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

The list of reasons for which people love and appreciate Texas is quite diversified.

Some people love the state for its great climate and others for its friendly and down-to-earth residents. Others appreciate the state’s rich history and cultural heritage, while yet another group simply enjoys its vast open spaces and beautiful scenery.

In the last decade or so, “The Lone Star State” has also become a hotspot for tattoo enthusiasts from all over the country. There are now more than a thousand professional tattoo shops operating in Texas, and that number is only growing.

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo in Texas or starting a new career as an artist, there are a few things you should know about the state’s tattoo regulations. Stick with us for the next few moments as we dive into the latest Texas tattoo laws for clients and artists alike.

Texas Tattoo Laws & Regulations

The fact that Texas regulates the tattoo (body art) industry isn’t anything that should shock you – after all, with the exception of the likes of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Nevada, all states in the US do.

Tattoo Laws for Clients

In most states, the only law regulating tattoos for clients has to do with the minimum age requirement, which is usually 18. In Texas, however, there are a few other things you need to take into consideration before getting inked.

For starters, anyone under the age of 18 must have parental consent before they can get a tattoo. Unlike in the majority of states, however, this exception is only allowed if the new tattoo will cover an existing one that’s considered “obscene or offensive” and the parent or the legal guardian of the minor believes it’s “in the best interest”.

Additionally, the adult responsible for giving their permission must be present at the tattoo shop when the procedure is taking place, as well as provide proof of parentage or guardianship.

As of now, there are no rules governing the allowed placement of tattoos on minors in Texas, which means that parents and guardians have complete freedom of choice when it comes to this aspect. The same, naturally, applies to adults.

It’s worth pointing out that in the case of a minor falsely representing themselves as an adult in order to get a tattoo, he or she will be committing a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. That makes Texas one of few states that punish clients for trying to circumvent the law.

Tattoo Laws for Artists

It’s important to open this section by stating that, in case the law related to the minimum age requirement is broken and the artist is aware of it, he or she will face consequences as well.

Tattooing a minor without parental consent is considered a class B misdemeanor as well which is punishable in the same way.

The state of Texas requires all tattoo artists to obtain a license before they can start plying their trade. The same can be said about studios – they also need to be licensed by the state. The artists and studios are pretty much inseparable since performing procedures from any other location except for a licensed one are strictly prohibited by law.

All tattoo artists in Texas must complete a Bloodborne Pathogen Training Course before they can receive their license. Amongst others, the course is designed to teach the workers how to protect themselves and their clients from diseases that can be transmitted through blood.

Sanitation is extremely important in the tattoo industry, and studios are required to follow very strict rules when it comes to keeping their facilities clean. For example, the surfaces need to be sanitized before each procedure, needles must be disposed of properly, and so on.

As for the artists’ rights, it’s worth mentioning that they are allowed to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Commonly, the reasons for refusal are intoxication, uncooperative attitude, or offensive tattoo designs.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope that this article has helped clear some things up for you, but in case you still have questions related to Texas tattoo laws, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked ones.

Can an 18-year-old get a tattoo in Texas?

Yes, an 18-year-old is legally permitted to get a tattoo in Texas.

How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in Texas with a parent?

This isn’t clearly stated and will likely depend on the preferences of the artist.

Can you get a tattoo in Texas at 17 with a parent?

Yes, as long as you can provide proof of parentage or guardianship, and the adult responsible for giving their permission is present at the tattoo shop. Furthermore, the tattoo must be placed on an existing one that’s considered “obscene or offensive” and the parent or guardian believes it’s “in the best interest”.

Can you get a tattoo when you’re 15 in Texas?

While there’s no clear regulation stating the minimum age requirement for getting a tattoo in Texas with the consent form, most artists refuse to provide their services to people they deem “too young”. Whether 15 years old is too young or not is completely up to the artist.

Can you get a tattoo at 14 with parental consent in Texas?

The same answer applies here as to the previous question – it all depends on the artist’s personal opinion.

How to report illegal tattooing in Texas?

If you want to report illegal tattooing in Texas, you can do so by calling the Texas Department of State Health Services at (512) 834-6600.

Can you tattoo at home in Texas?

No, you cannot. All tattooing procedures in Texas must be carried out in a licensed tattoo studio by a licensed artist.

How long does it take to get a tattoo license in Texas?

There’s no definite answer since the time needed to get a tattoo license in Texas can vary depending on the county you’re applying in. However, the whole process shouldn’t take more than a few weeks.

What is the penalty for tattooing without a license in Texas?

The penalty for tattooing without a license in Texas is a fine of up to $2,000 and/or 180 days in jail.

Where are tattoos illegal?

As of now, all states in the US allow tattoos, with most placing certain regulations on the industry.

When you should not get a tattoo?

There are certain situations when you shouldn’t get a tattoo, such as when you’re pregnant, have diabetes, are taking blood thinners, or have a skin condition. Consult with your doctor beforehand to make sure it’s safe for you to get a tattoo.

Conclusion & References

Texas tattoo laws are pretty standard, but there are still certain regulations in place that artists and customers need to follow. The most important thing is to make sure that the studio you’re getting your tattoo at is licensed and clean, and that the artist is experienced and talented.

The information included in the article has been based on official sources, such as the Texas Department of State Health Services.