Information You Should Know Before Getting a Tattoo or Body Piercing

What laws govern tattooing and body piercing?

How can I find out if a tattoo parlor or body piercing facility is licensed?

How does Indiana define tattooing and body piercing?

What should I look for when I go into a tattoo parlor or body piercing facility?

What training must tattoo and body piercing artists have?

Are there restrictions on who can get a tattoo or body piercing?

What kind of infections could I risk from getting a tattoo or body piercing?

What are some signs of an infection?

Could I become allergic to a tattoo?

Could I become allergic to a body piercing?

Are certain types of jewelry recommended for new piercings?

How long of a healing time should I expect with my body piercing?

Contact Us

MCPHD Tattoo Licensing Packet

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What laws govern tattooing and body piercing?

Indiana Code 16-19-3-4.1 allows the Indiana State Department of Health to adopt rules regulating the sanitary operations of tattoo parlors. 410 IAC 1-5 contains the rules adopted by the State Department of Health. Chapter 19, Article 7 of the Code of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County concerns minimum standards for tattoo parlors and body piercing facilities.

410 IAC 1-5: The Guide For Sanitary Operations of Tattoo and Body Piercing Facilities in Indiana

http://www.in.gov/isdh/publications/tattoo/

Chapter 19, Article 7: Minimum Standards for Tattoo Parlors and Body Piercing Facilities

http://www.hhcorp.org/HHcode_pdf/19.pdf

How can I find out if a tattoo parlor or body piercing facility is licensed?

In Marion County, contact the Department of Water Quality and Hazardous Materials Management at (317) 221-2266 for questions about tattoo parlors and body piercing facilities.

Contact the Indiana State Department of Health at (317) 233-1325 for other Indiana Counties.

How does Indiana define “tattoo” and “body piercing”?

Indiana Code 35-42-2-7(a) and 410 IAC 1-5-19 defines “tattoo” as, “any indelible design, letter, scroll, figure, symbol or other mark placed with the aid of needles or other instruments; or any design, letter, scroll, figure or symbol done by scarring upon or under the skin.” Indiana Code 35-42-2-7(b) and 410 IAC 1-5-3.6 defines “body piercing” as “the perforation of any human body part other than ear lobe for the purpose of inserting jewelry or other decoration or for some other nonmedical purpose.”

What should I look for when I go into a tattoo parlor or body piercing facility?

What training must tattoo and body piercing artists have?

Yearly training on bloodborne pathogen disease transmission for tattoo artists, body piercers and anyone who has contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials is a requirement of 410 IAC 1-5. The American Red Cross chapters within Indiana offer a bloodborne pathogen course called "Preventing Disease Transmission/Universal Precautions."

Tattoo artists or body piercers are not required to receive training or certification on the tattooing or body piercing process.

Are there restrictions on who can get a tattoo or body piercing?

Indiana Code 35-42-2.7 (c) and (d) makes it a Class A misdemeanor to provide a tattoo or body piercing to a person who is less than 18 years of age. A person may provide a tattoo or body piercing to a person less than 18 years of age if a parent or legal guardian is present and provides written permission. Indiana Code 35-42-2-7 (e).

What kind of infections could I risk from getting a tattoo or body piercing?

Exposure to blood and other possible infectious material (OPIM) may increase the risk of contracting an infection and/or communicable disease. The risk of a negative health outcome is reduced when universal procedures are followed. The risk of infection or contracting a communicable disease is small when the tattoo artist or piercer is following the law.

There has not been a documented case of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) from getting a tattoo or body piercing. However, there have been documented cases of getting Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C when unsterile equipment was used for tattooing and body piercing.

Other possible negative health outcomes or health considerations include:

For more information, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov

What are some signs of an infection?

Talk to your tattoo artist or body piercer about what to expect after getting a tattoo or body piercing.

It is important to do everything possible to avoid infection. Your risk of infection is small if you conscientiously attend to the aftercare.

Although some swelling around the tattoo or body piercing is normal, you should seek the advice of your health care provider or doctor if you have any of the following signs of infection after getting a tattoo or being pierced:

Could I become allergic to a tattoo?

Yes, but this is very rare. Sensitivity reactions occur most frequently to dyes containing mercury, chromium, cadmium and cobalt. The newer pigments do not contain these metals.

Could I become allergic to a body piercing?

Yes, and this is most likely due to the reaction from the metal in the jewelry. While it is possible to have an allergic reaction to any metal including niobium and titanium, which are usually very hypoallergenic, stainless steel is usually the source of most metal allergies. Stainless steel contains carbon and nickel, which can both cause reactions. The condition “nickel dermatitis,” prompted by nickel’s direct and prolonged contact with the skin, can be characterized by redness, itchiness, flaking, burning, swelling and the hole becoming enlarged. The incidence of nickel contact allergies in the overall adult population is estimated at 10 percent with a higher prevalence in women than men according to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.

For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/patientsafety/tips/allergies.html

Are certain types of jewelry recommended for new piercings?

Currently, state rules do not include minimum jewelry standards. The Association of Professional Piercers recommends the following broad minimum standards for jewelry placed in new piercings:

If you have had previous allergic reactions or suspect you may have an allergic reaction, talk to your health care provider about jewelry contents. After your piercing has healed, decorative jewelry may be placed in the piercing. Healing times may vary based on the piercing location.

For more information, contact the Association of Professional Piercers: Jewelry Standards

http://www.safepiercing.org/standards.html

How long of a healing time should I expect with my body piercing?

Pierced Body Part Time it Takes To Heal

Ear lobe 6 to 8 weeks

Ear cartilage 4 months to 1 year

Eyebrow 6 to 8 weeks

Nostril 2 to 4 months

Nasal septum 6 to 8 months

Nasal bridge 8 to 10 weeks

Tongue 4 weeks

Lip 2 to 3 months

Nipple 3 to 6 months

Navel 4 months to 1 year

Female genitalia 4 to 10 weeks

Male genitalia 4 weeks to 6 months

For more information, contact the Center for Young Women’s Health, Boston, Massachusetts

http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/body-piercing.html

Contact Us

Marion County Health Department
Department of Water Quality and Hazardous Materials Management
3838 North Rural Street
Suite 520
Indianapolis, Indiana 46205
Phone: (317) 221-2266
Fax: (317) 221-2288

Indiana State Department of Health
2 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Phone: (317) 233-1325

Links

410 IAC 1-5: The Guide For Sanitary Operations of Tattoo and Body Piercing Facilities in Indiana

http://www.in.gov/isdh/publications/tattoo/

Chapter 19, Article 7: Minimum Standards for Tattoo Parlors and Body Piercing Facilities

http://www.hhcorp.org/HHcode_pdf/19.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/patientsafety/tips/allergies.html

Association of Professional Piercers

http://www.safepiercing.org