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Tattooing, Skin Piercing, Acupuncture and Electrolysis

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended, requires that the operator undertaking the following types of skin piercing treatments to be registered:

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

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

As an applicant, you must ensure that you are compliant with the Council's byelaws. If you are carrying out tattooing, cosmetic piercing or skin colouring you should also familiarise yourself with the tattooing and body piercing guidance toolkit.

You must ensure that the procedures, equipment and facilities used are safe, hygienic, prevent the spread of infection and comply fully with the general duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. All practitioners are advised to undertake some form of infection control training.

Apply for a skin piercing registration

Applying to register

To register you must complete an online application, pay a fee of £167, and pass an inspection. If the inspector considers your procedures and premises suitable, registration will be approved, and certificates issued which must be displayed on site with a copy of the Council byelaws.

Changes to your registration

Any changes to names or addresses of Skin Piercing Practitioners must be communicated in writing to us. If a Skin Piercing Registration is no longer required, then this must be surrendered formally in writing.

If you currently hold a skin piercing registration and would like to apply for an additional skin piercing activity, then a new application is required. Similarly, if you wish to practice a body piercing activity at a different premise, a new application is required. Skin Piercing registrations are not transferable.

Mobile treatments

We do not allow businesses to register for mobile treatments which involve travelling between client’s homes. This is because these treatments can’t be provided safely and in accordance with legal requirements within a domestic environment.

It is illegal to conduct cosmetic piercing, tattooing, acupuncture, semi-permanent skin colouring or electrolysis unless the registration has been formally approved. You can be prosecuted if you run a skin piercing premises without being registered.


Copies of relevant byelaws are available below:

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