Shropshire Council

Skin registration

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The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VIII and the Local Government Act 2003 require the following types of skin piercing to be registered with us:

  • Acupuncture
  • Tattooing
  • Cosmetic piercing
  • Electrolysis
  • Semi-permanent skin colouring

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

You'll find the premises application form under the 'Apply now' heading on this page, and the personal registration is attached on the right hand side under 'Related documents'.

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 Act etc 1974.

It's illegal to conduct cosmetic piercing, tattooing, acupuncture or electrolysis unless the registration has been formally approved.

Once an application has been made and a fee has been paid, an inspector will check the premises. If the inspector considers the applicant's procedures and the premises to be suitable, registration will be approved.

The inspector will also check compliance with the following by-law requirements, as well as ensuring that general health and safety requirements are being met. The inspector can offer any advice or give any help if you're unsure of how to meet these obligations.

By-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 area 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 shouldn't smoke or 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


  • Any needle, metal instrument or other item of equipment used in the treatment must be in a sterile condition, and kept sterile until it's used
  • If pre-sterilised items aren't used 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


  • It's 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 may receive body piercing if you've 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

What is it for?

For a premises to offer treatments such as acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis, both the person performing the treatment and the premises in which the treatment is taking place must be registered with the council.

Who needs one?

Any person or business commercially conducting acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis.

How much will it cost?

There is a fee for issuing this document, which is taken when you apply.

What will I need before I apply?

  • Completed application form
  • Fee
  • See application form for any additional requirements

Apply now

Download the form, complete it on your home computer, and email it to

Download an application form

Download the form, print it out, fill it in and post your application along with the fee if applicable to:

The Licensing Team, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND

Download an application form