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Tattooing and Body Piercing

Tatooing and Body Piercing | State Laws, Statutes and Regulations

3/26/2015

Father and son with tattoosAs the popularity of body art grows, states have struggled to keep pace with the new art forms. From tattooing, to piercings, to sub-dermal implants, to body painting state legislatures have had to amend their body art laws to ensure that the activity is performed safely, does not conflict with the activities of other certified professionals (such as dentists or ophthalmologists), and protects minors.

Almost every state have laws addressing some aspect of body art. (Nevada has no laws addressing body art; Maryland has very limited laws). At least 45 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos. Thirty-eight states have laws that prohibit both body piercing and tattooing on minors without parental permission.

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State Laws on Tattooing and Body Piercing

State

Statute Citation

Statute Summary

Alabama

Ala. Code § 22-1-17A

Regulation of Tattooing, Branding, and Body Piercing. Prohibits anyone from performing a tattoo, brand or body piercing on a minor unless prior written informed consent is obtained from the minor's parent or legal guardian.

Arizona

Tattoos. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3721

Tattooing and Body Piercing. Establishes that it is unlawful to either tattoo or pierce anyone under age 18 without the physical presence of the parent or legal guardian.

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. §§ 20-27-1501 et seq.

Body Piercing, Branding, and Tattooing. Tattoo and permanent cosmetic artists are required to be certified; the law addresses body piercing as a form of body art; requires an annual license fee for tattoo, body piercing and permanent cosmetic artists/shops.

 

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-27-228

Tattooing and Body Piercing. Prohibits anyone from doing "body art" (tattooing, piercing or branding) on a minor without the written consent and presence of one of the minor's parents, a guardian or a custodian.

Alaska

AS  §08.13

12 AAC 09 specifically govern the practice of barbering, hairdressing, esthetics, tattoo and permanent cosmetic coloring, and body piercing. AS 08.01 - 08.03 and regulations 12 AAC 02 apply to all professions regulated by the division.

 

AS  §08.13.217

Tattooing. Establishes that it is unlawful to practice tattooing and permanent cosmetic coloring on a minor. 

 

 

Body Piercing. Prohibits anyone from practicing body piercing on a minor without prior written approval from the minor’s parent or legal guardian and the presence of the parent or legal guardian during the body piercing procedure.

California

Body Art. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 119300 to 119328

Body Art. The California Conference of Local Health Officers shall establish sterilization, sanitation, and safety standards for persons engaged in the business of tattooing, body piercing, or permanent cosmetics.

 

 Cal. Penal Code 653

Tattooing. Establishes that it is a misdemeanor for any person to tattoo or offer to tattoo anyone under age 18.

   

Body Piercing. Prohibits anyone from performing or offering to perform a piercing upon anyone under age 18 unless the piercing is performed in the presence of a parent or guardian or as directed and notarized by the minor's parent or guardian. Does not apply to emancipated minors and does not include pierces of the ear.

Colorado

Body Artists. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-2101 to 2103

Tattooing and Body Piercing. Prohibits anyone from performing a body art procedure on a minor unless the artist has received express consent from the minor's parent or guardian.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. §19a-92a

Regulation of Persons Engaged in Tattooing. No person shall engage in tattooing except a physician, an advanced practice registered nurse rendering service under the direction of a physician, a registered nurse rendering service under the supervision, control and responsibility of a physician, a physician assistant rendering service under the supervision, control and responsibility of a physician, or a technician rendering service under the supervision of a physician in accordance with regulations adopted by the Department of Public Health. No person shall engage in tattooing except a physician, an advanced registered nurse under the supervison of a physician.

   

Department of Public Health does not have jurisdiction over body piercing.

 

Conn. Gen. Stat. §19a-92g

Tattooing. Establishes that it is illegal to tattoo an unemancipated minor under age 18 without the permission of the minor's parent or guardian.

DC.

Body Artists. DC Code § 47-2853.76d

 

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. Title 16, Ch 2 §122(3)(w)

Establish standards for the sanitary operation of tattoo parlors and body piercing establishments. For purposes of this paragraph, "tattoo parlor" means a person or business that makes permanent marks on human skin by puncturing the skin and inserting an indelible color or by producing scarring.

 

Del. Code Ann. Title 11, Ch 5 §1114(a)

Tattooing and Body Piercing. It is illegal for a person to either knowingly or negligently tattoo or pierce a minor without the prior written consent of the adult parent or legal guardian.

Florida

Fla. Stat. §381.075

Regulation of body-piercing salons.

 

Fla. Stat. §381.0775 et seq.

Tattoo establishments; licensure; temporary establishments

 

Fla. Stat. § 381.00787

Tattooing Prohibited; Penalty. It is unlawful for any person to tattoo the body of any human being; except that tattoing may be performed by a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry, or by a person under the general supervision as defined by Board of Medicine.

 

 

Tattooing. Requires written, notarized consent of a minor's parent or legal guardian in order to tattoo a minor.

Georgia

Ga. Code § 31-40-1 to 31-40-10

Tattoo Studios.

 

Ga. Code § 16-12-5

Unlawful to tattoo within an inch of the eye socket.

 

Ga. Code § 16-5-71.1

Tattooing. Prohibits the tattooing of anyone under age 18 by anyone other than a licensed osteopath or technician acting under the direct supervision of a licensed physician or osteopath.

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 321-13

Tattoo Artist. Sets forth public health requirements for tattoo licensing and operations.

 

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 321-379

Tattooing of Minors. Tattooing any person under the age of 18 without the written consent of the person's parent or legal guardian or not maintaining the consent forms in a confidential manner at the tattoo shop for not less than two years

Idaho

Idaho Code § 18-1523 (2004)

Tattooing and Body Piercing. Prohibits the tattooing, branding or body piercing of minors under the age of 14. Prohibits the tattooing, branding or body piercing of anyone between the ages of 14 and 18 without the written informed consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian. Written informed consent must be executed in the presence of the person performing the act or an employee or agent of that person. Piercing of the ear lobes and piercing for medical purposes are exempted from this legislation.

Illinois

Ill.  Stat. 410 §54/1 t0 54/999

Tattoo and Body Piercing Establishment Registration Act. Provides for public health, safety and welfare requirements for tattoo and body piercing establishments.

 

Ill. Stat. 720 §5/12-10.1

Tattooing. It is a Class A misdemeanor for anyone other than a person licensed to practice medicine in all branches to tattoo or offer to tattoo a person under age 18. It is also a Class A misdemeanor to allow a person under 18 years of age to remain on the premises where tattoos are being performed or offered without a parent or legal guardian.

Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. §16-19-3-4.1

Tattoo and Body Piercing. Provides a guide for the sanitary operations of tattoo and body piercing facilities in Indiana.

 

Ind. Code Ann. §35-42-2-7

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Requires a minor's parent or legal guardian to be present in order to either tattoo or perform a body piercing on a minor under age 18. Requires the parent or guardian to also provide written permission for the minor to receive the tattoo or piercing.

Iowa

Iowa Code §135.37

Tattooing Establishments and Tattoo Artists. Permit and operational requirements for tattooing establishments and tattoo artists

 

Iowa Code §135.37

Tattooing of Minors. Prohibits anyone from tattooing an unmarried minor under age 18.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann.  §65-1940 to 65-1954

Tattoo, Body Piercing and Cosmetic Tattoo. No person, including a tattoo artist, cosmetic tattoo artist or body piercer, shall perform tattooing, cosmetic tattooing or body piercing on another person, display a sign or in any other way advertise or purport to be a tattoo artist, cosmetic tattoo artist or body piercer unless that person holds a valid license issued by the board.

 

Kan. Stat. Ann.  §65-1953

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from performing body piercing, cosmetic tattooing or tattooing on anyone under age 18 without written and notarized consent and presence of the minor’s parent or court appointed guardian  during the procedure. Requires the individual who performs the body piercing to keep a copy of the written permission on file for a period of five years. Violators are guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. §194A.050; 211.760

Tattooing. The Department for Public Health, Division of Public Health Food Safety Branch develops the statewide Tattoo, Body Piercing and Ear Piercing Program plans, objectives, policies and procedures and helps local health departments carry out state law. The program register tattoo artists and body and ear piercers and certify studios.

 

Ky. Rev. Stat. §211.760

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from tattooing or piercing minors without the written, notarized consent of a parent or guardian.

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:2831 et seq.

Commercial Body Art. Each facility engaging in tattooing, body-piercing, or other CBA activities is required to be permitted in accordance with these regulations and each person performing said tasks must be registered with the state.

