2023 US Tattoo Laws (Age Regulations, Restrictions & More)

There’s no doubt that the United States is one of the best places to live in the world. But like any other country, it has some rules that you should be aware of if you want to live in the United States.

That also applies to tattoos.

Gone are the days when tattoos were reserved for dark and seedy characters. Today, they are a mainstream form of body art, and people from all walks of life have them – whether talking police officers, military, doctors, or teachers.

However, there are still some laws and regulations in place regarding tattoos. Let’s take a look at what they are.

US Tattoo Laws & Regulations

In the United States, there is no federal law that regulates tattoos. That means that each state is free to set its own rules about tattoos. And as you can imagine, that can lead to some confusion.

Worry not, TattooRules.com is here to dissolve any doubts on the subject.

Despite there not being a federal law regulation for the practice of getting inked, all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have some form of regulation when it comes to tattoos.

The most common form of regulation is the minimum age requirement. In most states, you have to be at least 18 years old to get a tattoo.

There are, however, a few states that allow people under the age of 18 to get tattoos if they have parental consent. At the same time, there are also states in which tattooing under the age of 18 is banned – with or without the informed consent for the procedure. In such states, the one and only exception applies to the so-called medical necessity (eg. markings placed for radiation therapy).

States prohibiting certain age groups from getting inked is one thing – the preferences of individual tattooers and tattoo salons are something completely different.

The vast majority of American tattooers will not ink anyone under the age of 18, regardless of the state’s regulation on the matter.

The reasoning behind this is simple – most tattooers believe that people under the age of 18 are not fully aware of the implications of getting a tattoo and are not mature enough to make such a decision.

Another reason why a tattoo artist might and is allowed to refuse an ink session is their own moral compass. Not only can some of them believe folks under a specific age aren’t mature enough to get a lifetime tattoo but they might refuse to ink selected parts of the body (eg. the intimate areas). A tattoo artist might also refuse to work with a person that is intoxicated, whether due to alcohol or drug consumption. Last but not least, they are completely permitted to refuse to tattoo a selected design, for example, because they find it offensive (eg. racial or political views that they don’t agree with).

Tattoo Regulations State by State

As already discussed, the tattoo laws are mostly similar across the United States. However, some regions are exceptions – for a variety of reasons. To make sure everything is as clear as crystal for the state you are currently residing and considering getting a tattoo in, below find US tattoo laws state by state: