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Tattoo Parlor Regulations

(Olde City Tattoo Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Olde City Tattoo Credit: Mike DeNardo)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Tattoo regulation? Yeah, not so much.

Rihanna marked her concert tour in New Zealand by getting a traditional Maori tattoo. In case the normal tattoos involving needles injecting permanent dye under the skin isn’t gory or painful enough for you, the method Rihanna chose for her umpteenth tattoo involves ink, a mallot, a chisel,’nuff said. Blech.

Here in the US, would that even be legal? What are the federal regulations governing tattoos and tattoo parlors?

There is no federal law that governs tattoo practices or parlors. Most states have laws that prevent minors, under the age of 18, from getting tattoos.

State regulations of tattoo parlors often include requirements that the dyes be nontoxic, that equipment be sanitized, and that the artist not transmit infection by tattooing on an open sore. But state laws vary widely, and enforcement of cleanliness standards may be spotty, so make sure to ask important questions like what’s used to sterilize the equipment and how often, if the artist will wear gloves and whether the needles or, in Rihanna’s case, the chisel, used to tattoo are single use.