Code of the District of Columbia

Part D-i. Body Artists.


§ 47–2853.76a. Scope of practice for body artists.

For the purposes of this part, the practice of body art does not include:

(1) A licensed physician or surgeon performing body art services for medical reasons;

(2) A licensed funeral director performing body-piercing or tattooing services as required by that profession;

(3) Laser tattoo removal procedures; or

(4) Skin treatment procedures such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion.


(Oct. 23, 2012, D.C. Law 19-193, § 3(g), 59 DCR 10388.)


§ 47–2853.76b. Regulation of body artists.

(a) The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, through the Board of Barber and Cosmetology, shall regulate body artists to protect public health, safety, and welfare, and to ensure that persons engaged in the occupation have the specialized skills, education, and training required to perform the services offered by:

(1) Establishing and imposing occupational licensing, registration requirements, and associated fee schedules; and

(2) Establishing rules within 180 days of [October 23, 2012].


(Oct. 23, 2012, D.C. Law 19-193, § 3(g), 59 DCR 10388.)

Editor's Notes

This section was enacted as subsection (a), but has no subsection (b).


§ 47–2853.76c. Eligibility requirements.

(a) An applicant for licensure as a body artist shall establish to the satisfaction of the Board that he or she:

(1) Has received a certificate of completion of a course in blood borne pathogens, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and first aid, conferred by an institution or organization that is recognized by the Board or that the Board determines to be substantially equivalent thereof;

(2) Has worked as an apprentice body artist, under the training of a body artist who has been licensed in the District of Columbia, for at least 500 hours;

(3) Has passed the examinations required by the Board;

(4) Has not had his or her license to practice body art procedures suspended or revoked in any other jurisdiction; and

(5) Meets any other requirements established by rule to ensure that the applicant has had the proper training and experience to perform body art procedures.

(b) Any person who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board that he or she has worked as a body artist in the District or elsewhere for at least 4,000 hours over a period of 2 years immediately preceding the date of application, or has equivalent experience that is acceptable to the Board, is exempt from the requirement in subsection (a)(2) of this section.


(Oct. 23, 2012, D.C. Law 19-193, § 3(g), 59 DCR 10388.)


§ 47–2853.76d. Duties and responsibilities of body artists.

(a) Body art technicians shall perform body art procedures in a licensed body art establishment.

(b) Body art technicians shall use single-use disposable sharps, pigments, gloves, and cleansing products while performing body art procedures on each client.

(c) Verbal and written instructions for the care of the tattooed, pierced, or other modified sites on the body shall be provided by the body artist to each customer upon the completion of the procedure. The written instructions shall advise the customer to consult a physician at the first sign of infection or other adverse reaction and shall contain the name of the body artist and the name, address, and telephone number of the establishment.

(d) Any person who violates this section shall be subject to disciplinary action including license suspension or revocation and a maximum fine of $2,500.


(Oct. 23, 2012, D.C. Law 19-193, § 3(g), 59 DCR 10388.)


§ 47–2853.76e. Prohibitions and penalties.

(a) No person shall perform or offer to perform body art procedures, hold him or herself out as a practitioner of or entitled or authorized to practice body art procedures, assume any title of “body artist” “tattooist,” “tattoo artist,” “body-piercer,” “body-piercing artist,” or “body modification artist,” and the like, use any words or letters, figures, titles, signs, cards, advertisement, or any other symbols or devices indicating or tending to indicate that the person is authorized to perform such services, or use other letters or titles in connection with that person’s name which in any way represents himself or herself as being engaged in the practice of body art, or authorized to do so, unless the person is licensed by and registered with the Mayor to perform body art procedures in the District of Columbia.

(b) No body artist shall perform body art procedures on a person under 18 years of age, except ear piercing using a mechanized, pre-sterilized single-use stud and clasp ear piercing gun. Such ear piercing shall not occur unless a parent or legal guardian has provided his or her written consent.

(c) No person shall perform body art procedures if the person is unable to exercise reasonable care and safety or is otherwise impaired by reason of illness, while under the influence of alcohol, or while using any controlled substance or narcotic drug as defined in 21 U.S.C.§ 802(6) or (17), respectively, or other drug in excess of therapeutic amounts or without valid medical indication, or any combination thereof.

(d) No body artist shall administer anesthetic injections or other medications and prescription drugs to customers receiving body art procedures.

(e) Any person who violates this section shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,500, imprisonment for not more than 3 months, or both.


(Oct. 23, 2012, D.C. Law 19-193, § 3(g), 59 DCR 10388; Apr. 23, 2013, D.C. Law 19-271, § 2(b), 60 DCR 1727.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-271 deleted “subsection (a) of” preceding “this section” in (e).