Skin piercing registration

If you offer tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture you must be registered with your local council.

Once registered, you will be issued with a certificate of registration. If you work from premises, they must also be registered.

The purpose of registration is to ensure that basic health and safety and infection control standards are maintained in any premises where these activities are carried out.

Registration requires a fee to be paid.

Summary of regulations

The regulations applicable to this registration are the Local Government (Misc Provisions) Act 1982 and relevant local by-laws.

By-law requirements

  • tables, couches, seats etc used in the treatment area must have a smooth, impervious surface which is regularly wiped down with disinfectant and covered by a disposable paper sheet, changed after each client
  • all surfaces in any part of the premises used by clients must be kept clean and in good repair
  • all furniture and fittings in the treatment area must be kept clean and in good repair
  • a 'No Smoking' sign must be prominently displayed. Cleanliness of operatives
  • any overall worn by the operative should be clean and in good repair
  • the operative's hands and nails must be kept clean
  • any open cut, wound, sore or boil must be suitably covered by an impermeable dressing
  • the operative should not smoke nor drink in the treatment area
  • the operative should have sole use of the washing facilities which must provide hot and cold running water, soap (or a similar cleanser) and a nail brush 

Part VIII of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 governs the registration of cosmetic piercers (etc).

Which license do I need?

You need personal registration to run a business in cosmetic piercing, electrolysis, tattooing and acupuncture. This includes treating people in their own homes or renting a premises that is already registered.

You need to apply for a premises registration and personal registration if you are registering a business as the sole proprietor.


View Tattooing and Body Piercing guidance toolkit.

Applying for a licence

The fee is £100.00. To apply, please complete the online application form.

When we get your application, an officer from our Public Safety team will visit you at your premises.

You may find it helpful to invite the officer to your premises at an early stage. You’ll have a chance to show them what you are planning. That way, you can avoid last minute alterations or additions and keep within budget.

More guidance

You can find advice and safe practice guidance for tattoo and piercing artists.

Sterilisation and cleanliness is crucial. We want to make sure that all businesses in the BCP area have clean and safe premises.

Page last updated: 09 October 2020
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