Skin Penetration (Piercing and Acupuncture), Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy  

Skin Penetration 

Skin penetration is as a procedure in which the skin is cut, punctured, torn or shaved or the mucous membrane is cut, punctured or torn. This includes tattooing, branding; body piercing, acupuncture, scarification, dermal anchors and three dimensional art, body modifications and some beauty therapy treatments. All persons who perform skin penetration procedures and the premises in which these procedures are performed are required to comply with the provisions of the Health (Skin Penetration) Regulations 1998 (the Regulations) and Code of Practice for Skin Penetration Procedures. 

The Code of Practice specifies the minimum standards that must be adhered to minimise the spread of infectious disease. It provides for specific measures that must be implemented regarding hand washing, the use of personal protective equipment or clothing and the handling and disposal of sharps and other contaminated materials. 

Depending upon the type of activities to be conducted in addition to the Regulations and Code of Practice there may be additional criteria that needs addressing, please refer to the specific procedures for body piercing, tattooing and beauty therapy treatments below for additional information. 

The legislation requires; 

  • All skin penetration establishments to notify the local government in which the premises is located, 
  • compliance with the Code of Practice; and 
  • mandates that all individuals known or suspected to have an infectious disease must advise the skin penetration practitioners prior to any procedure. 

The Department of Health website provides more information on skin penetration. 

Body and ear piercing 

All body piercers must be familiar with the provisions on body piercing (under s.104A of the Children and Community Services Act 2004) which prohibit the piercing of a child under 18 years of age in any intimate area. Children must have written consent from their parent or guardian for all non-intimate body piercings (nose, tongue, face, belly button or other skin surfaces). Consent from a parent or guardian is not required where a child is aged 16 years or over. For further information please refer to the Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support, Child Protection’s website 

Tattooing and Branding 

Similar to body piercing the Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support, Child Protection has established age limits for tattooing and branding. The minimum age is 18 years of age for both procedures unless parental consent is granted for minors. 


Hairdressing premises are governed by the Hairdressing Establishments Regulations 1972 and are subject to inspection by Environmental Health Officers. 

Being a skin penetration activity, the use of cutthroat razors is strictly limited to the use of interchangeable single use blades. The Department of Health Use of cut throat razors in the hairdressing industry fact sheet has more information. 

Applying for Skin Penetration, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy Establishments 

The following steps are involved to apply for approval to operate one of the above businesses: 

  1. Contact the City's planning services to ensure the use is approved for the respective premises 
  2. Complete and return the application form, including plans  
  3. An environmental health officer contacts you to arrange an assessment of the premises and operations against requirements under the relevant regulations 


Application for Skin Penetration/Beauty Therapy/Hairdressing Business