Arkansas Tattoo Laws
State Of ArkansasArkansas Tattoo Law
§ 5-27-228. Tattooing a minor without parental consent.
(a) Every person who tattoos any minor without the written consent of one (1) of the minor’s parents or his guardian or custodian shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined in the sum of not less than twenty dollars ($20.00) nor more than two hundred dollars ($200).
(b) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Tattoo” means to insert pigment or indelible ink under the surfaces of the skin of a human being by pricking with a needle or otherwise, so as to produce an indelible mark or figure that is visible through the skin.
(2) “Minor” means any person under the age of eighteen (18) years.
(c) This section is not intended to apply to any act of a licensed practitioner of the healing arts performed in the course of his practice.
History. Acts 1957, No. 277, §§ 1-3; A.S.A. 1947, §§ 41-2468 – 41-2470.
§ 17-26-401. License requirements.
(a) No person, firm, or corporation shall conduct or operate a cosmetological establishment, school of cosmetology, beauty parlor, or any other place of business in which any one (1) or any combination of the occupations of a cosmetician or cosmetologist are taught or practiced, except the branch of manicuring as practiced in a barbershop, until licensed under the provisions of this chapter and complying with the provisions of this chapter relating to sanitation. Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to employ, or to allow to be employed, any person not duly registered or licensed by the board in or about a cosmetological establishment as a cosmetician or cosmetologist manager-operator, or as a manicurist, or as an electrologist, or as an aesthetician.
History. Acts 1955, No. 358, Art. 2, § 1; 1955, No. 358, Art. 7, § 3; 1985, No. 215, § 8; A.S.A. 1947, §§ 71-826, 71-850.
Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Permanent Cosmetic and Tattoo Establishments
Section I. Authority.
The following Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Permanent Cosmetic and
Tattoo Establishments are duly adopted and promulgated by the Arkansas Board
of Health pursuant to the authority expressly conferred by the laws of the
State of Arkansas including, without limitation, Act 96 of 1913 as amended, the same
being A.C.A. 20-7-109.
Section II. Purpose.
To protect the health of the citizens of Arkansas by establishing
criteria for the application of permanent cosmetics and tattooing, to require
certification of artists and establishments and require inspections of such
Section III. Definitions.
For the purposes of these Regulations, the following words and phrases when
used herein shall be construed as follows:
A. Apprentice shall mean any person who is training under the supervision
of a certified permanent cosmetic or tattoo artist or physician but cannot
independently perform the work of permanent cosmetic application or tattooing.
B. Aseptic Technique shall mean the practice which prevents or hinders
the transmission of disease-producing microorganisms from one person or place to
another person or place.
C. Artist shall mean any person who actually performs the work of the
application of permanent cosmetics or tattooing, except a duly licensed physician.
D. Department shall mean the Arkansas Department of Health or its authorized
E. Establishment shall mean any place or facility where the application
of permanent cosmetics or the art of tattooing is performed.
F. Health Officer shall mean the Director of the Arkansas Department of
Health or his/her duly authorized representative.
G. Permanent Cosmetics shall mean the application of permanent or semi-
permanent pigmentation to the face for cosmetic purposes or to any part of
the body for scar coverage or other corrective purposes by the penetration of
the skin with a needle or other instrument.
H. Procedure(s) shall mean the act of applying permanent cosmetics or
I. Single service shall mean articles intended for one-time, one-person
use and then discarded.
J. Tattoo shall mean any method of placing designs, letters, scrolls,
figures, symbols or any other marks upon or under the skin by introducing
pigments, or by the production of scars to form indelible marks with the aid
of needles or other instruments.
K. Operator shall mean any person who owns, controls, operates, conducts
or manages any permanent cosmetic or tattoo establishment, whether actually
performing the work of tattooing or not.
Section IV. Artist Certification.
A. No person except a duly licensed physician shall engage in the
practice of the application of permanent cosmetics or tattooing or act as a permanent
cosmetic or tattoo artist unless he or she holds a permanent cosmetic or
tattoo artist certification issued by the Health Officer.
B. These Rules and Regulations are not applicable to any establishment
under the control or direction of a duly licensed physician nor do they apply to
licensed medical hospitals and similarly licensed medical institutions.
C. The following requirements must be completed before any individual
shall receive a tattoo artist certification:
1. An application for a tattoo artist certification shall be filed with the
2. Successful completion of a written examination given by the Department
of Health. This examination shall be based on the Rules and Regulations
Pertaining to Permanent Cosmetic and Tattoo Establishments. It shall insure the
applicant has knowledge of bacteriology and proper technique, to assure that infection
and contagious disease shall not be spread.
3. The applicant shall meet all the current applicable requirements of
the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Control of Communicable Diseases.
4. Completion of no less than six (6) months apprenticeship. Apprentices
for tattooing shall train in a certified shop under a currently certified tattoo
artist who has been certified and operating in compliance with the Regulations
in the State of Arkansas for a period of not less than three (3) years.
D. The following requirements must be completed before any individual shall
receive a permanent cosmetic artist certification:
1. An application for a permanent cosmetic artist certification shall be
filed with the Department.
2. The applicant must be a high school graduate or equivalent.
3. The applicant must successfully complete a written and practical
examination designed by the department. This examination shall be based on
the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Permanent Cosmetic and Tattoo
Establishments. It shall insure the applicant has sufficient knowledge of
bacteriology, anatomy of the face and proper technique to assure that
infection and contagious disease shall not be spread.
4. The applicant shall have a health evaluation that includes:
(a) Establishing that he or she is not suffering from hepatitis, or other
communicable diseases designated by the Department;
(b) Adequate vision;
(c) Adequate color vision.
5. Completion of no less than six (6) months apprenticeship. Apprentices
for permanent cosmetics shall train in a certified shop under a currently
certified permanent cosmetic or tattoo artist who has been certified and operating in
compliance with the Regulations in the State of Arkansas for a period of not
less than three (3) years.
E. No reciprocity will be granted to artists certified or licensed in other states.
ARTIST RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS
Any artist certified by the Arkansas Department of Health at the time of
the effective date of this regulation will be exempt from the requirements for
Artist’s certifications shall expire on December 31st of each year and
are renewable when the applicant meets all the current applicable requirements
of the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Control of Communicable Diseases.
Section V. Establishment Sanitation Certification.
A. No person shall operate a permanent cosmetic or tattoo establishment
unless the shop has received a Certificate of Sanitation from the Health
Officer. No certificate shall be issued or renewed unless the shop has been
inspected and found to be in compliance with the provisions of these Rules
B. The certificate shall expire on December 31 of each year. Renewal
inspections shall be conducted by the Department.
C. No holder of any certificate of sanitation shall allow a permanent
cosmetic or tattoo artist to perform in his/her tattoo shop unless the
artist is the holder of a valid permanent cosmetic or tattoo artist certification
issued under Section IV of these Rules and Regulations.
D. It shall be the duty of the operator or owner of the establishment to
post the current certifications in a conspicuous place where it may be readily
observed by the public.
Section VI. General Physical Environment.
A. Each establishment shall have a work room which is separate and apart
from a waiting room or area. This room shall not be used as a corridor for access
to other rooms. Patrons shall be tattooed or have permanent cosmetics applied
only in the work room.
B. The floor of the work room shall be constructed of impervious
materials and shall be, at all times, maintained in a clean condition. Floors shall be
swept and wet-mopped daily. The walls and ceiling shall be of light color
and be maintained in good repair and shall be of such materials to be easily
cleanable. Floors, walls or ceiling shall not be swept or cleaned while permanent
cosmetics are being applied or anyone is being tattooed.
C. The establishment shall have adequate light and ventilation.
D. Light fixtures, decorative materials and similar equipment attached to
the walls or ceilings shall be kept clean.
E. The building and equipment shall be maintained in good repair at all
times. All parts of the shop and its premises shall be kept clean, neat and
free of litter and rubbish
F. A lavatory with hot and cold running water shall be located in the
work room. The lavatory shall be for the exclusive use of the artists for washing
their hands and preparing the customer. It shall be equipped with controls
which provide for wrist action, soap, approved germicidal solution, individual
hand brushes and fingernail files for each artist.
G. A toilet and lavatory shall be located in the establishment and be
accessible to patrons. All plumbing shall meet the requirements of the
Arkansas State Plumbing Code. The plumbing fixtures and toilet room shall be
maintained in a sanitary manner and in good repair.
H. Single service paper towels or mechanical means for hand drying shall
I. Adequate cabinets for the storage of instruments, dyes and pigments,
carbon, stencils and other materials used in the procedures shall be provided.
J. An adequate number of work tables shall be provided for each artist.
The surface of all work tables shall be constructed of metal or other material
which is easily cleanable, smooth, light colored, non-absorbent, corrosive-resistant,
and easily sanitized.
