The main points
- Before choosing your body artist, make sure they can answer YES to ALL the steps in this checklist.
- If your body artist cannot answer yes to ALL of these questions, choose another artist.
- You need to think carefully about the risks before making your decision.
Safety checklist for choosing a body artist (a person who is a tattooist or body piercer)
Before choosing your body artist, make sure they can answer YES to ALL the steps in this checklist.
These steps are designed to make sure your skin and blood do not come into contact with anything that has been touched by anyone else’s skin and blood. If your body artist cannot answer yes to ALL of these questions, choose another artist. Even if your body artist answers yes to all these questions, you could still be at risk. You need to think carefully about the risks before making your decision.
My body artist:
- is registered by their local council
- can explain the Code of Practice for Skin Penetration Procedures to me
- will not smoke, drink or eat while conducting the procedure
- can explain to me how they sterilise their equipment and uses an autoclave steriliser to sterilise all their equipment
- changes the needle assembly or hand piece after use with another client
- is clean and has a clean and well-lit studio
- washes their hands at the beginning and end of every procedure
- washes their hands whenever they take a break during a procedure
- wears new, single use disposable gloves throughout the procedure and doesn’t touch anything except my skin, the needle, the tattooing machine or the piercing jewellery
- changes gloves whenever they touch anything else
- uses new piercing jewellery only (never recycled piercing jewellery)
- uses new needles, razors and other equipment for skin penetration and throws them out immediately afterwards
- keeps everything that will be used to penetrate my skin in sterile, sealed bags that are opened in front of me
- uses preparation equipment such as stencils and spatulas once only
- transfers tattooing inks they will use on me into small sterile containers and disposes of these small containers with the ink when my work is finished
- puts cleaning solutions, creams and anything else that is put on my skin into single-use disposable containers
- cleans and disinfects my skin thoroughly before it is penetrated
- cleans their work area between clients
- can show me samples of their own work
- talks to me about how to care for the tattoo to prevent infection, and provides me with this information in writing so I can take it home
- provides an after care service so I can have follow-up visits to check the work and get help with any problems.
(Adapted from Healthy Body Art, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, first published by the Health Department of Western Australia, 1999.)
Where to get more information, support or advice
- Contact your local doctor (GP)
- Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics
- Visit Better Health Channel
- Visit Youth Central