Search Button
Divider Home Button

Fact sheet menu image

Body and Ear Piercing

What is body piercing?
What are the health risks involved with body piercing?
What is considered a ear piercing studio?
How is body piercing different from ear piercing?
How often does the Health Department inspect body piercing studios? Ear piercers?
What do Health Department inspectors look for when inspecting a body or ear piercing studio?
Are individual piercing artists certified?
How much does the certification cost?
What are the parental consent requirements for body piercing? Ear piercing?
How should piercing instruments be sanitized?
When should I not get a piercing?
I own/know of a business that performs piercing. Who should I contact to get certified?
I’m interested in getting a piercing. How do I know if the studio is certified?
What other requirements are there for body piercing artists?

What is body piercing?
According to Kentucky law, body piercing is the act of penetrating the skin or body part of a human being to make a hole, mark or scar.

What are the health risks involved with body piercing?
Whenever there is a break in the skin, communicable diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV can be spread.  Proper sanitation and equipment use can reduce the risk of disease transmission.

What is considered a ear piercing studio?Pierced ear
An ear piercing studio is a place where only ears are pierced, using a piercing device only.

How is body piercing different from ear piercing?
Ear piercing studios only use a piercing device with single-use studs and backing. Since the studs and backing are only used once and the device does not come into contact with the skin, piercing devices do not have to be sterilized in between uses.

How often does the Health Department inspect body piercing studios? Ear piercers?
The Health Department inspects body piercing studios twice per year, and ear piercing studios once per year.

What do Health Department inspectors look for when inspecting a body or ear piercing studio?
The inspection of body piercing studios is be similar to inspections of tattoo parlors and restaurants. Health Department inspectors will examine:

Are individual piercing artists certified?
Yes. Any person wishing to perform body or ear piercing must register with the Health Department—even though he/she works in a certified studio.

How much does the certification cost?
Body piercing studios must pay $100 each year to be certified by the Health Department, and ear piercing studios must be $25 each year. Individual piercing artists will also have to pay a $20 registration fee each year.

What are the parental consent requirements for body piercing? Ear piercing?
Any minor under the age of 18 wishing to get a tattoo or piercing must have written, notarized consent from a custodial parent or legal guardian.

How should piercing instruments be sanitized?
Instruments used for piercing should be sterilized using an autoclave. An autoclave kills germs by holding the instruments under steam pressure for a minimum of 15 minutes under 15 pounds of pressure, at a temperature of at least 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

When should I not get a piercing?Equipment in a body piercing studio
Body piercing is prohibited on skin that has a rash, pimples, evidence of infection, open lesions, mole, sunburn or has any evidence of unhealthy conditions without written permissions from a doctor.

I own/know of a business that performs piercing. Who should I contact to get certified?
Contact the Health Department at 859.341.4151 to find out about the registration and inspection process.

I’m interested in getting a piercing. How do I know if the studio is certified?
View a list of certified tattoo and body piercing studios

What other requirements are there for body piercing artists?
In 2011, the Northern Kentucky District Board of Health passed regulations to require blood-borne pathogen education for both body piercing artists and tattoo artists. Learn more about the rules.

Sources: Northern Kentucky Health Department, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Kentucky Revised Statute 211.760