Tattoos and Piercings

Is it safe?

Tattooing and piercing services are performed by staff who are required to take measures to protect you from infection. Infection can spread through blood or body fluids on dirty tools and work surfaces. Infections can be spread even when skin penetration does not happen.

All tattoo and piercing businesses are inspected by our Public Health Inspectors and they must meet the requirements of Ontario Regulation 136/18: Personal Services Settings.

Watch this video to see what infection prevention standards should look like Public Health and You: Salon and Spa Safety Video.

Choosing a service

When choosing a service there a few things to keep in mind:

  • Work stations should be clean, well-lit and organized
  • Tools and equipment should be in good condition, clean and kept covered until ready for use
  • All pre-packaged, pre-sterilized equipment must be opened at time of service in front of the client
  • All reusable items (needle bars, forceps) must be cleaned and disinfected after each client
  • The service provider should wash their hands before starting a service
  • The service provider should use gloves during tattooing and piercing services

Refuse any service if you feel unsafe. If you suspect the salon or spa is not following infection prevention practices, file a complaint with Public Health.

Protecting yourself

  • Make sure you have received your Hepatitis B vaccination
  • Do not have a service performed if you have an infection on the area where work will be performed
  • Ask the tattooist or piercer questions about their infection-prevention practices

Making a complaint

Call 519-575-4400 to make a complaint or report online.

Submit a complaint if you:

  • Develop an infection after receiving a service at a tattoo or piercing parlour
  • Have concerns about the infection-prevention practices or the sanitary condition of a tattoo or piercing parlour

It is helpful for our investigation to know

  • When you went to the tattoo or body piercing parlour
  • Which services you received
  • What symptoms ( i.e. rash) you have and when they first developed

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop a rash, an infection or are feeling unwell after getting a tattoo or piercing.

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