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License - Skin piercing and tattooing

The Council would prefer applicants to apply, register or give notification online if at all possible. It will remain possible, however, to arrange for the Licensing Administrator to send you the application/registration form you require or for you to collect forms at the Council's main office at Kilncraigs. You can also download a PDF of the form on the Licensing Application Forms page and lodge the completed form with the appropriate fee and necessary supporting documents with the Licensing Administrator by post or by calling at Kilncraigs...

Licence Requirements


If you carry out any form of skin piercing and / or tattooing you must be in possession of a licence that has been granted by the local authority in which you operate from. The activity of skin piercing or tattooing includes:
  • cosmetic body piercing including ear piercing

  • acupuncture

  • electrolysis

  • any form of tattooing including micro- pigmentation

Eligibility Criteria


A licence will be required by businesses or self-employed individuals operating either independently within premises or in a peripatetic manner (i.e. if you are a mobile business).

If you are registered with, or regulated by, bodies mentioned in Section 25(3) of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 are exempt from the Order.
  • General Chiropractic Council (GCC)

  • General Dental Council (GDC)

  • General Medical Council (GMC)

  • General Optical Council (GOC)

  • General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)

  • Health Professions Council (HPC)

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council (NWC)

  • Pharmaceutical Council of Northern Ireland (PCNI)

  • Royal Pharmaceutical Council of Great Britain (RPCGB)

If you are a registered charity, you are also exempt from the licensing regime.

Regulation Summary


The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing) Order 2006 gives Local Authorities the power to license individuals who carry out skin piercing or tattooing activities as a business. The Order lays out a number of requirements aimed at reducing, if not removing, risks to public health from these practices.

As well as setting out criteria that operators must adhere to, the act also prohibits the tattooing of people under the age of 18 years and restricts the activity of skin piercing on people under the age of 16 years unless accompanied by a person with parental rights.

A person carrying out the activity of skin piercing or tattooing without a licence shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

If a condition attached to a licence is not complied with, the holder of the licence shall be guilty of an offence an liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

Application Evaluation Process


Where the activity of skin piercing or tattooing takes place in a fixed premises (including a domestic dwelling), the following conditions must be met:
  • The applicant must be determined as being fit and proper having regard to the knowledge, skill, training and experience which the applicant can demonstrate in relation to the activity or activities which are to be carried out.

  • Separate rooms must be provided for the waiting area and carrying out any skin piercing / tattooing activities

  • The waiting area must display a notice advising that piercings will not be carried out on any child under the age of 16 unless accompanied by someone who has parental rights and has given their permission in writing.

  • The waiting are must also display a notice that tattooing will not be carried out on anyone under the age of 18

  • The room use for the purposes of carrying out skin piercing of tattooing must contain the following facilities:

    • A sink with hoot and cold running water which uses non-hand operable taps.

    • A soap dispenser containing soap

    • A washable bench or chair with disposable paper sheets

    • A dispenser containing alcohol solution

    • A waste bucket with a pedal operated lid

    • A sharps container for storage of needles

    • A first aid kit

  • The following equipment must be stored for use on the premises;
    • Ultrasonic cleaners

    • Instrument baths: and

    • Autoclaves and autoclave pouches

  • The premises must be well ventilated an illuminated for the purpose of skin piercing and tattooing.

  • The premises and facilities must be maintained in good repair and in a good state of cleanliness.

  • Only sterile single-use disposable needles may be used.

  • Only sterile pigment or ink pre-packed in single use vials may be used for the activity of tattooing.

  • The activity of skin piercing or tattooing must only be carried out wearing disposable gloves which are changes for each client.

  • A supply of the following must be maintained:
    • Disposable non-latex gloves

    • Disposable razors

    • Disposable single use needle.

  • Any equipment that is not disposable shall be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant after each use

  • Clients must be provided with information to explain:
    • The process of skin piercing or tattooing
    • The risks associated with the procedure
    • The after care requirements of the procedure

Where the activity of skin piercing or tattooing does not take place in a fixed premises (i.e. the operator is mobile), the following conditions must be met:
  • The applicant must be determined as being fit and proper having regard to the knowledge, skill, training and experience which the applicant can demonstrate in relation to the activity or activities which are to be carried out

  • The activity of skin piercing or tattooing must only be carried out wearing disposable gloves which are changes for each client.

  • Only sterile single-use disposable needles may be used.

  • Any seating used for skin piercing or tattooing must be washable and covered with a disposable paper sheet which is renewed after each client.

  • Any equipment that is not disposable shall be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant after each use

  • Clients must be provided with information to explain
    • The process of skin piercing or tattooing

    • The risks associated with the procedure

    • The after care requirements of the procedure

If you are applying for a licence to carry out the activity of ear piercing only, you must meet the following conditions:
  • The premises must have a separate area with a washable chair with disposable paper sheet which is designated for the carrying out of ear piercing

  • The designated area must display a notice advising:
    • Ear piercing will not be carried out on any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs

    • Ear piercing will not be carried out on any person under the age of 16 unless accompanied by a person who gas parental rights and has also given their consent in writing.

  • The premises to be used for carrying out the activity of ear piercing must have the following facilities:
    • A wash hand basin with hot and cold running water

    • A paper towel holder containing paper towels

    • A soap dispenser containing soap

    • A dispenser containing alcohol solution

    • A waste bucket with a pedal operated lid
    The premises must be well ventilated and illuminated

Your premises and / or practices will be inspected by an Environmental Health Officer who will assess if you meet the standards required before a licence will be granted.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?


If the local authority has not made a decision within 12 month of receiving your application then your licence will be assumed as granted.

Apply on line


Application for a skin piercing and tattooing licence
Application to change a skin piercing and tattooing
Application to surrender a skin piercing and tattooing licence

Failed Application Redress


If your application is refused you can appeal to the sheriff against the decision within 28 days from the date of the decision.
The sheriff may uphold any appeal if he/ she considers the decision made by the local authority was:
  • erred in law

  • based on incorrect facts

  • contrary to natural justice

  • unreasonable

If the appeal is upheld by the sheriff may
  • ask the local authority to reconsider the decision

  • reverse or modify the decision made by the authority

Licence Holder Redress


If your licence is suspended you can appeal to the sheriff against the decision within 28 days from the date of the decision.

The sheriff may uphold any appeal if he/ she considers the decision made by the local authority was:
  • erred in law

  • based on incorrect facts

  • contrary to natural justice

  • unreasonable

If the appeal is upheld by the sheriff may
  • ask the local authority to reconsider the decision

  • reverse or modify the decision made by the authority

Consumer Complaint


Any objection or representation relating to an application should be made in writing within 21 days to the local authority.

If there is a suspicion that a business or person is carrying out skin piercing or tattooing activities without a licence , a formal complaint should be made to Environmental Health via Clacksweb.

Any concerns or complaints regarding the premises or practices of the operator carrying out the activities of skin piercing and tattooing should be made to Environmental Health via Clacksweb



Please note that fees lodged with any Licence application are non-refundable.

Contact information

Licensing Administrator, Community and Regulatory
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: +44 (0)1259 452093 / 450000
Email: