South African Council for Piercing and Tattoo Professionals
Welcome to the


For the purpose of these regulations the following Definitions apply:

‘The DOH’ shall mean;
The South Africa department of Health.

‘MCC’ shall mean;
The Medicines Control Council of South Africa.

‘The Council’ Shall mean;
The institution that works on behalf of body art practitioners and in conjunction with the South African Department of Health.

‘The Premises’ shall mean;
An establishment (permanent, temporary or mobile) from which any form of tattooing, body piercing and or body modifications are performed.

‘Working area’ shall mean;
All area’s on a premises from which the trade of tattooing, body piercing or body modification will be applied.

‘Clean Area’ shall mean;
A area that is used to perform tattooing, body piercing or body modification procedures within the working area.

‘Dirty Area’ shall mean;
A area that is used to wash, sterilise and handle contaminated equipment and tools within the working area.

‘The Owner’ shall mean;
The person(s) in whom shall be vested the legal title to the business from which tattooing, body piercing or body modification is offered as a trade.

‘Tattoo(ing)’ shall mean
The intra-dermal application of ink(s)/pigment(s) for aesthetic purposes such as beatification, including permanent make up (micro pigmentation).

‘Body Piercing’ shall mean
Using any instrument to make a permanent or temporary fistula in the body into/ through which jewellery is placed. (Including ear piercing).

‘Body Modification’ shall mean,
Scarification, branding, beading (‘pearling’), trans-dermal and micro-dermal implants  that do not form part of a medical procedure, is for aesthetic purposes and is not performed by registered medical practitioners.

‘Body Art Practitioner’ shall mean;
Any person(s) carrying on the trade(s) of tattooing, body piercing and or body modification.

‘Aseptic Technique’ shall mean;
Specific practices and procedures performed under carefully controlled conditions with the purpose of minimising contamination by pathogens.

‘Cross Contamination’ shall mean;
The transference of pathogens from one surface to another.

‘Biocide’ shall mean;
A chemical agent capable of killing organisms responsible for micobiological degradation. Only products that conform to the EU biocide products directive of 98/8/EC (BPD). Products that bear either the CE mark (in accordance with the requirement of the EU Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC), ISO or SABS SANS Equivalent marking.

‘Anti-bacterial’ shall mean;
A substance that kills and inhibits the growth of bacterial and fungal organisms.

‘Customer(s)’ shall mean;
Any member of the public on the premises or member of the public previously having received services rendered by the body art practitioners of that premises.

‘Disposable’ shall mean;
An item designed for single use and that is able to be discarded in a sharps or medical waste bin.

‘Barrier product’ shall mean;
A material that can be suitably used as a barrier between surfaces and effectively limited the chance of cross contamination.

‘Medical Waste’ shall mean;
Any waste, whether infected or not, resulting from tattooing, body piercing or body modification, contaminated and uncontaminated sharps including clinical items which can cause a cut, puncture or injection.

1. Premises

1.1 - General Provisions

(a) The premises shall not be used as or in connection with a living, food preparation or sleeping space unless a permanently constructed partition completely separates the working area.
(b) The working area must be of adequate size and layout to allow for the separation of clean and dirty working areas.
(c) The premises must have within easy access public toilet facilities that are kept clean, well lit, ventilated and in good repair.
(d) Sufficient storage cabinets must be provided for the proper storage of equipment and supplies.
(e) Medical waste bins must be adequately provided for and stored in a safe manner that poses no threat to human health or the environment. All medical waste bins must be clearly marked as such. Owners must ensure that the transportation and disposal or such waste is handled by government registered transporters and in accordance with governing municipal by-laws and national acts.

1.2 - Hand Wash Basins

(a) At least one easily accessible fully plumed basin is to be provided exclusively for the use of hand washing.
(b) Elbow operable, sensor or suitable lever taps must be installed in the basin.
(c) Liquid soap must be available in the immediate area and dispensed by means of wall mounted dispenser or stand alone dispenser.
(d) Disposable Paper towels must be provided for hand drying.

1.3 - Equipment wash sink

(a) At least one fully plumed hand equipment wash sink is to be provided on the premises exclusively for the purpose of washing equipment and instruments.

1.4 - Work area Surfaces

(a) Operating benches, chairs, shelves, cupboards, counters, trays and work surfaces must be easily washable and made from non-absorbent materials
(b) Must be kept clutter free, clean and neat at all times.

1.5 - Ventilation

(a) Must be provided allowing for a consistently comfortable working temperature and allow for the sufficient circulation of fresh air.

1.6- Storage facilities

(a) Must be adequately provided for and suitable for the products and equipment stored within.
(b) Hazardous storage facilities must be clearly marked as such and provide for the safe storage of said items.

1.7- Tools and equipment

(a) Reusable Tools and equipment
i) Must be manufactured from a material that is suitable for repeated sterilisation by autoclave and cold soak sterilisation.
ii) Only professional tattooing and body piercing machines designed and assembled in a manner which prevents contamination of sterilised needle sets may be used for applying tattoos or body piercing.

