About Body Art
Body art, such as tattooing, piercing, branding, and permanent cosmetics, has been practiced for hundreds of years all over the world. In body art, the artist uses various tools such as needles and ink to change the skin of their client. For example, a tattoo artist typically uses an electric tattoo machine that quickly makes many small holes in the skin and inserts ink into them. Body art is often permanent, though some body art can be removed.
Body art can pose a risk to both the artist, also called a practitioner, and the client receiving the art. The greatest risks are from local infections at the site of the body art, the spread of infectious diseases, and specifically the spread of bloodborne pathogens, or diseases that are passed through infected blood.
Rules and regulations are in place to protect the artist, the client, and public health in general. The California Safe Body Art Act provides minimum standards for body art to protect both practitioner and client from transmission of infectious diseases through use of proper body art procedures and control of cross-contamination of instruments and equipment. It is important that body art practitioners follow all regulations to limit the spread of infectious disease.
Public Health processes registrations for body art practitioners and permits body art facilities. The Department enforces the California Safe Body Art Act in Los Angeles County.Summary of the Safe Body Art Act
If you have a business such as a restaurant or retail store which resides in Los Angeles County you are require to hold a Public Health Permit/License in order to operate the business. Please note: If the business is located in the cities of Pasadena, Long Beach, or Vernon, contact the local health department.
Body Art Practitioner Registration
All Body Art Practitioners ("artists") must be over the age of 18 and must register with their local agency. In order to register with the County of Los Angeles you must provide the following:
- Copy of valid ID
- Body Art Practitioner Annual Registration Application
- Hepatitis B Vaccination documentation or a Voluntary Declination of Hepatitis B Vaccination form
- Completion certificate from an Approved Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Training Course
Body Art Facility
All Body Art Facilities, such as tattoo parlors, piercing shops, permanent makeup businesses, and microblading businesses, must have a public health permit. To open a new body art facility business plans, Infection Control Plans, and a Public Health Permit Application must be submitted:
For more information regarding plan check please review: Body Art Facility Plan Check Guideline
Body Art Temporary Event
Body Art Temporary Events and the body art practitioners participating in the event must both have Public Health Permits. Review the following and submit:
Mobile Body Art Facility
Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Training Provider
If you want to apply to become an approved bloodborne pathogens exposure control course provider for the County of Los Angeles complete and submit the following:
Body Art Inspection
For information about Body Art Inspection, please refer to our Body Art Inspection Guide .
Tattoo: the insertion of pigment in human skin tissue by piercing with a needle.
Body piercing: the creation of an opening in a human body for the purpose of inserting jewelry or other decoration.
Permanent Cosmetics: the application of pigments in human skin tissue for the purpose of permanently changing the color or other appearance of the skin. This includes microblading, micropigmentation, lip liner tattoos, and similar procedures.
Branding: the process in which a mark or marks are burned into human skin tissue with a hot iron or other instrument with the intention of leaving a permanent scar.
Report a Problem
Problems at body art facilities can be reported by calling Public Health at (800) 777-9995 or reporting via Environmental Health Online Complaint System. Public Health will not ask you about your immigration status and you can file a report without giving your name.