Body art tattoos

Body Art Tattoos and Piercing

Body Art Tattoos and Piercing

Creating a tattoo
How Tattoos are Created

Typically, the tattoo artist uses a hand-held machine that acts much like a sewing machine, with one or more needles piercing the skin repeatedly. With every puncture, the needles inserts tiny ink droplets. This process causes a certain amount of bleeding and pain.


The Tattoo & Body Piercing Establishment program is in place to prevent injury and the possible transmission of diseases through tattoos and body piercings. The state law and rules for this program require annual licensing and inspection of these facilities as stated OAC 3701-9

Tattoo equipment standards

Our inspections look at the overall sanitation of the facilities to assure compliance with the state code requirements.

The inspection criteria include:

  • Operator certification in tattoo and body piercing procedures
  • First aid & universal procedures for blood borne pathogens
  • Overall sanitation of work areas and equipment
  • Proper operation of sterilization equipment
  • Records of sterilizer tests & patrons
  • Having established written procedures for:
    • Tattoo and body piercing aftercare
    • Employee health
    • Equipment use
    • Contingencies for equipment failure. 
Local health district

Anyone considering a tattoo or piercing should go to a reputable facility that is licensed and inspected by their local health department.

If not done properly, tattoos and body piercings can come with serious health side effects.


Piercing guidelines

Employees at licensed establishments are trained to ensure that procedures are done in a way that minimizes the transmission of communicable diseases and the risk of infection.

Employees are also required by the state to be trained in:

  • first aid
  • control of transmission of infectious disease
  • universal precautions against blood-borne pathogens
  • appropriate aftercare
Insist on Safety Precautions
Who will be doing the tattoo or piercing?

Do not attempt to yourself or allow an untrained friend to give you a tattoo or piercing! Go to a body art studio that employs only properly trained artists!

In the state of Ohio, body art establishments must be annually inspected by the local health department and are required to have the Approval To Operate certificate.

For a list of inspected and licensed body art facilities, you may contact the Environmental Unit at the Wayne county Health Department at (330) 264-2426.

Does the artist wear gloves?

Make sure the body artist washes his or her hands and wears a fresh pair of protective gloves for each procedure. This is for both your protection and theirs.

Does the artist use proper equipment?

To reduce the risk of hepatitis, make sure needles and tubes are removed from sealed packages. Pigments, trays, or containers should also be unused. Diluting ink should be done with sterile water NOT tap water.

Does the artist sterilize nondisposible equipment?

Again, to reduce the risk of hepatitis, make sure the artist uses a heat sterilization machine (autoclave) to sterilize all nondisposable equipment between customers. Instruments and supplies that can’t be sterilized such as drawer handles, tables, and sinks, should be disinfected with a commercial disinfectant or bleach solution before each use.

Take Good Care of Your New Tattoo or Piercing

Ohio law requires body art establishments to provide each patron with verbal and written care instructions.

  • Remove any bandaging within 2-24 hours. Follow care instructions provided by the body artist.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment, not petroleum jelly, to a tattoo while it’s healing until a scab is formed.
  • Keep the skin clean. Use plain soap and water, and a gentle touch. While showering, avoid direct streams of water on the newly tattooed or pierced skin. Do not rub but pat dry!
  • Use mild moisturizer several times a day on newly tattooed skin.
  • Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds. Keep tattoos out of the sun for at least a few weeks.

If you think your tattoo or piercing might be infected or you’re concerned that it is not healing properly, contact a healthcare provider immediately.