 

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §14:93.2

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. It is unlawful for anyone to tattoo or pierce a minor under age 18 without the consent of the minor's parent or legal custodian, who must accompany them to the procedure.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Title 32 §4201 to 4301

Tattoo Artist. Sets forth public health requirements for tattoo licensing and operations.

 

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Title 32 §4321 to 4329

Body Piercing. A Department of Health and Human Services license is required for any person who practices the art of body piercing, comprising creation of an opening in the body of a human being for the purpose of inserting jewelry or decorations.

 

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Title 32 §4203

Tattooing of a Minor. Establishes that it is illegal to tattoo anyone under age 18.

 

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Title 32 §4323

Body Piercing of a Minor. Requires prior written consent of a minor's parent or legal guardian to perform body piercing on anyone under age 18.

Maryland

Md. Code Ann. §09.22.02.03(F)

Cosmetic tattooing. Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene prohibit tattoing in salons.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Law ch. 111, §31

General Authority. Allows boards of health to promulgate reasonable health regulations.

 

 

Model Regulations for Body Art Establishments. Body Art regulations (body piercing, tattooing and branding/scarification) have been drafted and reviewed setting forth a model code for the practice of body art and for the maintenance and operation of body art.

 

Mass. Gen. Law ch. 112, §2

Tattoing must be performed by a qualified physician.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.13101 to 333.13112

Body Art Facilities. Duties of a person who owns or operates a body art facility; Section 333. 13104. Tattooing, branding, or performing body-piercing; licensure of body art facility required; application; form; issuance; duration; fees.

 

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §333.13102

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from either tattooing or performing a piercing on a minor without the prior written, informed consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian. Requires the parent or legal guardian to execute the consent in the presence of either the person performing the body piercing or tattooing on the minor or in the presence of an employee or agent of the individual. Does not include emancipated minors.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. §§146B.01 to 146B.10

Body Art. No person acting individually or jointly with any other person may maintain, own, or operate a body art establishment in the state without an establishment license issued by the commissioner.

 

Minn. Stat. §§325F.814

Body Piercing.

 

Minn. Stat. §609.2246

Tattooing of a Minor. It is unlawful for anyone under age 18 to receive a tattoo without written parental consent.

 

 

Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits a person from body piercing anyone under age 18 unless they have witnessed written parental consent.  Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor.

Mississippi

Miss. Code §73-61-1 et seq.

Tattooing and Body Piercing. It shall be unlawful for any individual to perform tattooing and/or body piercing upon any person for compensation with the state without possessing a current and valid Certificate of Registration issued by the Department of Health.

 

Miss. Code §73-61-3

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from tattooing or piercing a minor under age 18. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined a maximum of $500.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. §324.520 to 324.526

Occupations and Professions. No practitioner of tattooing, body piercing or branding shall practice and no establishment in which tattoos, body piercing or brandings are applied shall be operated without a license issued by the director of the division of professional registration.

 

Mo. Rev. Stat. §324.520

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from knowingly tattooing or piercing a minor without prior written, informed consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian. Requires the parent or legal guardian to execute the written consent in the presence of either the person performing the tattooing or body piercing or an employee or agent of that person. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined a maximum of $500. Subsequent violations within one year of the initial violation will be subject to a fine of between $500 and $1,000.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. §§50-48-101 to 110; §§50-48-201 to 209

Tattooing and body piercing. The regulation of tattooing and body piercing establishments is required to protect public health and safety.

 

Mont. Code Ann. §45-5-623

Tattooing of a Mionor. Prohibits anyone from knowingly tattooing or piercing a child under the age of majority without the explicit in-person consent of the child's parent or guardian.

 

Upon conviction, violators will be either fined a maximum of $500, imprisoned for up to six months, or both. Those convicted of a second offense will either be fined a maximum of $1,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-3401 to 71-3238

Cosmetology, Electrology, Esthetics, Nail Technology and Body Art.

 

 

Performing Body Art on a minor.

Nevada

 

State of Nevada does not regulate tattoo or piercing shops.

