Hygiene Ratings for Tattooists

by Andrea Darby - Master Medical Tattooist & Industry Educator
Hygiene Ratings

Many consumers are aware there are the required hygiene standards and then those who exceed the required standards, now one council in the UK has introduced a rating system for tattooists to help consumers identify those making the extra effort.

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Most local health regulators have at least some basic requirements in hygiene standards for tattoo services operating in their area. The governing health Acts & Regulations should be regarded as the minimum standard and some service providers exceed their local requirements by voluntarily adopting higher standards of hygiene within their general salon practices and their procedural protocols.

The most Savvy consumers and those with a professional health qualification will be aware that for traditional body art tattooists and even more so for cosmetic tattooists there are two poles emerging within standards of practice that would be considered acceptable;

  1. Those meeting the minimum hygiene requirements.
  2. Those aspiring to 'Best Practice'.

One example would be the use of clean gloves vs. the use of sterile gloves, many health regulators expect that tattooists use a clean pair of disposable gloves for every client but at the same time they may recommend the use of sterile gloves. As mentioned in a previous article published here 'Personal Protective Equipment - Are You Covered' Standard aseptic non-touch technique requires "Use sterile gloves if key parts must be touched" therefore a tattooist would need to be using sterile gloves to legitimately claim that they are practising at that standard and complying with 'Best Practice'.

One council located in Medway in the United Kingdom has identified that there are those traditional tattooists and semi-permanent makeup practitioners who are exceeding hygiene requirements and aspiring to best practice. The problem is that how do potential customers of those services know which services are providing the higher hygiene standards?

Medway council have come up with a novel solution a voluntary scheme that proposes to rate the hygiene standards for those services who sign up. The scheme is available to registered tattooists and semi-permanent makeup artists located in Medway and across the whole of the county of Kent.

The rating scheme begins on 01/06/2015 and those participating will be subject to an annual inspection after which they will be able to display a sticker in their window disclosing their hygiene rating for all potential clients to see. The rating will operate similar to a food premises rating with a score between 1-4, 1 (being the lowest), 2 (satisfactory / basic minimum standards), 3 (Good) and 4 (Very Good / i.e. Best Practice).

Medway Councillor Peter Hicks who is responsible for Community Safety was quoted as saying;
"This scheme will enable customers to make an educated choice about which business to select and it will allow the council to drive up standards of those who may not yet be operating at the required level."


What are your thoughts on this experiment by Medway Council would it work in your location?


Original publication date: 27/05/2015

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