SOUTH Tyneside Council is making its mark by tightening registration rules surrounding people doing tattooing and other cosmetic procedures.
The rise in popularity of skin piercing and body colouring has led to an increase in the number of borough businesses offering these services.
Now the council is looking to adopt new bylaws to improve the regulation of these activities – and prevent health risks to customers.
The bylaws would include practitioners carrying out acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing and electrolysis.
Skin piercing in particular puts people at risk of skin infections and of having an allergic or toxic reaction to various substances used on or in the skin.
A report to be presented to South Tyneside Council’s cabinet next Wednesday asks members to endorse new bylaws which would help to ensure that businesses, including beauticians, could be licensed and have regular inspections.
It’s a move which has made an impression on registered borough tattooist Ray Lindsay, owner of Ink Spot Tattoo Studio at Collingwood Street in South Shields, who welcomed any tightening of the rules.
He said: “It’s right that everyone has to comply with the same rules. You hear all the time about people picking up tattoo gear on eBay. It’s simple to do – a kit can cost as little as £50.
“Of course gear for that price is rubbish, but in the wrong hands it can be a lethal weapon.
“I’m in regular contact with environmental health over the rules that need to be abided to, but others aren’t.
“All we’re asking for is that everyone abides by the same rules. This change being proposed is a move in the right direction.”
Coun Moira Smith, the council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “The purpose of adopting the new byelaws is to help minimise risks to individuals.
“In recent years the cosmetic industry has expanded vastly, and we must do all we can to make sure that local residents receive treatments from registered, regulated professionals.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, added: “The new bylaws would help to give local residents confidence in knowing that if they make the decision to have a tattoo or skin piercing, the business will be both licensed and regulated.
“If the bylaws are adopted, my advice for practitioners is to make sure they pay the registration fee, which is currently £73 for the premises and £32 for the practitioner themselves.
“The fees are set on a cost recovery basis which means that the fees cover the cost of administration and inspections and are not profit making.”
Cabinet is being asked to endorse and recommend to borough council approval for the introduction of the new bylaws.
“If agreed, an application will be made to the Secretary of State for confirmation of the change.