Skin Penetration

Local Council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) maintain registers and regularly inspect the various skin penetration premises on the North Coast. The Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2012 regulates the skin penetration industry This industry includes:

  • acupuncture
  • beauty treatments
  • body, nose or ear piercing
  • colonic lavage
  • cosmetic enhancement, and
  • tattooing.
  • And any other types of body decorating industries that involve penetration of the skin.
NOTE: this does not include a procedure carried out in the practice of a registered medical practitioner, dentist, chiropractor, osteopath, dental technician, nurse, optical dispenser, optometrist, pharmacy, physiotherapist, podiatrist, or psychologist. Similarly, it does not include a procedure carried out by a person acting under the direction or supervision of such a professional where the procedure is carried out as part of that professional practice.

Medical and allied health professionals operate under separate legislation and infection control guidelines. Procedures carried out by barbers and hairdressers, and procedures where skin penetration is not intended as part of the process are not considered to be skin penetration procedures. These are not covered by the legislation.

EHOs from the Public Health Unit conduct compliance surveys of skin penetration premises, conduct training with local Council EHOs, and prepare media releases about the laws and issues relating to skin penetration practices.

It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18, unless parental consent is given. Breaches of this legislation are investigated and administered by the NSW Department of Community Services.

There are no age limits set in NSW for body piercing.

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