Personal appearance services (tattooist, hairdresser etc)

The Public Health (Infection Control for Personal Appearance Services) Act 2003 places obligations on all personal appearance services to minimise infection risks to clients. Personal appearance services are broken into two categories - higher risk and non-higher risk.

What is a personal appearance service?

Higher risk personal appearance service

A higher risk personal appearance service means a personal appearance service involving any of the following skin penetration procedures in which the release of blood or other bodily fluid is an expected result.  You are legally required to apply for a licence with council prior to operation of a business offering these services.

  • Body piercing, other than closed ear or nose piercing
  • Implanting natural or synthetic substances into a person's skin, including, for example, hair or beads
  • Scarring or cutting a person's skin using a sharp instrument to make a permanent mark, pattern or design
  • Tattooing
  • Another skin penetration procedure prescribed under a regulation

Businesses which provide higher risk personal appearance services must hold a licence under the Act and only provide services from the premises stated on this licence.

Non-higher risk personal appearance service

A non-higher risk personal appearance service means a personal appearance service involving any of the following skin penetration procedures.  These types of procedures do not require to be licensed however the Infection Control Guidelines still apply.

  • hairdressing
  • beauty therapy e.g. waxing, nail treatments; or
  • skin penetration procedure that is not a higher risk personal appearance service eg. closed ear or nose piercing.

Infection Control Guidelines have been produced for businesses that outline ways in which to minimise infection risks to clients. You are required to take all reasonable precautions and care to minimise the risk of infection to your clients.

For more information please refer to the Queensland Health website.

How to apply

Prior to fit-out or operation of a skin penetration premise, download the personal appearance services guide for businesses and ensure that the following steps are completed.

New personal appearance business

Step 1

Confirm with council’s planning department if a planning and building approval is required.

Step 2

Download the personal appearance services guide for businesses and refer to Appendix 2 for details regarding the minimum requirements for the fit out of the room/s to be used for personal appearance services.

Step 3

Complete and submit the Skin Penetration Registration Application (PDF 69.7kb) form to council with:

a. The relevant application fee

b. Two copies of floor plans, including elevations (to a scale of at least 1:100):

  • These plans or drawings are to be submitted separately to any plans requiring building and/or plumbing approvals
  • Ensure that plans include the location of all fixtures, fittings, appliances, sinks and the construction details relating to all benches, shelving units, floor, walls and ceiling surfaces.

Step 4

Conditional approval will be given by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) from council’s Health and Regulatory Services – it is recommended you do not begin fitting out the premise until conditional approval is received in the event the EHO requires changes to be made to meet compliance with the legislation.

Your EHO's contact information will be included in the conditional approval.

Step 5

When construction works are close to completion, contact the EHO to arrange for a final inspection to be conducted and a final approval given to begin operation.

Step 6

At your final inspection, the EHO will either:

a. Issue requisitions for any outstanding construction requirements and arrange another inspection; or

b. Give approval to operate and issue your Skin Penetration Licence Certificate

Change of licence holder for an existing business

Buying an existing business?

We strongly recommend prospective purchasers apply for a Health Search or Health Inspection.

A Health Search is a search of council's records on a premise.  A Health Inspection is physical inspection of the premise to identify any areas of non-compliance.  It also includes reports of any outstanding fees and breaches of the infection control guidelines and other relevant legislative requirements.

Once a business is sold, the new owner is responsible for all outstanding requisitions and licensing fees that are owing, so it is highly recommended to have a Health Search prior to settlement.

Transfer of ownership

When purchasing a personal appearance business, the proposed new licence holder must make an application to transfer the registration using the Skin Penetration Registration form (PDF 120 KB) and submit to council with the relevant fee.

The Skin Penetration Licence application will be assessed by an EHO and  will be issued once approved

Additional information

Queensland Health have also produced a booklet on what businesses need to know about infection control for Personal Appearance Business.

Alternatively you can contact council's Health and Regulatory Services team on 1300 MACKAY (622 529) or email