Michigan Tattoo Laws in 2023 (Age, Fines & More)

Michigan is a state that has a strong pull for many – both the people who want to move there and tourists alike.

It’s appreciated for its four seasons, natural resources, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Also, it goes without saying that Michigan is a hotspot of extremely talented tattoo artists and affordable studios, making it a popular destination for people looking to get inked.

However, before you head to Michigan for a tattoo or start a job as a tattoo artist, it’s important to know the state’s laws on body art.

Stick with us for a few minutes as we dive into the latest tattoo laws in Michigan – just to make sure you’re on the right side of the law!

Michigan Tattoo Laws & Regulations

Outside Maryland which is the only state without any regulations on tattooing, all states in the US have some form of tattoo laws in place.

These laws exist to protect both the artists and the customers.

Let’s look into both now.

Laws for Customers

When it comes to clients’ laws, they mostly define the minimum age requirement. In the case of Michigan, it’s not any different.

The minimum age requirement to get a tattoo in Michigan is 18 years old.

You must also have a valid form of identification that proves your age – such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card.

But can a 17-year-old get a tattoo in Michigan?

Michigan’s tattoo laws for minors state the following: if you’re not 18 yet but want to get a tattoo, parental consent may be an option. In Michigan, if you’re under the age of 18, you need parental consent in order to get a tattoo.

The said form needs to be delivered in person. The good news is that Michigan, unlike some other states (eg. Indiana, Kansas or Louisiana), doesn’t require the legal guardian to be present throughout the procedure.

Being a minor in Michigan, you should consider yourself pretty lucky since there are states that prohibit the tattooing of minors altogether (eg. Illinois, Iowa or Mississippi).

As of now, there are no rules on the placement of the tattoo – you can get inked pretty much anywhere (as long as your artist is fine with it!).

What’s worth noting, the state of Michigan prohibits intoxicated people from getting inked.

Laws for Artists

As for the artists, in case the law regulating the minimum age and toxification is breached, the whole blame lies on the artist who, under the state’s law, commits a misdemeanor that can result in a maximum fine of $500 and a short-term prison sentence (up to 90 days).

Before you can start your career as a tattoo artist in Michigan, you need to obtain a license from the county health department where your studio will be located. What’s more, you need to be working from a licensed business as performing the procedure from any other location (eg. your home) is illegal and can lead to a suspension or even revoking of your license.

The whole process of getting a tattoo license in Michigan is pretty simple and straightforward. It requires filling out an application form and passing a written exam on bloodborne pathogens, infection control, and the Michigan public health code.

Tattoo artists in Michigan are also held to high sanitation standards. The studios need to be clean, and all instruments must be sterilized before each use.

Of course, the artist also has some rights. For example, they can refuse a tattoo session if it goes against their moral compass – for a variety of reasons. For example:

  • the design may be gang-related
  • the design is offensive (sexist, racist, etc.)
  • the placement of the tattoo doesn’t sit right with the artist
  • the client is rude


All the information discussed in the article is sourced from official websites of: