About Body Art

Body art, such as tattooing, piercing, and branding have been practiced for hundreds of years all over the world. More recently, permanent makeup such as microblading and micropigmentation are other types of body art activities added to the industry. In body art, the artist, also called a practitioner, uses various tools such as needles and ink to change the skin of their client. For example, a tattoo or permanent makeup artist typically uses an electric handheld machine to insert ink into the outer layer of skin. Some body art is permanent, though some can be removed.

Each practitioner is required to register with the County of Los Angeles, refer to the Body Art Practitioner Registration Process section below.

Body art can pose a risk to both the 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 such as Hepatitis B and C.

Rules and regulations are in place to protect the practitioner, the client, and public health in general. The California Safe Body Art Act provides minimum standards to use proper body art procedures and control of cross-contamination of instruments and equipment for body art to protect practitioners and clients from transmitting diseases.

Public Health registers body art practitioners and permits body art facilities to ensure they comply with the California Safe Body Art Act in Los Angeles County.

Safe Body Art Act

If you have a body art business located in Los Angeles County, you are required to obtain a Public Health Permit/License in order to operate the business. Please note: The cities of Pasadena, Long Beach, or Vernon operate their own health department and should be contacted if your business is located within one of those cities.

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.

Contact Us