(b) Disposable Tools

i) Tattoo and piercing needles, razor blades, scalpel blades ,biopsy punches and shaving razors are single use only.
ii) Skin markers/pens that are used;
1. Prior the start of a procedure on the skin must be sterilised with alcohol or autoclave after use.
2. During a procedure on the skin must be single use disposable or autoclaved after use.
iii) Tattoo Stencils are single use and disposed of after each client.
(c) Piercing jewellery used during epithelisation must be homogenous and must release nickel at a rate of no more than 0.5ug/cm2/week.

1.8- Setup/ preparation procedure

(a) Before preparations begin the body art practitioner(s) must first wash their hands with hot water and liquid antibacterial soap followed by immediate drying with a disposable single use paper towel.
(b) Following hand washing a pair of new single use disposable gloves made from Latex or Nitrile must be worn.
(c) All clean area working surfaces must be wiped down with a biocide and then adequately covered with a barrier product. E.g.: trolleys, trays, chairs, benches, arm and foot rests.
(d) All items that the body art practitioner and/or customer will make contact with to perform the procedure; including, lights, switches, spray/squeeze bottles, chair levers, ink/pigment bottles, tattoo power supplies, tattoo machines and clip cords must be covered with or suitably protected by a barrier product that will prevent cross contamination.
(e) All clean area work surfaces such as trolleys and counters must be covered with a barrier product before placing tools and equipment to be used in the procedure.
(f) Sharps and medical waste bins must be suitably placed and secured and if required suitably protected by a barrier product that will prevent cross contamination.
(g) (for tattooing) Pigments/inks must be dispensed into single use ink trays/cups and set up for use before the procedure commences.
(h) All required tools such as needles, grips, tips and clamps must be sterile, pouched and used within the items sterilisation expiry date.
(i) Paper towel, swabs, cotton buds etc, that are not packaged as single use must be dispensed from the roll/pack before commencement and never dispensed during a procedure...
(j) Sterile pouched items are only to be opened in the presence of the client.
(k) Autoclaves and Ultrasonic cleaning baths sharing air circulation with the clean area must be switched off during any procedures or set up.

1.9- Skin preparation

(a) Prior to shaving, marking or applying a stencil the site on the skin and immediate surrounding area on which the procedure will take place must be disinfected by means of single use disposable alcohol wipes or a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 2.5% Chlorohexidine digluconate.products that do not have residual antibacterial properties may not be used.
Chloroxylenol products such as Dettol® and Savlon® are not to be used as Skin Disinfectants for tattooing as they lack residual activity during procedures (their respective manufacturers do not recommend there use in this regard for tattooing)
(b) Hair is to be removed with a single use disposable razor.
(c) Products used for the application of stencils must not be in the form of ‘roll on’ and must be dispensed or applied in a manner that prevents cross contamination.

2.0- During procedures

(a) No contact can be made with items outside of the clean area unless there is a glove change before making contact and after making contact.
(b) The handling of contaminated or used needles and disposable items is to be minimised by the immediate disposal of the item(s) after use in the appropriate medical waste containers.
(c) Re-usable tools and equipment that becomes contaminated or used must be placed in a wash up tray for removal to your dirty area before your next customer.
(d) Cleaning of the skin must be performed with a ph balanced soap that is adequately diluted into purified water and dispensed by means of a squeeze/wash bottle.
(e) Decantering of products such as Vaseline - must be done in a manner that prevents cross contamination.
(f) New gloves are to be worn prior to applying any dressings.

2.1- After procedure

(a) New gloves are to be worn for the ‘break down’ of the clean working area.
(b) All barrier products including excess must be discarded into a medical waste bin.
(c) Wash up trays must be removed to your dirty area wash basin.
(d) Disinfect all clean area work surfaces with a Biocide.

2.2- Sterilisation

(a) All non-disposable equipment (clamps, tips, grips etc) must be cold soaked in a equipment/tool biocide for the recommend time as prescribed by the manufacturer.
(b) After cold soak items must rinsed with clean running water and then cleaned by means of an ultrasonic cleaning bath containing equipment/tool biocide suitable for such purposes or manually cleaned by scrubbing all surface areas and crevices.
(c) Cleaned equipment must be rinsed with clean running water to remove any residue from the cleaning process.
(d) Dry equipment with disposable paper toweling.
(e) Place each item of cleaned equipment in a single use disposable indicator autoclave bag - one item per bag.
(f) Seal the autoclave bag if self-sealing, heat sealing must be completed with a 1cm seal or a 1cm double fold secured down with autoclave indicator tape.
(g) Date the indicator autoclave bag.
(h) Remove the packing trays or basket from the autoclave and stack the equipment leaving air pockets between each piece - stagger stacking helps create these air pockets. Never over pack the Autoclave.
(i) Use the cycle as recommended by the Autoclave manufacture for the materials being sterilised.
(j) Where the autoclave has no drying cycle, place all autoclaved equipment straight from the autoclave into a heated dry heat steriliser.
(k) Once dry, remove sterilized equipment to a designated closable storage unit.