New Hampshire

Duties. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 314-A:1 tp 314-A:13

Body Art. It shall be unlawful for any person to practice body piercing, branding, or tattooing without a license

 

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 314-A:8

Body Piercing on a Minor. Prohibits performing a body piercing on a person under the age of 18 without consent of that person’s parent or legal guardian. Requires the consenting individual to be physically present at the time of piercing, to provide evidence of status as parent or legal guardian, and to sign a document that provides informed consent. Requires consent records be maintained for at least 7 years.  

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. §26-1A-7

State Sanitary Code

 

N.J.A.C. 8:27-1 et seq.

Body Art Procedures. Establishes sterilization, sanitation, and safety standards for persons engaged in the business of tattooing, permanent cosmetics, and ear and body piercing in order to protect the public's health.

 

N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:40-21

Tattooing and body piercing of minors.

New Mexico

Body Art Safe Practices Act. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-17B-1 et seq.

Body Art Safe Practices Act. The purpose of the Body Art Safe Practices Act is to provide a safe and healthy environment for the administration of body art.

 

N.M. Administrative Code 16.36.2 et seq.

Body Art Licensing Requirements

New York

N.Y. Public Health Law §460-466

Regulation of Body Piercing and Tattooing.

 

N.Y. Public Health Law § 4A; N.Y. Penal Law § 260.21

Tattooing of a Minor. It is unlawful to tattoo the body of a child less than 18 years old.  Any person who does so is guilty of unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree, a class B misdemeanor.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-283

Tattoing regulated. No person shall engage in tattooing without first obtaining a tattooing permit from the Department. Licensed physicians, as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners working under the supervision of a licensed physician, who perform tattooing within the normal course of their professional practice are exempt from the requirements of this Part.

 

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-400

Tattooing; body piercing of a minor prohibited.

North Dakota

N.D. Code §23-01-35

Tattooing, body piercing, branding, subdermal implants, or scarification--Adoption of Rules.

 

N.D. Code §12.1-31-13

Tattooing, branding, subdermal implants, scarifying and piercing of a Minor.  Prohibits the piercing or tattooing of a minor without the presence and consent of the parent. It is also a Class B misdemeanor to sell tattooing or piercing equipment to a minor.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3730.01 to 3730.99

Tattooing or Body Piercing Services.

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3730.06 to 3730.08

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. It is illegal to tattoo, body pierce or pierce the ears of anyone under age 18 without the consent of the minor's parent, guardian or custodian. Requires the consenting individual to appear in person at the business at the time the procedure is performed and sign a document that provides informed consent.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Title 21 §842.1, 842.2, 842.3

All body piercing operators, tattoo perators and artists shall be prohibited from performing body piercing or tattooing unless licensed in the appropriate category by the State Department of Public Health.

Oregon

 Or. Rev. Stat. § 690.350 et seq.; Or. Rev. Stat. § 690.401 to 410

Body Art Practitioners. Board of Body Art Practitioners.

 

 Or. Rev. Stat. § 679.500

Permits dentists to administer local anesthesia for people seeking permanent lip color from a licensed tattoo artist.

Pennsylvania

Pa. Cons. Stat. Title 18 § 6311

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. It is unlawful to provide tattoo or body piercing services to anyone under age 18 without the consent of the parent or guardian who is present at the time of the procedure.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1-39

Tattooing and Body Piercing. The director shall promulgate rules and regulations which provide minimum requirements to be met by any person performing tattooing and/or body piercing upon any individual and for any establishment where tattooing and/or body piercing is performed. These requirements shall include, but not be limited to, general sanitation of premises wherein tattooing and/or body piercing is to be performed and sterilization of instruments.

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 44-34-10 to 44-34-110

Tattooing. Prohibits tattooing anyone under the age of 21.  If a person is at least 18, they may get a tattoo with parental consent.

 

S.C. Code § 44-32-10 to 44-32-120

Body Piercing Facility. Prohibits anyone from performing body piercing on an individual under age 18.

South Dakota

S.D. Laws § 9-34-17

Tattooing and body piercing. Any municipality may regulate the practice of tattooing and body piercing by licensing tattoo artists and practitioners of body piercing, inspecting tattoo and body piercing establishments, and establishing standards for sanitation that are at least as stringent as those adopted by the Department of Health

 

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §26-10-19

Tattooing of a Minor. Requires anyone who is tattooing a minor under age 18 to obtain a signed consent form from the minor's parents authorizing the tattoo.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code §§ 62-38-201 to 62-38-212; §§ 62-38-301 to 62-38-310

Tattoos and Body Piercing.

