Tattoos, Piercings & Tanning

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Personal service establishments are facilities in which a person provides a service to, or on the body of another person. These include hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, piercing facilities, tanning salons, floatation tanks and laser hair removal, among others.

Personal Service Facility Inspections

Our Environmental Health Officers inspect facilities that perform invasive personal services, also known as body modification, because of the higher risk of infection and disease transmission associated with personal services that penetrate the skin. Body modification services include tattoo and piercing facilities, permanent make-up facilities, and microblading facilities. We also inspect float tanks due to the potential challenges associated with their operation.    

View inspection reports for body modification facilities in the Island Health region.

As a consumer, you are responsible for ensuring that the personal service facility you wish to visit has appropriate infection control measures in place. If you have questions about a facility, or inspection reports are not available, seek guidance from your local Health Protection Office.

Opening a Tattoo, Microblading, Float Tank or Piercing Facility

Before opening a personal service establishment and prior to beginning construction, personal service establishment operators must submit an application package to their local Health Protection Office seeking approval to operate.  

Application packages must include:

Application for a Personal Service Facility

  • a set of floor plans and equipment specifications
  • written procedures for cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing, as well as procedures for blood and body fluid exposure

Personal Services at Trade Shows

For approval to provide personal services at trade shows, complete the Application Form on page 10 of the Provincial Guidelines for Personal Services Offered at Tradeshows.

Pre-opening Inspections

Once an operator has submitted an application, had plans approved, and indicates that the facility is ready to open, an Environmental Health Officer will conduct a pre-opening inspection and, upon confirming compliance with the Regulated Activities Regulation and Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments, approval to operate will be granted. 

Operators in the Capital Regional District should also review the Tattoo Regulation Bylaw

Tanning Facilities

The World Health Organization classifies ultraviolet (UV) tanning beds as a “group one carcinogen.” This means they are known to cause cancer in humans.

Find out more about the risks of indoor tanning.

The provincial Regulated Activities Regulation prohibits a person under the age of 18 (minors) from using tanning equipment at a personal service establishment. This is designed to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer later in life. Operators must not allow minors to use tanning facilities, unless the minor has a medical prescription for treating a skin condition.

Tanning bed facilities must display a government-approved sign in a clearly visible location, advising staff and customers about the under-18 tanning ban.

Tanning Facilities in the Capital Regional District (CRD)

The CRD has developed a local bylaw (Bylaw #3711) which:

  • prohibits UV tanning for minors under the age of 18 years
  • outlines requirements for salon owners and adults 18 years of age and older
  • lists fines associated with Tanning Bylaw Infractions

Operator Requirements:

Questions and Concerns about a Personal Service Establishment

If you have a question or concern related to potential health violations, please contact Health Protection and Environmental Services


Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments
Guidelines for Body Modification
Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments at Trade Shows
Guidelines for Flotation Tank Facilities
Guidelines for Laser Hair Removal
Best Practice Guidelines for Cleaning, Disinfection and Sterilization of Critical and Semi-critical Medical Devices
Guidelines for Tanning Salon Owners, Operators and Adult Users

Related Health Information

Tattoo and Piercing Safety
Tattoo Problems
Tattoo Removal
Body Piercing: Safe Jewellery Choices
Body Piercing Problems
Body Piercing Healing Times
Blood and Body Fluid Precautions

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