Sure there are cleanliness regulations that have to be adhered to, new needles for each person etc but when it comes to qualifications held by the people doing the piercing and tattooing there haven't, until now, been any issued guidelines to stop just any old Tom Dick, Harry or Hannah from practicing the defacement of bodies or the puncturing of holes!
We found this a bit concerning when we realised and it probably accounts for all the horror stories you hear and see on terrible tattoo sites and suchlike.
But as of now there have been new guidelines set forth to help local authorities and businesses in England make sure practicing tattooists and piercers are up to scratch. The new guidelines will promote safety and consistency across the range of tattooing and body piercing practices, as health risks can arise from improper practice, particularly poor infection control practice. Such health risks include infections, such as the risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses like hepatitis B, C and HIV- all far more concerning than a dodgy mark left on your body!
The guidance has been developed by experienced individuals working with the tattoo and body piercing industry as expert advisors, practitioners or regulators, and has been endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Public Health England (PHE), Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union (TPIU).
A note to anyone looking for a tattoo or piercing in London though - try to go on word of mouth and reputation and remember that 'the best price' really isn't something that should apply to any form of body modification. There are some amazing tattoo and piercing shops in London and all have a great reputation of happy customers to fall back on.
Good news for all concerned we think!
If you want to check out the new guidelines you will find them here.