 

Tenn. Code §§ 62-38-211; 62-38-305

Tattooing of minors; Body Piercing of minors; consent required. Minors age 16 or older may be tattooed with the written consent of their parent or legal guardian to cover up an existing tattoo and requires the parent or legal guardian to be present during the procedure.

Texas

Texas Health and Safety Code Ann. §146.001 et seq.

Tattoo and Certain Body Piercing Studios. A person may not conduct, operate, or maintain a tattoo studio unless the person holds a license issued by the department to operate the tattoo studio.

 

Texas Health and Safety Code Ann. §146.012; 146.124; 146.125

Tattooing and Body Piercing on a Minor Prohibited; exceptions. Prohibits anyone from performing a tattoo or body piercing on a person under age 18 without the consent of a parent or guardian who believes it is in the best interest of the minor to cover an obscene or offensive tattoo.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §76-10-2201

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from performing or offering to perform a tattoo or body piercing upon a minor without receiving the consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian. Establishes that a person is not guilty of a violation if he or she had no actual knowledge of the minor's age and reviewed, recorded and maintained a personal identification number for the minor prior to performing the body piercing or tattoo.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. Title 26 §4101 to 4109

Tattooists and Body Piercers. Prohibits anyone from tattooing a minor without the written consent of his or her parent or guardian.

Virginia

Va. Code §54.1-700 et seq.

Board of Barbers and Cosmetology

 

Va. Code §15.2-912

Regulation of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons. Any locality may by ordinance regulate the sanitary condition of the personnel, equipment and premises of tattoo parlors and body-piercing salons and specify procedures for enforcement of compliance with the disease control and disclosure requirements of § 18.2-371.3.

 

Va. Code § 18.2-371.3.

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone from tattooing or performing body piercing on a person under age 18, knowing or having reason to believe that the person is under 18 except in the presence of the person's parent or guardian or when done by or under the supervision of a medical doctor, registered nurse, or other medical services personnel in the performance of their duties. Excludes ear piercing as a form of body piercing.

Washington

Wash. Code §70.54.320 to 70.54.350

Electrology, body art, body piercing, and tattooing. The secretary of health shall adopt by rule requirements, in accordance with nationally recognized professional standards, for precautions against the spread of disease, including the sterilization of needles and other instruments, including sharps and jewelry, employed by electrologists, persons engaged in the practice of body art, body piercing, and tattoo artists. The secretary shall consider the standard precautions for infection control, as recommended by the United States centers for disease control, and guidelines for infection control, as recommended by national industry standards in the adoption of these sterilization requirements.

 

Wash. Code § 18.300; 18.300.005 to 18.300.902

Body Art, Body Piercing, and Tattooing.

 

Wash. Code § 246-145-001 to 060

Body Art, Body Piercing, Electrology and Tattooing Standards for Sterilization Procedures and Infection Control.  These rules establish standard universal precautions for preventing the spread of diseases by using sterilization procedures and infection control in the practices of electrology, body art, body piercing, and tattooing.

 

Wash. Code §26.28.085

Tattooing of a Minor. Applying a tattoo to a minor under age 18 is illegal and violators are guilty of a misdemeanor.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §16-38-1 to 38-7

Tattoo Studio Business.

 

W. Va. Code §16-37-1 to

Body Piercing Studio Business.

 

W. Va. Code §16-38-3

Tattooing of a Minor. Requires prior written consent from a parent or guardian for the tattooing of a minor.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. §252.23

Regulation of Tattooists. Department of Health Services shall provide uniform, statewide licensing and regulation of tattooists and uniform, statewide licensing and regulation of tattoo establishments under this section. The department shall inspect a tattoo establishment once before issuing a license for the tattoo establishment under this section and may make additional inspections that the department determines are necessary.

 

Wis. Stat. §948.70

Tattooing of a Minor. Prohibits anyone other than a physician in the course of his or her professional practice from tattooing or offering to tattoo a child (under age 18).

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. §14-3-107

Tattooing and Body Piercing of a Minor. Defines "body-art" as the practice of body piercing, branding scarification, sculpting or tattooing.  Prohibits any person from performing body-art on any person who has not reached the age of majority, except with the consent of the person's parent or legal guardian who is present at the time the procedure is performed.  Age must be verified with specified identification.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009.

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