The state of Pennsylvania is loved and appreciated for a plethora of reasons.
For example, the state is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country, including the Delaware Water Gap, the Pocono Mountains, and Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Pennsylvania is also rich in history, being one of the original thirteen colonies and playing a pivotal role in the American Revolution.
In the last decade or so, the Coal State, as its commonly referred to, has also become a popular destination for tattoo enthusiasts.
This is due in large part to the incredible talent of some of the states’ tattoo artists, many of whom have made a name for themselves on a national level.
With that said, Pennsylvania isn’t any different from other US states in that it has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to getting a tattoo (or working as an artist).
If you’ve been considering getting inked or starting a career, stick with us as we dive into the latest tattoo laws in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Tattoo Regulations
The body art industry is regulated both for the clients’ safety and the artists’ practice.
In Pennsylvania, the rules and regulations are set by the Department of Health.
Tattoo Laws for Clients
Regulations for tattoo clients across the US are mostly related to their age.
In Pennsylvania, you have to be 18 years old or older to get a tattoo.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule if you’re 16 or 17 years old.
So the question that now arises is: how can you get a tattoo at 16 in Pennsylvania?
Well, the state is one of many that allows for the tattooing of minors as long as they can provide written parental consent. On top of that, in order for the session to take place legally, the parent or legal guardian needs to sit throughout the session with the minor.
Tattoo Laws in the Neighbouring States:
As far as the placement of tattoos is concerned, there are no specific regulations in Pennsylvania. This means that you’re free to get a tattoo anywhere on your body, including visible areas like your face, neck, and hands.
Although that sounds pretty normal, it’s not a given everywhere. As an example, the state of Georgia prohibits tattooing within an inch of the eye socket.
Tattoo Laws for Artists
First and foremost, to work as a tattoo artist in Pennsylvania, you have to be at least 18 years old.
Another obvious requirement is the license.
It’s also important to state that it’s the artist’s responsibility to make sure that their clients are of age and that they have valid IDs to prove it. The same applies to performing the procedure on minors with parental consent.
In case the law is broken in this field, it’s the artist who will face repeals, not the clients. Possible penalties include a fine of up to $500, suspension of the license or even a short jail term.
The artist is allowed to work exclusively from the premises of a licensed tattoo shop.
The artist is also expected to keep a clean and safe working environment at all times, as well as to follow all the hygiene and sterilization procedures.
This includes wearing gloves, using fresh needles, and disposing of all the used materials properly.
The tattoo shop can expect to be inspected by the Department of Health on a regular basis to ensure that these regulations are being followed.
The studios and artists working in them have freedom of choice when it comes to who and what they want to tattoo – as long as it’s not discriminatory.
This means that they can refuse service to anyone based on their personal beliefs or the lack of a valid ID, but they can’t do so on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality.
“Popular” causes of refusing a tattoo include:
- inappropriate tattoo design
- intoxication of the client
- placement of the tattoo (eg. intimate body parts)
Hopefully, this article has helped clear up some of the questions you may have had about getting a tattoo in Pennsylvania.
Remember that the rules and regulations exist to protect both you and the artist, so make sure you’re familiar with them before going under the needle.
If you have any doubts, it’s always best to consult with your chosen studio beforehand. Stay safe and have fun!
The information you just read has been based on official sources: