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Tattooing and skin piercing

You must register yourself and your premises if you want to offer tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing, electrolysis or acupuncture.


The applicant must ensure that the procedures, equipment and facilities used at their premise are safe, hygienic, prevent the spread of disease and comply fully with the general duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. 

It is illegal to conduct acupuncture, tattooing, ear-piercing, electrolysis, cosmetic piercing, or semi-permanent skin colouring unless the registration has been formally approved and a license issued. 

There are no powers to refuse to registration - however, the applicant must operate in accordance with the Fenland District Council byelaws. (A summary is also provided below.) 

How to register

Apply for a license.

Once the fee of £158 has been paid, an inspector will inspect the premises. They will also check compliance with the bye-law requirements and ensure that health and safety requirements are being met. When they consider the applicant's procedures and premises to be suitable, they will approve the registration and issue a licence. 

Varying your license

You are able to renew, transfer or vary your licence for £44.00. Apply to vary an existing license.

Bye-law requirements


  • 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 are must be kept clean and in good repair.
  • 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.
  • 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 or drink in the treatment area.
  • The Operative should have sole use of the water facilities which must be provided, hot and cold running water, soap (or similar cleanser)


  • Any needle, metal instrument or other item of equipment used in the treatment must be in a sterile condition and kept sterile until it is used.
  • If pre-sterile items are not used then adequate facilities must be provided for the purpose of sterilisation
  • If tattooing is being undertaken, then all dyes used must be bacteriologically clean and inert.  The containers used to hold dyes for each customer must be disposed of at the end of each treatment or sterilised before re-use.

It is an offence to tattoo any person under the age of 18 years (The Tattooing of Minors Act 1969) regardless of parental consent.  A person under the age of 18 years may receive body piercing provided that you have received written permission from, or the treatment is in the presence of, the person's parent or guardian.  Nipple and genital piercing is prohibited on minors, regardless of parental consent.

The health of the client and the suitability of the treatment should also be discussed prior to admission.