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What is tattooing?
NC General Statute 130A-283 defines tattooing 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.
This includes traditional tattoo, permanent makeup and microblading.
Is a permit required to practice tattooing in NC?
Does a tattoo permit signify a skill level?
No, the permit means that the studio and the artist have met minimum state sanitation standards; there is no testing of artistic ability.
Does the artist have to have a physical exam or provide proof of any inoculations?
What kind of Grade should I look for in a tattoo shop?
Artists are not graded on an A-B-C scale. In order to operate the artist must comply with all health requirements including proper instrument sterilization, proper sanitary technique, general building construction, cleanliness of equipment, approved water supply and wastewater disposal.
I get HIV from a tattoo?
This is highly unlikely. HIV is a very fragile virus that dies quickly at room temperature and is destroyed by general cleaning and sanitizing practices. However, in any setting where blood contact occurs there is the possibility of blood-borne pathogens being transmitted, so proper precautions must be taken.
What can be transmitted during the tattooing process?
The main concerns are hepatitis and localized bacterial infections. Generally, experienced and permitted artists are familiar with proper sanitary methods, which minimize chances of disease transmission.
What is body piercing, and is it regulated in Mecklenburg County?
Body piercing means puncturing or penetration of the skin of a person with pre-sterilized single-use needles and the insertion of pre-sterilized jewelry or other adornment thereto in the opening (piercing the earlobe is generally excluded from the definition of body piercing), unlike tattooing in which only pigment is inserted & does not totally penetrate the skin. Body piercing is not regulated in Mecklenburg County, or in N.C. at this time.
What should I do if I know of someone who is tattooing without a permit?
Contact the Mecklenburg County Health Department at 980-314-1620. They will investigate to verify that the allegations are true, and if so take appropriate legal actions.
If I want to learn the art of tattooing can I work under an established artist's permit?
No. Tattoo permits in N.C. are issued to the individual artist. You can observe an established artist, but to tattoo anyone yourself you must obtain your own permit.
If I want to obtain a permit, what should I do?
Contact the Mecklenburg County Health Dept. at 980-314-1620. An Environmental Health Specialist will contact you to discuss the requirements.
Does a tattoo permit mean the permitted artist can practice tattooing anywhere in N.C.?
No. The permit is specific to both the artist and the studio. If you look at an artist's permit you will see his name, and the address of the studio. If either doesn't match, the permit is likely not valid and you should contact the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
How long is the permit valid?Permits are renewed annually and are good for one year.
Mecklenburg County Public Health encourages all eligible residents ages 12 and older to get a free COVID-19 vaccination.