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The Mecklenburg County Health Department locally enforces North Carolina state rules (15NCAC 18A .3200) for the practice of tattooing. Tattooing is defined as "the inserting of permanent markings or coloration, or the producing of scars, upon or under human skin through puncturing by use of a needle or any other method." The definition of tattooing encompasses traditional tattoo, permanent makeup and microblading.
The NC tattoo rules require tattoo & permanent makeup artists to meet certain minimum sanitation standards. These standards include: each studio having an autoclave (for the sterilizing of tattoo instruments), a sink(s) for hand washing, proper storage & disposal of solid waste, studio kept clean & in good repair, maintaining records of all autoclave tests & also of each client. In addition, each artist must be able to demonstrate knowledge of proper aseptic techniques. (There is no testing of artistic ability). Upon meeting these standards, the artist will be issued a permit.
Persons who intend to practice as tattoo artists must complete an Application for Tattooing Permit. It is recommended that artists contact the Health Department so an Environmental Health Specialist can review the requirements prior to any construction or installation of equipment.
A completed application must be submitted to the health department at least 30 days before commencement of operation.
Tattoo permits are issued to a specific artist at a specific location. An artist who practices at more than one studio, or who moves to another studio, must get a new permit at each location. Each artist within an establishment must maintain their individual permit. It is not allowed for an individual to work under another artists permit.
New Artist $225
On-time Renewal $125
Late Renewal $225
Body piercing is not regulated under NC Public Health laws or rules or by local ordinance in Mecklenburg County.
For questions, please contact:
Chris Sells, REHS: 980-314-1647 or
Environmental Health Front Desk: 980-314-1620
On July 1, 2021 Mecklenburg County will increase service capacity. Read the latest service availability update.