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

Missouri can be an awesome place both to live and visit, with a diverse array of activities and attractions that are sure to please people from different walks of life.

Whether you’re a fan of the great outdoors or prefer to spend your time indoors, Missouri has something for everyone.

And that’s also true when talking about tattoo enthusiasts.

Missouri is home to some of the best tattoo shops in the country, offering everything from traditional designs to cutting-edge custom work.

As mouth-watering as it sounds, however, there are a few things to keep in mind before getting inked in the Show-Me State.

Namely, Missouri’s tattoo laws.

Like all US states, Missouri has its own regulations that need to be adhered to when getting a tattoo.

These laws are in place to ensure that the process is as safe as possible for both the customer and the artist, so it’s important to be aware of them before booking an appointment.

Missouri Tattoo Laws & Regulations

As already mentioned, the laws are there both for customers and artists alike.

Let’s look into both now.

Laws for Clients

When it comes to regulations for clients, most states focus on the minimum age requirement.

In this sense, Missouri is no different.

So, can you get a tattoo under the age of 18 in Missouri?

The state law stipulates that anyone under the age of 18 must have parental consent before getting a tattoo.

This is to ensure that minors cannot make an impulsive decisions that they may later regret.

In order to provide this consent, a parent or guardian must be present at the time of the tattoo procedure.

In this sense, Missouri is rather lenient as there are many states who completely prohibit tattooing minors (eg. Iowa, Illinois or Minnesota), regardless of parental consent. In such states, the only exception can be made if the tattoo has to be done for medical purposes and handled by an authorized physician.

In some states, a notarized document may be required in order to provide this consent.

However, Missouri does not have this requirement so long as the parent or guardian is present during the procedure itself.

While some states have some laws on the placement of the tattoo (eg. in Georgia it’s illegal to tattoo within an inch of an eye socket), there are no rules on this matter in Missouri.

Laws for Artists

What’s important to note, in case the law is breached and a minor does indeed get inked without consent, the punishment always falls on the artist and not the client.

The type of penalty might vary depending on the individual case, but it can result in a misdemeanor charge. Possible penalties include a fine, suspension of the license, or even a short prison sentence.

In order to operate legally, all tattoo shops in Missouri must first obtain a license. The same naturally applies to the individual artists working there. Tattooing from homes or any other unlicensed premises is strictly prohibited.

Not only does this law make the process safer for customers, but it also helps to ensure that hygiene standards are met.

All licensed tattoo shops in Missouri must adhere to strict rules and regulations when it comes to sterilization and cleanliness.

This includes the use of new needles for each customer, as well as the proper cleaning and sterilization of all equipment.

As with most states, Missouri requires all artists to use gloves when performing a tattoo.

This is again to minimize the risk of infection and cross-contamination.

As for artists’ rights, an artist can refuse to tattoo a customer for any reason. However, they cannot discriminate against them based on race, religion, gender, or any other protected characteristic.

For example, the tattoo artist might feel uncomfortable with the design (eg. it’s racist or offensive in another way) or the placement of the tattoo (eg. genital area).


Of course, it’s always best to consult with a local artist or shop to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

But hopefully, this article has given you a good starting point!

All the information discussed in the article is based on official sources:

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