Wales to become first UK nation to introduce stricter rules for tattoos and piercings

The scheme aims to reduce infections and eliminate poor working practices.

Stricter controls on tattoo artists and those working in body piercing are set to be introduced in Wales.

The country is to become the first in the UK to bring in a mandatory licensing scheme aimed at reducing infections and poor working practices.

Clinics that offer semi-permanent make-up, acupuncturists and those who provide electrolysis will also be required to register.

Around 3,500 practitioners operating in Wales will need to be licensed, and 1,868 premises will require approval under the new mandatory licensing scheme.

A 12-week consultation has been launched by the Welsh Government to seek the views of all stakeholders, including practitioners, local authorities and the public.

Ash Davies, the owner of Stronghold Tattoo studio in Cardiff, has welcomed the new rules.

He said: "I think it's great that Wales is leading the way in the UK with raising standards. Any raising of standards is a positive thing and should be embraced.

"The standards in tattooing quality in recent years has dramatically increased - the actually quality of the tattoo - so making sure that the level of hygiene matches the quality is important."

Ash continued: "Keeping the highest standard possible is so important. Without a high hygiene, a tattoo - however well-applied it is - will not heal correctly and will not look good for a lifetime."

Tattoo shop owner Ash Davies told ITV Wales that raising industry standards is a good thing

"The demand is high at the moment. More visible tattoos are also more popular at the moment."

Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton said he is very pleased with the changes, which have been "widely welcomed by practitioners".

“Good standards of hygiene and infection control by all special procedures practitioners and businesses is essential as these procedures are capable of causing harm if not carried out properly", he said.

“This new compulsory licensing scheme will ensure that both clients and practitioners are adequately protected at all times. I am very pleased that these impending changes have been widely welcomed by practitioners in Wales, with many already volunteering to meet the new standards."

Mr Atherton added: “We are keen to receive responses to the consultation from all stakeholders, but particularly from self-employed practitioners and those working as small businesses.”