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Legislation to make cosmetic piercing safer for young people

Under-16s in Wales will not be allowed to receive a cosmetic piercing without their parent or guardian’s consent, if proposed Welsh Government legislation goes ahead.
Thursday 31 May 2012

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said the legislation would also include an outright ban on intimate cosmetic piercings for under-18s.

A recent public consultation asking for views on how to make cosmetic piercing safer for young people in Wales showed strong support for legislation.

Currently, there is no age restriction for cosmetic piercing. As long as a young person can demonstrate they understand what they are having done, and the risks involved, they do not need their parent or guardian’s permission.  

Although a cosmetic piercing can generally be easily reversed, problems such as swelling, infection, bleeding, allergies, tearing or injury are common. Sometimes having a cosmetic piercing can also cause nerve damage and scarring and there is a very small risk of blood viruses such as hepatitis.

Lesley Griffiths said:

“Currently, local authorities in Wales can require cosmetic piercers to register their businesses and to follow rules relating to cleanliness and hygiene. This new legislation will make it safer for young people to express their individuality but also give parents or guardians a greater say.

“The involvement of a parent or guardian should help to reduce the impact of pressure from friends to have a cosmetic piercing, help the young person choose a reputable piercer and will hopefully lower the incidences of post-procedure complications. Introducing a definitive age restriction for intimate cosmetic piercings should also help prevent young people placing themselves in a vulnerable situation.

“The commitment to consult on parental consent was a key action in our Programme for Government and it is clear from the responses received, even young people want this legislation.”



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Cosmetic piercing of young people


Health and social care 31 May 2012 Healthier Wales Improving health Programme for Government - Healthcare Mid Wales North Wales South East Wales South West Wales

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