Conventional/Cosmetic Tattooing and Body Piercing
What are the risks of getting a tattoo? 
Underground Unlicensed Shops 
Licensure and Permitting 
Infection Control Plan

Tattooing Links

Conventional/Cosmetic Tattooing and Body Piercing 

Tattooing and body piercing, or body modification as it is known, has become increasingly popular in recent years.  These activities present a minimal risk if the tattooing or piercings are done by a trained individual following the proper precautions.  Anyone considering any body modification should visit the shop and: 
Image credit: FDA
  • Ask to see the license of the shop and the artist
  • See that clean disposable gloves are used while tattooing or piercing
  • See that the items used are sterile
  • See that no one is eating, drinking, smoking or is ill in the work area
  • Contact the Vanderburgh County Health Department with questions or concerns @ 435-5695 or

Click this link for Information on Patron Rights:

What are the risks of getting a tattoo? 

While a tattoo may only take a few minutes to acquire, it is permanent.  Tattooing involves breaking the skin, one of your body’s main protective barriers.  This means you can be more susceptible to skin and blood infections.  Specific risks include:  

 reaction to tattoo
Image credit:  Dr. P. Marazzi and the FDA

  • Blood-borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C could be contracted if equipment used for your tattoo is contaminated with the blood of an infected person.
  • Unsterile tattooing equipment or re-used ink can cause symptoms of minor skin infections, from redness, swelling, or pus-like drainage, to potentially serious antibiotic-resistant skin infections. 
  • Granulomas, or bumps, may form around the site of the tattoo as a reaction to the ink.
  • Tattooing can cause keloids, or raised areas of excessive scarring, if you are prone to them.
  • Inks may cause allergic reactions, such as an itchy rash, at the tattoo site.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams may cause swelling or burning of tattooed areas.

Underground Unlicensed Shops 

Never have any type of body modification done at an unlicensed shop or by an unlicensed artist, sometimes called “scratchers.”  Often working out of homes, garages, bars or other facilities, “scratchers” do not follow the same precautions as a legitimate artist.  Any unlicensed body modification increases the chances you will:

  • Contract an infectious disease such as Hepatitis C, Strep or HIV
  • Have allergic reactions
  • Experience scaring
  • Have MRI Complications

Unlicensed artist are subject to a fine of $100.00 per day and/or per violation.  Report any unlicensed body modification to the Vanderburgh County Health Department at 435-5695.  Reports can be made anonymously.

Licensure and Permitting 

The Vanderburgh County Health Department has implemented Chapter 5.45 of the City of Evansville Municipal Code and Chapter 5.06 of the Vanderburgh County Code that govern body modification. These statutes require licensure of tattoo artists, body piercers and associated establishments and also set operational requirements for tattoo and body piercing establishments.

To be licensed in the city or county an artist/establishment must complete the required application and show:

  • Certificate of professional liability insurance in the amount of $500,000
  • Proof of attendance at a Blood Borne Pathogen training program given or
    approved by the Vanderburgh County Health Department
  • Proof of CPR/First Aid certification
  • Licenses for establishments, including one artist license, are $300.00
  • Licenses for artist are $100.00
  • Licenses are valid from January 1 to December 31.
  • Contact the Vanderburgh County Health Department with questions or concerns @ 435-5695 or  

Infection Control Plan 

         Written policy to comply with OSHA bloodborne pathogen guidelines fill-in form.          


Tattooing links: 

ISDH Tattoo Information:,  
Guide for Sanitary Operations of Facilities in Indiana:  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Workplace Safety and Health:
Alliance of Professional Tattooists:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration:


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Last updated: 1/13/2014 10:30:36 AM