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Tattooing, Piercing, Acupuncture & Electrolysis

If you want to carry out any form of skin piercing activity in the New Forest, you must first register with us, unless you are a registered medical doctor, or are operating under the supervision of doctor.  Both the premises and people carrying out the piecing will need to be registered.

Please note, we currently do not register aesthetic treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, dermal implants, vitamin injections, laser treatments or tattoo removal.

The purpose of registration is to protect members of the public from the transmission of blood borne viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and other infections, by ensuring the hygienic operation of the business, through assessment of the treatment areas and hygienic practices of the operator.

Approved byelaws set out the standards for the operation of special treatment businesses (see below). We will also ensure that relevant health and safety regulations are followed. The main legislation is the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

You should make sure that you use registered premises and practitioners, and should ask to see proof of registration before beginning a procedure. If you are unsure that a premises is registered and wish to check, or you suspect a premises is not registered, please contact us.

Phone: 023 8028 5411

On this page:

Skin piercing activities which need to be registered

  • cosmetic piercing (including ear piercing, body piercing and micro-needling)
  • tattooing
  • semi-permanent skin colouring (including semi-permanent makeup, micropigmentation and microblading, and temporary tattooing)
  • electrolysis
  • acupuncture (including dry needling)

Apply for registration

  • each skin piercing business premises requires a single premises registration
  • every person operating in the premises require a personal registration (if you operate at several premises in the New Forest area, you will only require a single personal registration to operate from all premises)

You can apply for just a premises or just a personal licence, or you can apply for both using the form below. The form allows for the registration of multiple practitioners if required.

On the online form's dropdown menu, select 'Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (skin piercing).


The fees related to skin piercing are as follows:

  • premises registration only: £155
  • practitioner registration only: £63
  • premises and personal registration: £218
  • application to include additional activities: £63
  • minor variation: £19

The fees cover the cost of administration and inspection of the premises.

A minor variation such as a change of business name or amendment to a practitioner's name is charged at the rate listed above. This reduced fee does not apply where the ownership of a business is changed; the full fee is applicable.

Additional activities added after a premises or practitioner have been registered are charged at the rate listed above per activity or practitioner.

Cheques should be made payable to New Forest District Council. Alternatively once you have applied, we will contact you to take payment by debit or credit card over the phone. 

What happens next

We will carry out a visit to your premises to ensure that your procedures and the premises are suitable and compliant with local byelaws prior to issuing registration certificates.

During our visit, we may also look at broader compliance with health and safety law. It is in the public interest that we process your application before registration can be granted and therefore tacit consent will not apply. As a result you should not operate until your registration has been approved.

Registration will remain in force until either the business ceases to exist or registration is cancelled.


You must ensure that you operate in accordance with our local skin piercing byelaws. These byelaws require that procedures, equipment and facilities used are safe and hygienic, and measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease.

Skin Piercing Byelaws (PDF) [166KB] (opens new window)

Information requested

Training and competency: All persons carrying out special treatments should attend a relevant course on infection control and attend a refresher course at least every five years. We will request a copy of training certificates.

We will also request information from practitioners to show their competency, such as:

  • registration of a relevant professional association
  • details of relevant training courses attended (with dates)
  • for tattooists - details of periods of apprenticeships / supervision, including studio locations and duration

Insurance: You must ensure that employers' liability insurance is in place, and are strongly advised to also have public liability insurance to cover claims due to alleged negligence. You are advised to seek professional advice to ensure that you have the cover you need.

Waste: Waste transfer documents and details should be available at all times for inspection.


Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance Toolkit (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)

Body Piercing Operators Guidance (PDF) [1MB]

Micropigmentation Operators Guidance (PDF) [956KB]

Microblading Treatments (PDF) [538KB] (opens new window)

British Association of Skin Camouflage

BIAE - British Institute & Association of Electrolysis

BABTAC - British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology

HSE - Tattooing, ear and body Piercing

Apprenticeships and training

We fully support people training and gaining skin piercing experience as an apprentice. This must be done in a controlled environment, within a registered premises under the supervision of a registered and competent person. It is strongly recommended that approved training is also undertaken. At the point an apprentice or trainee is ready to undertake skin piercing without supervision they must submit a registration application.

Illegal tattooists

We take reports of illegal tattooists or 'scratchers' very seriously. This is because they may be working from premises which are not registered or inspected by us for safety and hygiene, they may use poor quality equipment, and they may be willing to tattoo people under the age of 18.

If you know someone who is tattooing illegally, please contact us and we will investigate.

Contact us

Email:      Phone: 023 8028 5411

Food and Safety Team, Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA

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