Skin piercing licence

The amended Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VIII requires the following types of skin piercing to be registered with the Council:

All of these procedures involve some degree of skin piercing and therefore carry potential health risks to those undergoing them. These can include:

  • Skin infections
  • Allergic or toxic reactions to the substances used
  • The transmission of blood borne viruses such as hepatitis or HIV

Are you eligible?

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

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 etc Act 1974.

Additional legislation, the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969, makes it an offence to permanently tattoo persons under the age of 18. No such statutory restrictions apply to cosmetic piercing or skin colouring.


At present there are no nationally approved training courses available for UK body piercers, although a number of commercially run courses are available.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) would like to see approved training courses become developed for all skin piercing practitioners and for such courses to be made compulsory for all new practitioners. Practitioners should also be required to demonstrate continuing competence in their work activities.

The HSE recommends that basic first aid training and infection control guidance be provided as part of any cosmetic piercing training course.

Apply for registration

To apply online firstly you will need to make the appropriate payment. Take a note of your payment reference number as you will need this to add to the application.

Make a payment

Once you have made the payment you have the option to apply for either a licence or a licence with additional practitioners.

Apply online or Apply online with additional practitioners

If you can't apply online you can download the application form, send the completed form and cheque for the appropriate fee to: Regulatory Services, Trafford Council, Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford, Manchester M32 0TH.

What happens next

Once an application has been made and the appropriate fee has been paid, an inspector may visit to check compliance with byelaw requirements as well as ensuring that general health and safety requirements are being met.

Skin piercing licence costs
Premises registration
(including registration of practitioners at the time of application)
Tattooing & semi-permanent skin colouring £270
Cosmetic piercing £270
Acupuncture £270
Electrolysis £270
For each additional practitioner registered at a later date £92

Your details will be placed on the register and we will acknowledge receipt within 14 days. If you do not hear from us please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.

If you have been refused registration

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a registration should contact us using the details on the bottom of this page. 

Consumer complaints

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the service provider by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Advice Guide will give you advice or you can contact us directly.

From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other complaints

If you wish to complain about nuisance caused by the operation of a skin piercing business or are a licence holder wishing to complain about another licence holder, please contact us either by phone 0161 912 4509, or email at, or alternatively by post to:

Environmental Health Team,
Trafford Town Hall,
Talbot Road,
Manchester M32 0TH