K. The shop shall have sufficient covered waste receptacles for the
disposal of waste materials.
Section VII. Sanitary Facilities.
A. Water supply. The water supply shall be adequate, of a safe sanitary
quality and meet the current requirements of the Department’s Rules and
Regulations Pertaining to Public Water Supplies.
B. Sewage. All water carried sewage shall be disposed of by means of:
1) A public sewerage system; or
2) An approved individual sewage disposal system which is constructed and
operated in conformance with the standards established by the Arkansas State
Board of Health.
Section VIII. Operation Standards.
A. Record Keeping. The operator shall maintain proper records on each
patron. These records shall be entered in ink or indelible pencil in a bound book
kept solely for this purpose. This book shall be available at a reasonable time
for examination by the Health Officer. The records shall be preserved for at
least two (2) years from the date of the last entry. The records shall contain the
1. The date the procedure was performed.
2. The name, address, date of birth and age of the patron.
3. The branch of service, rate or rank and serial number of the patron if
in the armed services.
4. The design and location of the tattoo, or the cosmetic procedure applied.
5. The name of the artist.
6. The signature of the patron.
In the event of a change of ownership or closing of the establishment, all
records shall be made available to the Health Officer.
B. Consent Required for Minors. No application of permanent cosmetics or
tattoo shall be administered to any person less than 18 years of age without
written consent of the parent or guardian. The consent shall be on such
forms approved by the Health Officer and shall be presented to the operator by the
parent or guardian. The records of the written consents shall be kept on
file for two (2) years by the operator and shall be available at the time of
inspection. Whenever there is doubt about age, the operator shall obtain
proof of age verification by driver’s license or other adequate record.
C. Patron Information. Before applying permanent cosmetics or
administering a tattoo, a discussion of the risks involved and possible complications shall
be conducted by the artist or operator. The patron must be advised that the
procedure should be considered permanent and that it can be removed only by
a surgical procedure and that any effective removal may leave permanent scarring.
A written cautionary notice to that effect shall be furnished to and signed
by the patron and retained on file at the establishment. After the procedure is
complete, written (printed or photocopied) instructions, approved by the Health Officer,
on the care of the skin to prevent infection, shall be given to each patron. A copy of these instructions shall also be posted in a conspicuous place in the establishment.
D. Patch Test for Sensitivity. The patch test shall be administered upon
request by the patron or whenever the artist determines through discussion
with the patron that a patch test of sensitivity to the pigments to be used is
E. Suspected Infections To be Reported. All infections suspected from the
application of permanent cosmetics or tattooing which become known to the
artist/operator shall be reported to the Health Officer within 24 hours and
the infected patron shall be referred to a physician.
Section IX. Restrictions Concerning Application of Permanent Cosmetics or
Application of permanent cosmetics or tattooing shall be prohibited under
the following circumstances:
A. No application of permanent cosmetics or tattooing shall be done on
the person of anyone having a history of jaundice or similar disease, and each
patron shall be questioned.
B. No application of permanent cosmetics or tattooing shall be done on
the person of any individual who is obviously under the influence of drugs or
C. No person suffering from any rash, skin lesion or any skin disease or
possible communicable disease shall be applied with permanent cosmetics or
tattooed. The skin surface shall be free from rash, pimples, infection or recent
D. No person with any disease in a communicable form or suspected of
having such a disease shall perform the application of permanent cosmetics or
tattooing. Such disease may include but shall not be limited to the common
cold, influenza, tuberculosis, scabies, impetigo, syphilis, chickenpox, measles
(rubella), mumps, whooping cough, hepatitis, infection on the hands or arms,
sore throat or jaundice of the skin or sclera. The Health Officer may
require a certificate signed by a duly licensed physician stating the person is free
from communicable diseases before permission to resume operation is granted.
E. No existing tattoo or permanent cosmetic shall be abraded or treated
with chemicals for the purpose of removing except by a licensed physician. Any
attempt by an artist to perform a removal procedure shall result in the
immediate suspension of the artist’s or the establishment’s sanitation
certificate. This section does not intend to prohibit the coverup of
existing tattoos with additional design pattern or application of permanent
F. No pigment disapproved by the Food and Drug Administration shall be
used for permanent cosmetics or tattooing. Ingredients contained in the pigments
must be provided by the manufacturer to the Department upon request.
G. The use of a straight razor is prohibited. Only single service
disposable razors shall be used for shaving purposes.
