Rockingham County Environmental Health locally enforces the 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 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) unless using disposable needles, bars & tubes, a sink for every 5 artists to be used for hand washing by only the artists, 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 is issued a permit.
Persons who intend to practice as a tattoo or permanent makeup artist must contact the Rockingham County Environmental Health. An Application must be submitted 30 days prior to beginning work along with the permit fee of $255. Permits are good for 12 months and must be renewed annually by submitting the application along with the permit fee of $255. It is recommended that anyone setting up a new studio contact the Health Department so an Environmental Health Specialist (EHS) can review the requirements with them before work begins. There is no fee for the review and it can prevent delays in obtaining a permit plus prevent the costly replacement of equipment the applicant might purchase that doesn't meet state requirements.
It is important to understand that the permit is issued to a specific artist at a specific location. That is, the studio & the individual artist must both meet regulations. An artist who practices at more than one studio, or who moves to another studio, must get a new permit at each location. Conversely, at a studio with more than one artist each artist must have a separate permit. Apprentices cannot work under an artist's permit; they must have their own permits.
Body piercing is not regulated under NC Public Health laws or rules or by local ordinance in Rockingham County.
It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 in the state of North Carolina. Anyone who violates this is guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor under
General Statute § 14-400. If your underage child has been tattooed in North Carolina and you want to press charges, please contact Environmental Health at (336)342-8180 or fill out the on line complaint form.
It is illegal to tattoo in the state of North Carolina without first receiving a permit to operate as a tattoo artist. Anyone who violates this is guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor under General Statute § 14-400. If you know of someone who is tattooing without a permit, please contact Environmental Health at (336)342-8180 or fill out the on line complaint form.
If you have a complaint regarding a tattoo parlor or a tattoo you received, please contact Environmental Health at (336)342-8180 or fill out the on line complaint form.