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Safety advice

What to be aware of when having a skin piercing treatment

Visiting safe providers

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
  • will be able to explain procedures and give advice
  • 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 have concerns about illegal tattooists or piercers, please contact the Health and Safety team.