South Dakota Tattoo Laws
44:12:01:03. Tattoo establishments -- General provisions. A tattoo establishment must be a minimum of 60 square feet for one tattoo artist and 40 square feet for each additional artist. A tattoo establishment must be physically separated from facilities used for practices other than tattooing. Floors and walls of the tattooing area must be smooth, easily cleanable, nonabsorbent, and in good repair. Ceilings above the tattooing area must be smooth, easily cleanable, and in good repair. A minimum of 30 foot-candles of light must be provided for applying the tattoo and a minimum of 10 foot-candles for general lighting.
44:12:01:04. Tattoo establishments -- Handwashing facility required. An easily accessible handwashing facility supplied with warm, potable, running water must be provided in or directly adjacent to the tattooing area. Each handwashing facility must be provided with liquid soap and single-use paper towels.
44:12:01:05. Tattoo establishments -- Toilet facilities. Toilet facilities must be available for employee or patron use.
44:12:01:06. Tattoo establishments -- General-use equipment. Tables, chairs, and other general-use equipment must be constructed of plastic, metal with enamel or porcelain coating, or stainless steel. General-use equipment must be maintained in an easily cleanable condition. Covered waste containers with single-use plastic liners must be provided.
44:12:01:07. Tattoo establishments -- Animals prohibited -- Restricted activities. Animals other than guide dogs are prohibited in tattoo establishments. Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited within 10 feet of the tattooing area. Tattoo establishments may not be used for activities which are not directly associated with the practice of tattooing.
44:12:01:08. Tattoo establishments -- Maintenance. A tattoo establishment must be maintained in a clean, sanitary, vermin-free condition and in good repair.
44:12:01:09. Tattoo establishments -- Inspection. A tattoo establishment must be inspected at least annually to determine compliance with this chapter.
44:12:01:10. Required equipment for tattoo establishments. A tattoo establishment must be equipped with a steam pressure autoclave capable of producing 15 pounds of pressure per square inch for at least 35 minutes at a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
44:12:01:11. Required equipment for tattoo artists. A tattoo artist must have the following minimum equipment:
(1) Twenty-five liner tubes of whatever style and design preferred in sealed sterile envelopes;
(2) Twenty-five shader tubes of whatever style and design preferred in sealed sterile envelopes;
(3) Fifty needle bar setups with needles attached in sealed sterile envelopes;
(4) Five hundred disposable pigment containers;
(5) Three hundred disposable latex or vinyl examination gloves;
(6) One gallon each of germicidal soap, isopropyl alcohol, and distilled water for prepping skin;
(7) Access to the applicable sterilization and sanitization measures in this chapter;
(8) Closed dustproof containers for the exclusive storage of instruments, dyes, pigments, stencils, and other equipment;
(9) Gauze and bandages.
44:12:01:12. Tattoo artist -- Restricted activities. A tattoo artist may not engage in the practice of tattooing while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering drugs. Minors are prohibited from the practice of tattooing. A tattoo artist who knowingly has an infectious disease in a communicable stage may not tattoo a patron. Infectious diseases include rashes, skin lesions, boils, and bloodborne diseases such as viral hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus infection. A tattoo artist shall wear clean, laundered clothing and shall bathe daily.
44:12:01:13. Tattoo artist -- Patrons restricted -- Notice posted. A tattoo artist may not tattoo a patron without first obtaining a signed consent. The consent must include a statement by the patron that the patron is free from infectious or contagious diseases in a communicable stage. This includes rashes, skin lesions, boils, and bloodborne diseases such as viral hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus infection. A tattoo artist may not tattoo a patron with evident skin lesions or skin infections or who is known or suspected to have an infectious or contagious disease in a communicable stage.
Minors may not be tattooed unless the minor's parents have signed a consent form authorizing the tattoo. No tattoo artist may tattoo a patron who is under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering drugs.
A tattoo artist shall conspicuously post a notice stating that it is illegal to tattoo any person under the age of 18 without the parents' signed consent.
44:12:01:14. Communicable disease reporting. A tattoo artist shall immediately report to the department any known or suspected communicable disease associated with the practice of tattooing.
44:12:01:15. Record of patrons. A tattoo artist shall keep a record of each patron which includes name, address, age, consent form with medical inquiry, and the locations and description of tattoos. This record must be available for inspection and kept for a period of at least two years.
44:12:01:16. Sterilization methods. Equipment requiring sterilization must be sterilized by using the method of steam pressure sterilization with at least 15 pounds of pressure per square inch for at least 30 minutes at a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit in an autoclave. This must be certified by a chemical indicator which is attached to the autoclave bag and turns color when the required temperature has been reached. A tattoo establishment owner or operator shall provide lab result slips which state that each autoclave has been bacteriologically tested monthly and has passed the test. Dry heat is not an acceptable method of sterilization for the purpose of this article.
44:12:01:17. Sterile equipment -- Packaging and storage. All sterile equipment and supplies must be stored in a closed dustproof container in such a manner as to prevent being contaminated. All needles and tubes must be packaged prior to autoclaving either individually or in quantities for individual tattoos. Autoclave packages must be constructed so that the contents are visible without opening the package. Autoclave packages containing equipment which has been autoclaved must be dated with an expiration date. The expiration date may not exceed 30 days from the date autoclaved. Sterile equipment may not be used after the expiration date without being resterilized. A tattoo machine must be stored in a manner that will prevent contamination.
44:12:01:18. Needle construction -- Sterilization required. All needles must be either stainless steel or nickel-plated carbon steel. Needles may be soldered to stainless steel bars using a silver-bearing solder. Lead-bearing solder may not be used in this process. Needles are a single-service item and must be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between patrons. Rusty or faulty needles may not be used for tattooing.
