Skin Piercing

What to be aware of when having a skin piercing treatment

What to be aware of when having a skin piercing treatment


Skin piercing activities

The term skin piercing includes:

  • ​tattooing
  • semi-permanent skin colouring (for example, micro-blading)
  • cosmetic piercing (includes ear piercing and body piercing)
  • electrolysis
  • acupuncture

The following byelaws apply to skin piercing activities: Icon for pdf Skin Piercing Byelaws [64.82KB]  

Who needs to register?

Anyone carrying out skin piercing for financial gain and the premise where they operate need to register with the Council. This ensures that the the skin piercing is carried out safely.

Check a business

Please check our public registers to check if a business is registered. If you have concerns about illegal tattooists or pierces, please contact us.

Click here for register

General Advice

If you're having a skin piercing treatment you should always check that they are registered with the local authority. Look out for a certificate of registration.

It's an offence for people to carry out these activities without registration. 

Visiting a registered premises is important because:

  • they operate in a safe and hygienic manner
  • they will be able to explain procedures and give advice
  • they should have insurance

Good to know

Did you know:

  • ​in the UK, you can't donate blood for 12 months after having a tattoo or piercing
  • it's illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be tattooed
  • if you're under the age of 16 you can't legally consent to certain piercings

Some people can be allergic to the pigments in tattooing or semi-permanent make up inks.  If you have sensitive skin, why not ask for a patch test.

We have no powers to do anything about the quality of art work in relation to a tattoo; If you're thinking of having a tattoo, do your homework.


  • a tattoo which costs you £10 can cost you hundreds to remove
  • there is an increased risk of infection if you go to someone who is unregistered

If your tattoo or piercing starts to become infected, go to your GP first, before complaining to the premises you visited, or us.

If you are looking to register under local byelaws please refer to our 'How to Register' page by clicking on the following link

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