Tattoo Parlors

The Carteret County Health Department locally enforces the North Carolina State Rules Governing Tattooing (15NCAC 18A .3200) for the practice of tattooing. Tattooing is defined as "the inserting of permanent markings or coloration, or the producing of scars, upon or under human skin through puncturing by use of a needle or any other method."


The North Carolina Tattoo Rules require tattoo and permanent makeup artists to meet certain minimum sanitation standards. These standards include:
  • Each studio having an autoclave (for the sterilizing of tattoo instruments)
  • A sink(s) for hand washing
  • Proper storage and disposal of solid waste
  • Studio kept clean and in good repair
  • Maintain records of all autoclave tests
  • Maintain records of each client
In addition, each artist must be able to demonstrate knowledge of proper aseptic techniques. Upon meeting these standards, the artist is issued a permit.


Persons who intend to practice as a tattoo or permanent makeup artist must submit an application at least 30 days prior to work beginning. Permits must be renewed annually, and there is a fee associated with each application.  The current fee can be found on the Carteret County Environmental Health fee schedule

It is important to understand that the permit is issued to a specific artist at a specific location; the studio and the individual artist must both meet regulations. An artist who practices at more than one studio, or who moves to another studio, must get a new permit at each location. Apprentices cannot work under an artist's permit; they must have their own permits. Anyone who has questions about the permitting process or who wishes to obtain a permit may contact Environmental Health at 252-728-8499.

Body Piercing & Other Information

Body piercing is not regulated under North Carolina Public Health laws or by local ordinance in Carteret County. Individual municipalities or townships may have specific ordinances prohibiting piercing or tattooing and should be contacted before applying for a tattoo permit from the Health Department.