44:12:01:19. Tube construction -- Sterilization required. All tubes, including the grips on the tube, must be either stainless steel, nickel-plated carbon steel, or Lexan. The grips may also be constructed of anodized aluminum. Lead-bearing solder may not be used in the construction of the tubes. Tubes must be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between patrons.
44:12:01:20. Tattoo machine sanitization. The open end of the tattoo machine must be cleaned and sanitized with an approved sanitizer before each use. See Appendix B at the end of this article for a listing of approved sanitizing solutions.
44:12:01:21. Razor requirements. Razors must be disposable single-use-only. Single-use razors may be used for one patron only and must then be discarded.
44:12:01:22. General-use equipment -- Sanitization required. All surfaces, counters, and general-use equipment in the tattooing area must be cleaned and sanitized before a patron is seated. See Appendix B at the end of this article for a listing of approved sanitizing solutions.
44:12:01:23. Linen cleaning and storage. Cloth towels, robes, and similar items used in conjunction with tattooing must be laundered in a washing machine with hot water, laundry detergent, and chlorine bleach between uses. A closed dustproof container must be provided for the storage of clean towels and linen. A hamper or similar receptacle must be provided for the storage of soiled towels and linen.
44:12:01:24. Hygienic practices -- Gloves required. A tattoo artist shall use antiseptic techniques at all times in the practice of tattooing. A tattoo artist shall scrub hands with liquid soap and water thoroughly before beginning preparation to tattoo. Hands must be dried with individual single-use towels. At all times when preparing the skin and while applying the actual tattoo, the tattoo artist must wear latex or vinyl examination gloves, which must be discarded upon completion of the tattoo. A tattoo artist must discard the gloves the artist is wearing, rewash hands, and put on new gloves after an interruption in the tattoo process which requires use of the artist's hands.
44:12:01:25. Skin preparation. The skin area to be tattooed must be shaved if needed and must be washed with germicidal soap and water, rinsed, dried, and washed again with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. A single-use gauze pad or tissue may be used for washing the skin. All single-use products used must be discarded after they are used.
44:12:01:26. Pigment requirements. All pigments must be nontoxic and antiseptic. All pigments which are in a dry form must be suspended in a solution of isopropyl alcohol, distilled water, or witch hazel with only nontoxic and antiseptic additives. Pigments must be dispensed from a main plastic container with a sealable top which allows a single-service portion of the pigment to be dispensed into a single-use container. All pigment dispensed and the material into which it has been dispensed must be immediately discarded upon completion of the tattoo.
44:12:01:27. Design layout. The methods in this section are approved for the design layout of the tattoo on the skin. In the first method, the tattoo artist sketches the design directly onto the skin with nontoxic ink to serve as a guideline for the actual tattoo. In the second method, the tattoo artist makes a stencil using nontoxic ink on tracing paper and transfers the design to the skin by spraying germicidal soap and distilled water directly onto the area to be tattooed and laying the stencil over the sprayed area.
44:12:01:28. Tattoo application. Before placing the tattoo design on the patron's skin, the tattooist must apply a thin coating of a petroleum jelly or antibacterial ointment over the area to be tattooed. This must be applied with cotton swabs, gauze, or wooden tongue depressors which must immediately be discarded. This application may not be directly spread with an ungloved hand.
44:12:01:29. Changing pigments. When changing pigments, a tattoo artist may use a solution of germicidal soap and water or an ultrasonic cleaner to rinse the needle and tube if the needle and tube are used on the same patron. Ultrasonic cleaner solutions and solution containers and covers must be discarded between patrons.
44:12:01:30. Washing of excess pigment. Washing of excess pigment from the skin during the tattoo process must be done with single-use gauze pads or tissue with a solution of germicidal soap and distilled water.
44:12:01:31. Use of styptics. Styptics, if used to arrest bleeding, may be used only in liquid or powder form and must be applied with cotton swabs or gauze which is immediately discarded.
44:12:01:32. Use of antibacterial ointment required -- Care instructions. Upon completion of the tattoo, a tattoo artist must apply an antibacterial ointment to the tattoo with a single-use cotton swab, gauze pad, or wooden tongue depressor which is immediately discarded. After application of the antibacterial ointment, the tattoo artist must apply a sterile bandage. The tattoo artist must provide written instructions regarding the proper care and precautions for a new tattoo to each patron. Care instructions must include the following minimum recommendations:
(1) Remove the bandage after 24 hours;
(2) Wash tattoo gently with mild soap and water and pat dry;
(3) Apply an antibacterial ointment at least twice daily;
(4) Avoid exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight for 2 weeks;
(5) Avoid swimming or soaking of the tattoo until healed;
(6) Avoid scratching or picking of the tattoo;
(7) If redness or swelling develops, contact your doctor.
44:12:01:33. Storage of soiled equipment. Upon completion of a tattoo, a tattoo artist must immerse needles and tubes used for the tattoo in an effective sanitizing solution, as identified in Appendix A at the end of this article, until they can be cleaned and sterilized.
44:12:01:34. Disposal of contaminated products. Gauze, cotton swabs, or other single use products which are contaminated with body fluids must be disposed of in impervious double plastic bags which are securely sealed. When needles, tubes, or other multiple use products used in conjunction with the practice of tattooing are disposed of, they must be sterilized and placed in an impervious rigid container which is securely sealed.
44:12:01:35. Inspection fees. Municipalities which request that the department conduct inspections of tattoo establishments shall remit $75 to the department for each inspection conducted. If the department conducts multiple inspections during a special event, the fee is $25 for each inspection conducted.