Body art, such as tattooing, piercing, branding, and permanent cosmetics, has been practiced for hundreds of years all over the world. In body art, the artist uses various tools such as needles and ink to change the skin of their client. For example, a tattoo artist typically uses an electric tattoo machine that quickly makes many small holes in the skin and inserts ink into them. Body art is often permanent, though some body art can be removed.
Body art can pose a risk to both the artist, also called a practitioner, and the client receiving the art. The greatest risks are from local infections at the site of the body art, the spread of infectious diseases, and specifically the spread of bloodborne pathogens, or diseases that are passed through infected blood.
Rules and regulations are in place to protect the artist, the client, and public health in general.
Environmental Health enforces in Santa Cruz County the California Safe Body Art Act which establishes minimum standards that apply to body art facilities and practitioners to protect both practitioner and client from transmission of infectious diseases through use of proper body art procedures and control of cross-contamination of instruments and equipment.
Opening a shop in Santa Cruz County? Start here:
Client and Infection Control Requirements
In accordance with the California Health and Safety Code, a body art facility shall maintain and follow a written Infection Prevention and Control Plan (Template), provided by the owner or established by the practitioners, specifying procedures to achieve compliance with the Safe Body Art Act. A Copy of the Infection Prevention and Control Plan shall be filed with Environmental Health and a copy maintained in the body art facility.
Important forms and resources you’ll need for this requirement:
Bloodborne Pathogen (BBP) Exposure Control Training [anchor link to this section]
Santa Cruz County does not currently have an approval process for BBP training programs. Any approved BBP trainings from one of these neighboring counties will be accepted: