Body Art


The term tattooing means the inserting of permanent markings or coloration, or the producing of scars, upon or under human skin through puncturing by use of a needle or any other method.

Tattoo Permits

No person shall engage in tattooing without first obtaining a tattooing permit from the Craven County Health Department. To obtain a tattooing permit, a person must apply to the Craven County Health Department. Upon receipt of the application (PDF), the Food and Lodging section shall inspect the premises, instruments, utensils, equipment and procedures of the applicant to determine whether the applicant meets the requirements for a tattooing permit.

A permit is valid for one year and must be renewed annually by applying to the Craven County Health Department. A permit application fee shall be paid upon submission of the application. View a complete list of the rules governing tattooing.

Body Piercing

Through legislation, many states allow body piercing that is performed only by a trained, licensed professional in an environment that provides hospital sterilization and submits itself to health department inspections. Most states currently have legislation regarding personal criteria for the piercer, requirements for the piercing establishment, and highly specific laws necessitating parental consent for the piercing of minors.

The laws and guidelines, along with the efforts of the professional body piercing community and local health department provide those interested in receiving a body piercing with a safe, clean environment to do so, and with a piercing technician who has appropriate training and sufficient experience to be hygienic and proficient.

Selecting the Right Piercer

To reduce risks of an unsafe procedure, you must first select the right piercer, one who:

  • Has appropriate training; is skilled, experienced, clean and professional
  • Practices safe piercing technique and cross-contamination control
  • Works in a hygienic environment that conforms to relevant local and/or state regulations
  • Follows OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standards
  • Has obtained all applicable licenses and permits
  • Spore tests autoclave (sterilizer) regularly and can provide documentation
  • Uses appropriate sterile instruments and jewelry, and sterile disposable needles
  • Takes the time to verbally instruct in proper care guidelines and provides written instructions
  • Is available for follow-up and questions post-piercing, so any developing problems can be resolved before damage occurs

Additional information can be found online at Safe Piercing's website and at Teen Health's website. You can also view helpful pamphlets and brochures.