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Luton Borough Council

Acupuncture, tattooing, piercing and/or electrolysis licence

The regulation of premises or persons involved in ear piercing, tattooing, acupuncture and electrolysis and to ensure safe and hygienic operation.

Apply for a piercing related licence

Relevant legislation: Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

Do I need a licence?

There are a number of hazards associated with skin piercing activities, including bacterial infection and the transmission of blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B/C and HIV.

Because of this, any person carrying on the activities of acupuncture, electrolysis, tattooing or ear piercing within the area of Luton Council is required to register with the council under the provisions made in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

The registration process

Registration is required for both the person carrying out the skin piercing activity and the premises where the activity is to take place. A one off fee is payable to register the premises and also an operator; additional persons can be added for a supplementary fee.

Should the person conduct any skin piercing activities at other premises, they will need to register themselves at that premises also and pay the required fee.

Note, however, that when a registered skin piercer visits people at their request to carry out skin piercing activities (for example at their home) that premises will not require registration by only the operator themselves. If the operator wishes to extend their service outside the Luton Council area, they should notify the other authority for advice on registration arrangements.

Upon receipt of the completed application and fee, a visit will be made by an officer from the Health and Safety team to ensure that the conditions specified in the byelaws are met. If the officer is satisfied, a certificate of registration will be issued.

This should be displayed in a prominent position on the premises where the activities take place. Please note that, as well as complying with the byelaws, businesses also have a duty to meet the relevant requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and the associated regulations.

Businesses or operators found to be contravening local byelaws may have their registration suspended or cancelled by the courts.


Registration is not required when skin piercing is carried out by, or under the supervision of, a person who is registered as a medical practitioner (or, in the case of acupuncture only, a dentist).

The injection of Botox and cosmetic filler implants are not classed as skin-piercing activities under the 1982 Act. Note that Botox is a prescription only medicine and can only be administered to a defined patient by a doctor, or by a nurse under the supervision of a doctor.

Hair removal by the use of Class 3B and 4 lasers and/or intense pulsed light sources require registration with the Care Quality Commission.

Advice to the public

If you’re unsure if an operator offering skin piercing and other specials treatments is registered, you can request to see their registration certificate which should be on display, or contact the Council to see if they are included on our register.

What are the conditions of the licence?

Registration depends on compliance with Luton’s local byelaws for the regulation of acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing and electrolysis which require, amongst other things, cleanliness of the premises, and sterility of equipment such as needles etc. as well as hygiene of the piercer themselves. The byelaws can be download at the bottom of the page.

How much does it cost?

There is a one-off charge for registration, which covers the premises where the skin-piercing or other treatments takes. Additional persons can be added to the registration for a further fee. Please see downloads area at the bottom of this page for current fees information. Note that the cost of registration is subject to annual review.

What information or evidence will I need to provide?

Any information required to progress your application will be requested by the relevant application form itself and include details of the premises, detail of operators, any previous registrations with other local authorities. However, dependent on the findings of the inspection by us or other authorised person such as nurse or medical practitioner, further information or clarification may be requested prior to granting a licence or registration.

Are there/inspections or assessments?

Prior to granting a licence, an officer will arrange for an inspection to establish if the requisite standards are being met.

If I’m turned down, how do I appeal?

Any person aggrieved by Luton Council’s refusal to register an operator or premise may follow our complaints policy and procedure.

How long will it take you to process my application?

Due to inspections by the council and possibly by others such as medical practitioners, applications can take up to 28 days to process, from receipt of the application to grant of licence or registration.


Contact info
Business and Consumer Services
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 510330
Fax: 01582 546676
[email protected]


© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