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Tattooing safety

Tattoo registration scheme

We operate a registration scheme for both the tattoo artists and their premises, both of which have to be registered with the council. This is a requirement under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Anyone found to be running an unregistered tattooing business could have their equipment seized and face a fine of up to £1000.

If you would like more information on registering as a tattooing business and the byelaws, please see our Licensing page.

If you would like to open a tattoo studio, you are advised that planning permission may be required. For further information, please email our planning department or call on 01744 676219.

Failure to obtain planning permission may result in formal action being taken.

Tattooing of Minors Act 1969

It is against the law to tattoo a person who is under the age of 18. No-one can provide any sort of consent. If a tattoo artist carries out a tattoo on a person who is under 18, the tattoo artist could face a fine of up to £1000 and could be at risk of losing their registration. The law is clear.

If you or someone you know has been tattooed while under the age of 18, please email

No under 18's poster

Think Before You Ink

Think before you ink banner

Think Before You Ink aims to raise awareness of the:

  • Public health risks of illegal tattooing
  • Legal requirements for tattoo artists and their premises to be registered with St Helens Borough Council
  • Minimum age for a person to be tattooed

We also have strict reporting procedures in place for the following:

  • A tattoo being done in unregistered premises / in someone's home
  • A tattoo that has become infected
  • Someone under 18 who has been tattooed

To report any of the above, please contact us immediately by email or write to us, with all the details and how we can contact you should we need further information, at:

Environmental Health
Regulatory Services
PO Box 512 
St Helens
WA10 9JX

Unregistered tattooists

Illegal banner

Unregistered tattooists often work from home or at 'tattoo parties' and often using cheap kits that can be bought online. These kits are often of poor quality and come without instructions, resulting in unclean equipment which can put the tattooist and the customer at risk of infection. Also, investigations have found that the inks provided sometimes contain dangerous bacteria and high levels of toxic metals.

Prevention of infection is not just a case of using a new needle for each person as sharing any equipment, including items like ink pots, can pose a risk.

Using an unregistered tattooist, often at a reduced price, is simply not worth the risk. It needs to be remembered that the tattooing procedure is similar to minor surgery in that if it is carried out incorrectly or by someone who does not have suitable controls in place, you could be putting yourself at risk of contracting a blood-borne virus.

There are strict levels of control and hygiene required of a tattoo artist and in their studio. This helps avoid unnecessary risks to themselves or their customers. It is important that you take proper care of your tattoo, following the advice provided by the tattoo artist.