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Body Art


Schenectady County regulates body art studios and body artists- tattooists and piercers- in accordance with the Schenectady County Sanitary Code for Body Art.  Permits are issued to the operator of a studio as well as individual artists, and routine inspections are conducted. 

Need a Body Art Permit?

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Things to Keep in Mind When Getting a Tattoo

  1. Does the artist have a valid permit with Schenectady County?
  2. Does the artist wear gloves?
  3. Does the tattoo shop sterilize its equipment?
  4. Did the artist open a sterile needle in front of you?
  5. Ensure proper care of new tattoo to avoid infection

Make sure your tattooist washes their hands before tattooing and uses single-use gloves, cleans the skin to be tattooed, uses a single-use, disposable razor to shave the skin to be tattooed, if needed, uses single-use sterile needles and tubes and single-use inks, covers the tattooed skin with a bandage, and provides aftercare information.

New York State Health Department

Body Art Event Requirements:

The following requirements must be submitted to the Schenectady County Public Health Services Environmental Health Division 6 months prior to an event: 

The Letter of Intent must include the following:

  • Name of the Event - Location, Dates and Times of operation
  • Name(s) of the organizer(s) and contact information
  • Number of participants


To scale drawing of facility square footage to include:

For each artist showing sufficient floor space with placement of

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Rolling carts
  • Lighting
  • Separation Walls/Partitions
  • Hand Sinks
  • Trash Cans
  • Sharps Containers
  • Power Source
  • Finish material of all equipment above including floors and walls
  • Surfaces of tables and equipment must be made of metal or other material which is intact, smooth, non-absorbent, corrosive- resistant, and easily sanitized.


Measurement of walkways around the stations for customer and public safety.

Seating Area
Location and size of seating area for friends and family of the customer

Break Areas
Location of break areas for artists to eat and drink

Location of restrooms for artist and customers

Emergency Plan
The plan must include:

  • Plan for contacting Police, Fire, and emergency medical services
  • Blood Borne Pathogen OSHA Control Plan as Mandated by U.S. OSHA
  • Schenectady County Sanitary Code Body Art Regulations
  • Injury Report Forms
  • List of names and contact information of Body Artists at the event    


Sharps Disposal
Plan for sharps container pick up and disposal with a contract of the facility used.

To participate in the Body Art event, every artist is required to acquire a Temporary Body Artist Permit. This permit allows body art practitioners to carry out tattooing and body piercing within Schenectady County for a single event that lasts for 14 days or less.

Apply For A Permit


  • Temporary body art stations must be completely enclosed to be protected from environmental factors such as wind, rain, dust, and separated by a half wall if held indoors.
  • Temporary hand washing stations must be available and be properly equipped with hot and cold potable water, liquid hand soap, and disposable paper towels.
  • All temporary body art stations must have properly lighted work surfaces to perform body art procedure
  • The body art station equipment must be cleaned and sanitized after each use. Used equipment must be stored separately from sterilized equipment and supplies.
  • Tattoo needles and needle tubes and piercing needles must be for single use only. If using pre-sterilized body art equipment, the equipment must be in sealed sterile indicator bags dated within 6 months of sterilization
  • All inks must be single-use only. Cups and caps are to be discarded after each customer.
  • Disposable gloves must be changed between each customer or at any time they become pierced, torn, or contaminated by unclean surfaces or objects. Hands are to be thoroughly washed and new gloves put on.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used in conjunction with proper hand washing.
  • Skin of tattoo and piercing sites must be prepared using sterile gauze with hospital-grade germicidal solution
  • All ointments and skin preparations used in the body art procedure must be dispensed in a sanitary manner from single service packets or collapsible tubes and applied with sterile gauze. Open tubes or jars are prohibited.
  • All products applied to the skin, including body art stencils, applicators, gauze, and razors must be single-use only
  • All completed tattoos and body piercings must be washed with sterile gauze and germicidal solution. After air drying an antibacterial ointment is to be applied to the site and covered with a sterile dressing.
  • Before performing a body art procedure, the artist must inform the customer verbally and in writing of the health conditions that may increase health risks associated with receiving a body art procedure. The client must sign a form confirming that the information was provided and that the client does not have a condition that prevents him/her from receiving body art. Consent forms must include the name, address, age, date, type of body art procedure performed, location on the body, name, and signature of the artist. Consent forms must be retained for not less than 5 years.
  • Before performing a body art procedure, the artist must present to the customer all single-use needles that are to be used in the body art procedure in sterile sealed packages. The customer must also sign a form confirming that the artist presented all single-use needles that are to be used in the procedure in a sterile sealed package and opened all single-use needles in the customer's presence. A copy must be given to the customer. The artist must retain a copy for 7 years.
  • Aftercare instructions are to be given both verbally and in writing to the customer
  • All used needles and other disposable materials contaminated with blood or bodily fluids must be properly disposed of in sharps containers. Each station must be equipped with a sharp and covered trash container.
  • No one that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is less than 18 years of age shall be tattooed.
  • No one that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is less than 18 years of age without parental consent shall be pierced.