Tattoo parlors generally strive to be clean so that customers will come in to get tatoos. A clean tattoo parlor probably means that it is safer, as well. Each state has its own specific laws and regulations for tattoo shops, but most follow a general set of guidelines.
- Sterilization is the most important part of giving or getting a tattoo. Regulations dictate what is clean, and ultimately, what is safe. Regulations for tattoo shops promote professionalism in the shop, which is good both for tattoo artists and for customers. Considerations
- Many states do not regulate tattoo parlors at all, except to dictate what the minimum legal age is for getting a tattoo. However, individual cities, counties and municipalities may have their own tattoo shop regulations. Some states have banned tattooing altogether. Building Regulations
- In most states, the tattoo building itself must be clean, in good repair, have adequate lighting and ventilation, and provide bathrooms for customers. Artist Regulations
- In most states, artists must adhere to a strict sanitation policy. They are required to wash their hands thoroughly before giving a tattoo, and usually must wear gloves. There is to be no food, drink, or smoking in the work area. Artists with communicable diseases may not tattoo.
In order for the tattoo shop to be licensed, all artists working there must complete a health department course on infectious disease treatment, and pass an exam. Equipment Regulations
- In most states, all tattooing equipment must either be autoclaved or soaked in a germicidal solution. Ink containers must be for one-time use, and be disposed of after each tattoo, and all inks must be approved. Artists must only use sterilized or disposable razors to shave the customer. It is also recommended that artists use only EPA-approved disinfectants.
It is imperative that tattoo parlors use only single use needles. The shop must have covered waste containers for used needles and inks, and have special storage cabinets for tattooing equipment that is yet to be used. Customer Regulations
- In most states, customers must be sober, and have signed consent forms. In states where minors may be tattooed, the minor must have signed parental consent forms. Artists must keep records of customers for at least 2 years. Sometime before or after the tattoo process, the artist must orally explain to the customer how to care for the new tattoo.