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Tattoos & Body Piercings

All tattoo, body piercing and permanent makeup/cosmetic businesses must be approved to operate and inspected by the local health department. Statewide rules for tattoo and body piercing were adopted in 1998 and Franklin County Public Health uses these rules to approve and inspect tattoo, body piercing and permanent makeup/cosmetic businesses in the jurisdiction of the Franklin County General Health District. Tattooing or piercing outside the business is prohibited unless the board of health has approved a time-limited operation. The main focuses of this program is to prevent the spread of communicable diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, and Staph infections.

What We Inspect

General Requirements

  • General cleanliness and sanitation of the business and procedure rooms
  • Minimum lighting requirements
  • Staff is trained in first aid, control of blood borne pathogens and proper aftercare

Before and during tattooing or piercing

  • Consent to tattoo or pierce need to be completed prior to tattooing or piercing
  • Tattooing or piercing of minors is not permitted without written consent and the presence of a parent or legal guardian
  • Hand washing is done before procedures
  • Clean, new disposable gloves are used
  • Tattoo areas are cleaned with anti-bacterial soap and an antiseptic
  • Piercing areas are cleaned with an antiseptic or anti-bacterial mouthwash for oral piercings
  • All Tattoo needles and the tattoo gun tubes shall be sterile
  • All Piercing needles, jewelry, clamps and instruments shall be sterile; piercing needles are single use only
  • Disposable needles, tubes and instruments shall be placed in a sharps container
  • Needles, tubes and other instruments may be cleaned and sterilized on site or pre-sterilized and disposable
  • Piercing jewelry used at the time of the piercing shall be 316 low carbon stainless steel, 14-18 karat gold, niobium, titanium, platinum or high-density/low-porosity acrylic

After tattooing or piercing

  • Written aftercare instruction shall be given to the client following the procedure
  • Any reusable equipment shall be properly cleaned, disinfected and sterilized using an on-site autoclave
  • Proper sterilization is confirmed by weekly spore testing of the autoclave
  • All procedure areas and any equipment (including the tattoo gun) shall be cleaned and disinfected
  • Records of all tattooing, piercing, sterilization and spore testing shall be kept and maintained for 2 years.

Interested in opening a business?

Franklin County Public Health requires several steps in order to be approved to operate a tattoo, body piercing or permanent cosmetic business:

Verify that your proposed business is in FCPH jurisdiction

  • We serve all cities, townships and villages in Franklin County except the City of Columbus and Worthington
  • If your proposed business is in Columbus or Worthington, please contact Columbus Public Health at (614) 645-7005

Application and Plan Review

  • A completed application, a fee of $152, and plan review documentation are required to be submitted to our office prior to opening.
  • The application, plans and documents will be reviewed.
  • You will be contacted when review is complete. If there are any deficiencies, they will need to be corrected before an initial inspection is scheduled.
  • Requirements for obtaining operation approval for a body art/piercing establishment

Initial Inspection

Operation Approval

  • When all the requirements are met, the inspector will grant you permission to operate and an Approval to Operate will be issued by Franklin County Public Health.
  • Franklin County Public Health is required to inspect tattoo, body piercing and permanent makeup business once per year.
  • The permit is good from January 1st until December 31st of each year. These permits are not pro-rated, so if you start a business in the middle of the year, you will still have to renew by January 1st.

Operation Approval Information

What is the cost of operation approval?

Cost of approval to operate is $152.

When does my operation approval need to be renewed?

Approvals to operate a tattoo, body piercing or permanent makeup business are issued from January 1st and expire on December 31st. The cost of the operaton approval is $152. Franklin County Public Health will send out renewal applications in early December. Any application received after December 31st will be charged a 25% late fee where applicable.

Time-Limited Events

What is a Time-Limited Event?

A time-limited event is a tattoo or body piercing business that operates on a time-limited basis, in conjunction with a specific event. Examples of such events are fairs, biker rallies, conventions and other gatherings.  This requires operation approval from Franklin County Public Health.

What are the requirements for a Time-Limited Event?

The requirements are the same as for a permanent business. Please note that we do require a hand sink with running water at these events. If the proposed site does not have access to a hand sink in close proximity, there are portable sinks that can be rented by companies that provide portable toilets.

What is the cost of a Time-Limited Event permit?

The cost of a Time-Limited Event Permit is $75 per event.

Helpful Links & Resources

Business Requirement List
Business Application
Time-Limited Event Requirement List
Time-Limited Event Application
Sterilization Log
ODH Tattoo and Body Piercing Rules
Ohio Revised Code 3730 Tattoo and Body Piercing Services
Association of Professional Piercers
CDC on Tattoos and Piercings
Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals