Body Piercing: The Facts
The popularity of body piercing has grown vastly in recent years; its widespread appeal attracts many young people. But despite its popularity, body piercing is poorly regulated throughout the UK.
To practice as a professional often requires individuals who have the necessary qualifications to register with a professional body run by the profession itself. Such a body exists to ensure that professional standards are set and monitored; that the profession is maintained in good standing; and any allegations of negligence are thoroughly investigated. By these means the public should have a degree of confidence in the services offered by members of the profession in that they are competent, knowledgeable with appropriate skills and training.
Body piercing is not regulated in this way. Instead, a degree of regulation is imposed on body piercers by the local authority, but even then generally this is only in terms of hygiene standards.
- No specific legislation governing the body piercing industry
- No recognised qualifications and training for body piercers
- No minimum age limit for body piercing, apart from intimate piercings
Young people may be putting themselves at risk because they lack the knowledge and understanding to make informed choices when it comes to body piercing.
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Local Government Act 2003 gives local authorities the power to require body piercing studios in their area to register with them. A consequence of registration being left in the hands of each local authority is that the code of practice they require piercing studios to follow will differ from one area to another.
In Sheffield premises are inspected every 12-18 months to ensure that hygiene standards are being followed and are operating effectively. This inspection (although essential in maintaining hygiene standards) by the Health Protection Service, cannot impose an age limit for body piercing of children nor does it require body piercers to hold any qualifications or training.
Local authorities may differ in their approach to regulate body piercing, so please check with your own local authority to understand how body piercing is regulated in your area.
If you work with young people and have concerns about body piercing, then the Dan Aid Body Piecing Teaching Resource will help you to explore these issues with your young people in an appropriate and engaging way.
The Body Piercing Teaching Resource First Edition’ is available to purchase now and is guaranteed to become a valuable addition to your school or other teaching establishments’ resources. To find out more click here.