Skin piercing and tattoos

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The following types of skin piercing need to be registered with the Council's Occupational Health and Safety Team. You can download a list of premises in Ipswich that are registered for each activity.

Registered premises



Cosmetic piercing


Semi-permanent skin colouring (make-up)

How to register

Both the premises where the procedure is to be undertaken and the person (practitioner) undertaking the procedure must be registered. Separate applications and fees will need to be completed and paid for. Separate certificates for ‘premises’ and ‘practitioners’ will be issued upon successful application.

Once a practitioner is registered they will be able to work at any premises within the Borough of Ipswich that is registered for that activity, without having to amend their registration, so long as they display their certificate where they are working. Any permanent move to new premises should be notified to us.

Registration is governed by the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VIII (as amended by the Local Government Act 2003). It is illegal to conduct cosmetic piercing, tattooing, skin colouring (permanent make-up), acupuncture or electrolysis unless the registration has been formally approved.

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.

The applicant 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.

To register you must complete an online application, pay a fee and pass an inspection. A table with the current fee structure can be found below. Once an application has been made and the fee paid we will carry out 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.

Register online now

Temporary registration

Sometimes businesses wish to employ practitioners from outside of the Borough on a short-term basis e.g. guest tattoo artist. These practitioners must also be registered to be operating legally. However, instead of paying full fees, they can apply for temporary registration at a reduced fee so long as they are working for less than 30 consecutive days.

Table of fees

Registration of new skin piercing premises £224
Registration of new skin piercing practitioners £90
Registration of new skin piercing practitioners (ear and nose piercing only) £44
Premises Variation (to add an activity or change ownership details)£90
Practitioner variation (to add an activity)£44
Temporary/Guest registration of a practitioner£33
Replacement or duplicate registration certificate£28

Think before you ink!

Scratchers are tattooists that have not been registered or checked by the Council. They are operating illegally. They usually work at home and are more likely to use poor quality equipment and inks, re-use instruments without adequate cleaning and sterilisation and may not follow rigorous hygiene controls. They may not ask questions about your health and may not tell you how to care for your tattoo.

If you use a scratcher you are at higher risk of contracting a blood-borne virus such as Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C or HIV which can seriously affect your long-term health. You may also be at risk of serious skin infections and the quality of the tattoo may be poor.

For further information or to report a ‘Scratcher’ please contact our Health & Safety Team using the contact details provided on this page.

Contact Details

Environmental Health,
Ipswich Borough Council,
3W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,