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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 3.00pm on Friday 31 March until 8.00am Monday 3 April 2023: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Register to carry out tattooing, piercing, acupuncture and electrolysis

If you practice acupuncture or operate a business carrying out tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, electrolysis, or cosmetic piercing including ear piercing, you must register with us.

Both the person carrying out the process, and the premises where the treatment is carried out must be registered under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 Part VIII. This requires that the following types of skin piercing are registered:

  • acupuncture
  • body piercing
  • ear piercing
  • electrolysis
  • semi-permanent skin colouring 
  • tattooing

You must ensure that your procedures, equipment and facilities comply with local bylaws - are safe, hygienic, prevent the spread of disease, and comply with the duty of care required by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It is illegal to conduct any of these skin piercing activities unless the premises and the person carrying out the activity are both registered with us.


Registration typeFees 2022/23

Operator registration


Premises registration


Additional treatment (s) requests requiring compliance visit.


Duplicate certificates


Considering your application

  • We must process your application before registration can be granted therefore tacit consent will not apply. 
  • We will visit your premises to ensure the business complies with local byelaws prior to issuing the registration certificate.
  • We hope to process your application within 28 days, however, if you have not heard from us after this time please contact us.

Duration of registration

Once issued, registrations remain valid while the premise is used for the practice of acupuncture, tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic or ear piercing or electrolysis. You must inform us of any changes to the details provided and premises are subject to periodic inspections.

Guidance The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) tattooing and body piercing toolkit provides advice to ensure that you operate in line with legal requirements.

EUGO logo

In partnership with

  • EUGO
Contact us
Safety and Occupational Health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Community Protection
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