The Middlesex-London Health Unit is advising those seeking tattoos or piercing to obtain these services only from inspected, licensed shops. The Health Unit has recently received several reports of tattoos and piercing being done at unlicensed and uninspected establishments, including people's homes. Anyone who has received a tattoo or piercing at such an establishment, including a private home is asked to contact the Health Unit for follow-up and advice. Tattooing and piercing in uninspected establishments can increase the risk of skin and blood-borne infections, including Hepatitis B, C and HIV.
"People should ask to see proof of a license and recent Health Unit inspection reports before having piercing or tattooing done", says Amy Pavletic, Public Health Inspector. "The Health Unit also recommends asking detailed questions of the operator before getting a tattoo or piercing".
It is important for people who are considering getting a tattoo or piercing to ensure that:
* The operator cleans their hands and wears gloves;
* New sterile needles are used for each tattooing or piercing;
* Equipment is appropriately cleaned and sterilized after each client;
* Skin is appropriately cleaned and disinfected before tattooing or piercing;
* The artist does not re-dip the utensils into ink that is used on others;
* Only jewelry made of high grade sterile surgical steel or gold are used;
* Only ears lobes are pierced with an ear piercing gun; Sterile needles (not a gun) should be used for piercing other parts of the body;
* Appropriate after care instructions are provided on how to take care of the tattoo or piercing until it heals.