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Tikanga tiaki mahi kirituhi

Tattooing 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.
  • You must comply with minimum standards if you have a shop or a mobile operation.
  • You must get a Health Protection Licence to operate.

Work with your customer

Talk with your customer before you start any treatment to let them know what the process will be and to discuss any potential risk to their health.

Give appropriate aftercare instructions to your customer, and check that they understand them.

Keep it clean and provide a safe service

Sterilise the equipment

  • Sterilise all instruments.
  • The sterilisation of equipment used in tattooing includes the sterilisation of needles, needle bars, tubes and tube tips. You must use a new sterilised needle set for each new customer.
  • You must not reuse single-use disposable items for any reason. Do not reuse tattoo needles under any circumstances. After use, you must immediately dispose of all needles, razors and other sharps and place them in sharps containers.

Prepare the skin

  • Drape the body area surrounding the skin to be tattooed with a single-use disposable paper product or clean linen.
  • Dispense ointments, lotions, lubricating gel and other products carefully when using bulk products to avoid any contamination of the product.
  • Moisten the skin with a single-use, disposable spatula before you apply the stencil.

Use of dyes, pigments and solutions

When carrying out tattooing on a customer you must:

  • use only dye, pigment or solution, that you have poured into a clean, sterilised container holding enough of the liquid you need for carrying out the tattoo on one customer only
  • only use the decanted dye, pigment or solution while you are doing the tattoo
  • use only pre-purchased ink specifically manufactured for tattooing purposes.

Dispose of used dyes, pigments and solutions

You must dispose of any remaining decanted dye, pigment or solution residue, and discard the container by using an approved bio-hazard waste collection service.

You must not use any dye, pigment or solution residue, remaining on the completion of a tattoo, on any other customer.

Dispose of other materials

You must dispose of any mattress, squab, cushion, or linen supply that comes into contact with blood or body fluids.

Best practice: some additional recommendations

Single-use disposable barriers

Cover instruments, such as tattoo machines and associated clip cords, with an effective sterile barrier:

  • a single-use disposable plastic bag, or
  • a liner that you discard after each use.

This cover provides an extra level of hygiene and acts as a barrier, limiting the amount of contamination to the machine.

Use safe dyes, pigments and solutions

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently developed the “Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Substances Group Standard” to manage the chemical risks associated with tattoo and permanent makeup substances. Check out the EPA guidelines which include a list of substances that tattoo inks should not contain.
  • Confirm with suppliers that any products you purchase fit within the above standard. Any inks that contain hazardous properties, and therefore not within the standard, are not approved under the “Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Group Substances Standard”.
  • Do not use any dye or pigment that has passed its expiry date.

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