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Kentucky Tattoo Laws


Contact: Anita Travis,  502/564-7181, ext: 3718

Implementation of Body Piercing Regulations


      FRANKFORT, KY. (March 3, 2004) -- The Cabinet for Health and Family Services and local health departments will start regulating body piercing April 1 under a law requiring registration and certification.

      The 2002 law requires persons performing body piercing to become registered with their local health department and to obtain certification of the body piercing studio.

      Facilities that pierce only ear lobes using an ear piercing gun will be required to obtain a limited ear piercing studio certification and a limited ear piercing registration for each person performing the procedure, according to Anita Travis with the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety.

      Local health department environmental health inspectors currently provide oversight for the tattoo program and will also provide oversight for the body piercing and limited ear piercing programs. 

      This oversight will include:

       The health and cleanliness of places of businesses,

       Sterilization of body piercing instruments and equipment,

       Procedures to prevent the spread of disease and

       The registration process for body piercing and limited ear piercing artists and the certification process for the body piercing and limited ear piercing studios.   

      The body piercing studios will be inspected twice a year, as are the tattoo studios, and the limited ear piercing studios will be inspected once a year.  The registration for the studio and those performing procedures will be posted in a conspicuous location within the studio for the general public to view.  Currently, there are 400 tattoo artists and 300 tattoo studios statewide.

      ?The new law requires minors wishing to obtain a tattoo or a body piercing to provide a written notarized consent of a custodial parent or a legal guardian,? Travis said.

      Tattooing and body piercing is prohibited on skin which has a rash, pimples,


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evidence of infection, open lesions, mole, sunburn, or manifests any evidence of unhealthy conditions without the written clearance by a physician licensed by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

      The regulation requires that each client be provided with written and verbal after care instructions that includes information on the care of the tattoo or piercing, possible side effects, any activity restrictions, signs and symptoms of infection and instructions to consult a physician if signs and symptoms of infection such as fever, swelling, redness or drainage occur.

      "These new regulations will help foster industry uniformity and add a level of protection for our citizens," said Guy F. Delius, acting director of Public Health Protection and Safety.

      If you have questions about tattoo or body piercing, call your local health department environmental health specialist or the Division of Public Health Protection and Safety at 502/564-7181, Ext: 3718.