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Body piercing code of practice

​Your business site

  • Your business site should be clean and hygienic.
  • Use single-use and disposable instruments or instruments that you can easily sterilise.
  • Keep surfaces clean and sanitary.
  • Wear gloves and protective equipment.
  • Comply with minimum standards if you have a shop or a mobile operation.
  • Get a Health Protection Licence to operate.

Work with your customer

Have a conversation with the customer before you start any treatment. Let your customer know what the process will be and be aware of any potential risk to their health.

Give appropriate aftercare instructions to the customer, and check that they understand these instructions.

Provide a safe service

Sterilise instruments

  • All instruments must be sterilised.
  • When you clean and sterilise instruments, keep them so they remain sterile.


  • You may not use any instrument or other article - including any ear or body studs or rings, ear keepers or similar jewellery - unless you sterilise it immediately before using it, or it has been sterilised and kept sterile since it was last used.
  • All body piercing jewellery for primary piercing must be made of high quality 14 carat or 18 carat yellow or white gold, surgical grade stainless steel (316L or LVM), titanium, niobium, platinum or inert plastics.
  • Do not use damaged or scratched jewellery.
  • Do not use jewellery thinner than 14 gauge below the neck.

Best practice: additional recommendation

The Ministry of Health has published ‘Guidelines for the Safe Piercing of Skin’ to help those in the skin piercing industry better understand how to protect themselves and their customers from the risk of infection.

In addition, it aims to encourage operators to reduce harm from skin piercing and promote healthy skin piercing practices.

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