H. No rusty, faulty or non-sterile needles shall be used.
I. No person shall allow or perform the tattooing of animals in a shop
certified and used for applying permanent cosmetics or tattooing human beings.
Section X. Aseptic Procedures.
A. The artist shall wear a clean outer garment.
B. Before working on each patron, the artist shall clean his/her fingernails
with his/her individual nail file and shall thoroughly wash and scrub
his/her hands with hot running water, an approved soap and his/her individual hand
brush. He/she shall not allow his/her hands to dry without the use of a
single service use hand towel or approved mechanical means.
The area of the patron’s skin to which pigment is to be applied shall be
prepared by washing with hot water and approved germicidal soap. When it is
necessary to shave the area, single service disposable razors shall be used.
Following shaving, the skin must be gently scrubbed with 70% isopropyl
alcohol or other approved germicidal solution, using a disposal [disposable] sterile
gauze pad or sponge.
C. Following the cleaning and the shaving of the patron’s skin, the
artist shall again wash and scrub his/her hands and put on disposable gloves.
During any phase of the procedure, should the artist be interrupted for
other duties, i.e., answering the phone, etc., the artist shall wash his/her hands
as required in Section VIII B. before resuming the procedure. A new pair of gloves
shall be used.
D. Only petroleum jelly as listed in the United States Pharmacopeia or
National Formulary shall be applied to the area to be tattooed and it shall
be in a collapsible metal or plastic tube. The application may be spread by the
use of sterile gauze or sterile tongue depressors but not directly with the
E. When acetate stencils are used for transferring the design to the
skin, stencils shall be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed in an approved germicidal
solution for at least twenty (20) minutes and then they shall be dried with
sterile gauze or air dried before each use.
When stencils are not used and the design is transferred using hectograph
and tracing paper or duplicating carbon methods, the paper or duplicating master
shall not be reused.
F. In preparing nontoxic dyes or pigments, only nontoxic or sterile
material shall be used. Single service or individual portions of pigments in clean
sterilized containers or single service containers shall be used for each
patron. Upon completion, the remaining unused pigments shall be discarded.
Any pigment in which the needles were dipped shall not be used on any person.
Where pigment mixing is necessary to achieve the correct color and follow-up
touch-ups may be required (permanent cosmetics), the original container of mixed
pigment may be kept but only single service individual portions of the mixture used
during the procedure.
G. Excess pigment shall be removed from the skin with an individual
sterile gauze or sponge which shall be used only on one patron and then discarded.
H. The completed tattoo shall be washed with a piece of sterile material
saturated with an approved germicidal solution. It shall be allowed to dry.
After drying, antibacterial ointment shall be applied from a collapsible
metal or plastic tube or single use packet and the entire area covered with a
piece of nonstick sterile bandage which may in turn be covered with a piece of tissue
and fastened to the site with an approved type of adhesive.
The area of permanent cosmetic application shall be washed with an
approved germicidal solution and allowed to dry. Antibacterial ointment and where
feasible, a nonstick sterile bandage shall be applied.
I. A new pair of disposable gloves shall be used by the artist for each
J. All work tables and chairs used in the procedure shall be constructed
of a material allowing easy and thorough cleaning. All surfaces, work tables, and
patron chairs must be disinfected before each new patron is seated.
Appropriate solutions are a 1:10 dilution of household bleach and water or other
approved surface sanitizer.
Section XI. Equipment.
A. A set of individual wrapped sterilized needles shall be used by the
artist for each new patron. Not less than 24 sets of sterilized needles and tubes
or tips must be on hand for the entire day or night operation.
B. All needles shall be cleaned thoroughly before autoclaving. The use of
an ultrasonic cleaner is recommended to remove blood, pigments and other
foreign matter from the needles and tubes. The tubes and needles shall be run in the
heated solution for a period of not less than 15 minutes and then thoroughly
rinsed prior to autoclaving.
C. Sterilization of needles and tubes shall be accomplished by:
1. Holding in an approved autoclave for thirty (30) minutes at fifteen
(15) pounds pressure at a temperature of 248 degrees F. or 120 degrees C. The use
of approved autoclave packaging is required. The date the procedure is
performed shall be written on the packaging. Indicator tapes or strips for checking
temperature shall be provided each time the autoclave is used.
2. Culture testing of sterilization equipment, using appropriate
microbial spore strips, shall be required when deemed necessary by the Health Officer.
