Skin piercing


Skin piercing

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 you must register your business premises and each person you want to carry out the following types of skin piercing:

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

For costs, view our licensing fees and charges. The cost of registration is subject to annual review.

It is illegal to conduct any of the above activities unless we have approved your registration.

You can only work in the premises where you’re registered and registration usually lasts as long as you intend to work in the premises. Should you wish to conduct any skin piercing activities at other premises, you will need to register yourself at that premises also and pay the required fee.

Premises granted a registration will be listed on our licensing register.

A person under the age of 18 years may receive body piercing provided that you have received written permission from, or the treatment is performed in the presence of, the person's parent or guardian.

Nipple and genital piercing is prohibited on minors, regardless of parental consent.

It is an offence to tattoo any person under the age of 18 years (the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969) regardless of parental consent.

You need to reapply If your circumstances change, this includes:

  • moving your business
  • another person running a business from your premises
  • offering additional services which need registration


You can apply for a new registration and add or remove persons on a current registration. 

You must provide details about yourself and your premises and demonstrate you follow our local byelaws relating to:

  • staff hygiene
  • safety and cleanliness of your premises
  • furniture and equipment

In each case, your premises and equipment will be inspected to ensure:

  • they are suitable
  • that good practice hygiene is followed
  • sensible after-care instructions are given

Next steps

If approved, you will get a certificate of registration. You must display a copy of your certificate and any byelaws in a prominent place on your premises. 

Grant of a registration doesn’t mean that we’ve given planning permission. Consent under town and country planning law may still be required and you should check your planning permissions.

If you are unhappy with an officers’ decision please contact us in the first instance as we may be able to provide more information.

If a registration is suspended or cancelled the registration holder may appeal to the county court.

Last updated 17 November 2023