[Skip to content]

Your Borough Of Poole

Skin Piercing Registration


The Local Government Act 2003 requires persons carrying on the businesses of

  • cosmetic piercing

  • electrolysis

  • acupuncture

  • semi-permanent skin-colouring 

    (including micropigmentation, semi-permanent make-up, and temporary tattooing)

to register themselves and their premises and to observe byelaws on hygiene and cleanliness.

This amendment brings these businesses under the same regulatory framework that already exists in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 for acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing and electrolysis.

Back to top

What registration covers

The Act requires registration to cover both the person carrying on the practice and the premises used for that purpose. There are no powers to refuse registration, but the practice is controlled through compliance with byelaws in each case.

The applicant must ensure that the procedures, equipment and facilities used 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 the following activities unless registration has been formally approved:

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

Back to top

Inspection of premises

Once an application has been made and a fee has been paid, an inspector will undertake an inspection of the premises to check compliance with the following bye-laws,  as well as ensuring that general health and safety requirements are being met. The inspector will be pleased to offer any advice or give any help if you are unsure as to how to meet these obligations.

Back to top

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

Back to top


  • 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-sterilised items are not used then adequate facilities must be provided for the purpose of sterilisation.
  • if tattooing is being undertaken,  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.

Back to top


  • Registration is only applicable to the specified operator at the specified premises.  Any change of operator must be notified to us where a change may be applied.  Certificates issued are only valid for the named operator.
  • 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 performed 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 be discussed prior to its administration.

This information is only a brief guide. Please contact us for more details.

Back to top