button below you’ll need to:

  1. Have a credit or debit card for payment.
  2. Create an account if you do not already have one.
  3. Select licensing.
  4. Select apply for a licence.
  5. Select skin piercing.
  6. Select acupuncture (premises).
  7. Select application for a licence to carry out acupuncture.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions.

There is a fee for this service.

Apply for an acupuncture premises licence

Add an acupuncture operative to an existing premises licence

If you want to add extra operatives to your premises, you’ll need to complete this application.

After selecting the button below you’ll need to:

  1. Have a credit or debit card for payment.
  2. Create an account if you do not already have one.
  3. Select licensing.
  4. Select apply for a licence.
  5. Select skin piercing.
  6. Select acupuncture (premises)
  7. Select adding person(s) to existing registration.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions.

There is a fee for this service.

Add extra operatives to a premises licence