South Carolina is quite an interesting state to live and travel in for a variety of reasons.
The state is well known for its gorgeous beaches, which are perfect for those who love to spend time outdoors.
The climate in South Carolina is also pleasant and moderate, which makes it a great place to live or visit all year round. There are plenty of things to do in South Carolina, whether you’re interested in exploring the state’s history or enjoying its natural beauty.
Plus, it’s hardly a secret that the Palmetto State, as it’s commonly known, is not shy of a number of excellent tattoo artists and parlors. So, if you’re considering getting inked while you’re in South Carolina, rest assured that you’ll be able to find a great artist to do the job.
However, before you head to the nearest tattoo parlor, it’s important to be aware of the state’s specific laws and regulations regarding tattoos. This way, you can ensure that your tattoo experience is safe and enjoyable, and that your tattoo will be done legally.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the newest tattoo laws in South Carolina.
South Carolina Tattoo Laws & Regulations
The fact that SC is regulating the body art industry isn’t anything special – most states in the US are doing the same.
The tattoo laws in South Carolina are for both the clients and the artists.
Let’s look into both now.
Laws for Customers
Like a lion’s share of states in the US, the most important regulation for the client relates to the minimum age requirement.
In South Carolina, you must be 18 years old to get a tattoo.
This is because getting a tattoo is considered making a permanent change to your body, and minors are not legally allowed to make such decisions.
If you’re under 18 and hoping to get a tattoo, you’ll need to have parental consent. In some cases, the artist may also require that a parent or guardian be present during the tattooing process (although legally speaking, that’s not a must).
Other than the age limit, there are no specific regulations in South Carolina that customers need to be aware of which makes the state fairly lenient as far as the clientele is concerned. There are some regions in the US (eg. the state of Georgia) that also regulate the placement of tattoos.
However, in South Carolina, you’re free to get a tattoo wherever you’d like on your body – there are no restrictions.
However, it’s always a good idea to do your research on a particular artist or parlor before getting a tattoo, to ensure that they have a good reputation and are operating legally.
Laws for Artists
Now let’s take a look at the specific regulations for tattoo artists in South Carolina.
It’s only fair to begin this section by stating that in case the law is broken and a minor gets inked without parental consent, it’s the artist who will be held accountable and not the minor or their parents.
And it’s not it’s a minor offense, either. An artist who breaks this law can be fined up to $2500 and/or imprisoned for up to 1 year.
So, if you’re an artist, it’s critical that you always check for ID and that you’re 100% certain that the person getting tattooed is of legal age.
What’s equally important, in order to operate legally, all tattoo artists in South Carolina must have a valid Body Art License.
Performing the procedure of tattooing is allowed only from the premises that are licensed as Body Art Facilities by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
Tattoo parlors in South Carolina shouldn’t be surprised to be subject to random inspections by the DHEC to ensure they’re following the body art laws and regulations.
The parlors should make sure to follow all the sanitary regulations to avoid any penalties. Common guidelines include:
- the parlor and all of its materials must be clean and sanitary
- all artists must wear gloves while tattooing
- all needles must be sterile and used only once (disposable needles are recommended)
- after each tattoo, the area must be cleaned with anti-bacterial soap and covered with a sterile bandage
As for the artists’ rights, they are, of course, permitted to refuse service to anyone – minors included.
However, they should be careful about how they go about refusing service as, in some cases, it could be considered discrimination.
For instance, an artist can’t refuse to tattoo someone because of their race or religion.
On the other hand, declining a tattoo that is deemed offensive in any way is perfectly acceptable and within the artist’s rights.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want really to-the-point answers to the questions that are commonly asked about South Carolina’s tattoo laws, here they are:
Can you get a tattoo in South Carolina?
Yes, absolutely, you can get a tattoo in South Carolina. There are no laws restricting where tattoos can be placed on the body, and you don’t need parental consent if you’re over 18.
But tattoos in SC weren’t always legal…
When did tattooing become legal in South Carolina?
The state of South Carolina made tattooing legal in 2004 after lawmakers there passed a special bill. The industry started booming two years later after DHEC put safety and health standards in place.
Can a 16-year-old get a tattoo with parental consent in South Carolina?
Yes, as long as your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) prepare a written parental consent form.
Can you be 15 and get a tattoo in South Carolina?
Yes, provided that you are able to present written parental consent from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
What is the youngest age you can get a tattoo in South Carolina?
The law doesn’t specifically say this, but many tattoo artists in South Carolina are likely to decline tattooing super young people (under 14 or so). In our opinion, the youngest age you could probably get away with is around 14-15 if you have parental consent.
Do you need a license to tattoo in SC?
Yes, you need a license from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to tattoo in SC.
How to get a tattoo license in South Carolina?
South Carolina’s neck tattoo laws – a myth or not?
South Carolina doesn’t regulate the placement of tattoos on the body, so you’re free to get a neck tattoo if you want one. A myth.
South Carolina’s face tattoo laws – a myth or not?
Same as above. A myth.
What are South Carolina’s tattoo prices?
This depends on the artist, the studio, the design, and other factors. But you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200+ for a small tattoo in South Carolina. Bigger tattoos will obviously cost more.
Conclusion & References
All in all, tattoo regulations in South Carolina are fairly standard – both for the customers and the artists.
As long as the artists are licensed and follow basic sanitary regulations, they should be able to operate without any issues. And customers only need to be aware of the age limit when getting a tattoo.
Of course, it’s always important to do your research before getting a tattoo – both to ensure that the artist is reputable and that you’re happy with the design. But as far as the law is concerned, South Carolina is a pretty tattoo-friendly state.