Skin Penetration

Local Council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) maintain registers and regularly inspect the various skin penetration premises and regulate on the North Coast. These types of premises of skin penetration industries include:

  • acupuncture
  • beauty treatments
  • body piercing
  • colonic lavage
  • cosmetic enhancement
  • ear piercing
  • nose piercing, and tattooing.

but does not include a procedure carried out in the practice of registered medical practitioner, dentist, chiropractor, osteopath, dental technician, nurse, optical dispenser, optometrist, pharmacy, physiotherapist, podiatrist, psychologist. Similarly it does not include a procedure carried out by a person acting under the direction or supervision of such a professional where the procedure is carried out as part of that professional practice.

These professionals have their own legislation and infection control guidelines. Procedures carried out by barbers and hairdressers, and procedures where skin penetration is not intended as part of the process are not considered to be skin penetration procedures. They are not covered by the legislation. Periodically the EHOs of the Public Health Unit (PHU) conduct compliance surveys of skin penetration premises, conduct update training with local Council EHOs, and prepare media releases about the laws and issues relating to skin penetration practices.

It is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18, unless parental consent is given. Breaches of this legislation are investigated and administered by the NSW Department of Community Services.

There are no age limits set in NSW for body piercing.

Fact sheets, guidelines and other information on skin penetration matters can be found on the NSW Health website.