3. Approved closed cabinets for the storage of instruments, dyes,
pigments, stencils, duplicating masters and other paraphernalia used in the shop shall
be provided. All needles and instruments shall be stored in autoclave packaging
and handled in such a manner as to prevent recontamination.
D. The open end of the needle tube of the machine shall be cleaned and
sanitized with an approved germicidal before each use.
Section XII. Temporary or Mobile Establishments
A. No person shall be certified to apply permanent cosmetics or tattoo in
any temporary place of business, such as carnivals, mass gatherings or similar
public gatherings of a temporary nature without an approved mobile facility.
B. Mobile units shall meet all the requirements of these Rules and
Regulations with the following additional requirements:
1. Liquid waste shall be stored in a permanently installed retention tank
that is at least 15 percent larger capacity than the water tank. Liquid
waste shall not be discharged from the tank when the mobile unit is in motion. All
liquid waste shall be discharged to an approved sanitary sewage disposal
2. A potable water system under pressure shall be provided. Enough
potable water shall be available in the unit for cleaning and for handwashing. A
heating facility capable of producing enough hot water for these purposes shall be
provided on the unit. The water inlet shall be provided with a transition
connection of a size or type that will prevent its use for other service.
The water inlet shall be coated so that it will not be contaminated by waste
discharge, road dust, oil, or grease and it shall be kept capped unless
C. The Health Officer may impose additional requirements to protect
against health hazards related to a mobile permanent cosmetic or tattoo unit.
Section XIII. Treatment and Disposal of Infectious Waste.
Treatment and disposal of infectious waste including sharps shall conform
to Act 96 of 1913 as amended and Act 41 of 1992. The Management of Regulated
Medical Waste from Health Care Related Facilities.
Section XIV. Submission of Plans.
Before any permanent cosmetic or tattoo establishment is constructed or
an existing structure is converted to use as said establishment, plans shall be
submitted to the Arkansas Department of Health for review and approval. The
plans and specifications shall include the work room layout, plumbing plans,
construction materials and the type and model of proposed equipment. No
permanent cosmetic or tattoo establishment shall be constructed, remodeled
or converted except in accordance with approved plans.
Section XV. Inspections.
Inspection of a permanent cosmetic or tattoo establishment shall be
performed as often as necessary for the enforcement of these Regulations.
Section XVI. Access to establishment; closure for violation; suspension or
revocation of artist or establishment certification.
A. The Department at all reasonable times shall have access to and is
hereby empowered to enter any and all parts of the premises of any permanent
cosmetic or tattoo establishment for the purpose of making inspections to determine
compliance with these regulations. The Department shall also be permitted
access to all required records.
B. If it is determined upon inspection that any permanent cosmetic or tattoo
establishment is being maintained contrary to the provisions of these
regulations, such establishment shall be closed until provision is made to
comply with the regulations and permission is given by the Health Officer to
C. After written notice, the Health Officer may suspend or revoke any
artist certification or certificate of sanitation issued in accordance with these
Rules and Regulations for violation of the provisions of these Rules and
Regulations. The artist or operator may appeal such suspension or revocation as provided
for by the Administrative Procedures of the State Board of Health.
Section XVII. Related Regulations.
All permanent cosmetic and tattoo establishments shall comply with all
appropriate state laws, rules and regulations, including but not limited to
A. Arkansas Department of Health Rules and Regulations Pertaining to
B. Act 402 of 1977, as amended, and Rules and Regulations Pertaining to
Sewage Disposal Systems and Installers.
C. Arkansas Department of Health Rules and Regulations Pertaining to
Public Water Systems and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
D. Arkansas State Plumbing Code.
E. Act 41 of 1992 – The Management of Regulated Medical Waste from Health
Care Related Facilities.
F. The Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Control of Communicable
Section XVIII. Penalty.
Every firm, person, or corporation violating any of the provisions of
these Rules and Regulations shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon
conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred
dollars ($ 100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($ 500) or by
imprisonment not exceeding one month, or both. Each day of violation shall constitute a
separate offense (A.C.A. @ 20-7-101.) Any penalty will be in addition to
other remedies available to the Department, including suspension or revocation of
certification, and civil penalties.
Section XIX. Severability.
If any provision of these Rules and Regulations or the application
thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not
affect other provisions or applications of these Rules and Regulations which can
give effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the
provisions hereto are declared severable.
Section XX. Repeal.
All regulations and parts of regulations in conflict herewith are hereby
Statutory Authority: A.C.A. @ 20-7-109