The Public Health Act 2010 (the Act) defines a skin penetration procedure as:
“...any procedure (whether medical or not) that involves skin penetration (such as acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing or hair removal or the penetration of a mucous membrane), and includes any procedure declared by the regulations to be a skin penetration procedure, but does not include—(a) any procedure carried out by a registered health practitioner, or by a person acting under the direction or supervision of a registered health practitioner, in the course of providing a health service, or
(b) any procedure declared by the regulations not to be a skin penetration procedure.”
Colonic lavage is a skin penetration procedure and laser hair removal is not a skin penetration procedure under the Public Health Regulation 2022 (the Regulation).
The Act and Regulation regulate body decorating and grooming practices carried out by people who are not registered as health practitioners.
The Public Health Regulation was recently updated; visit our Public health legislation page to find out what has changed.
The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) regulates activities by registered health practitioners. Visit the HCCC website for further information.
Activities regulated under the Act and the Regulation include:
Note: Hairdressing and other body decorating and grooming practices which do not deliberately pierce the skin are not regulated under this legislation. However, these activities may be regulated by your local council under different legislation. Contact your local council for further information.
Information for specific industries is available on the Skin penetration resources page.
Failure by a skin penetration business to meet the requirements of the Act and Regulation can result in:
Authorised officers may visit a skin penetration business for routine inspections or to investigate a particular incident, for example a bacterial infection. These inspections occur without notice. Officers may also provide information, education and advice to businesses and the public.
Read more about the Role and powers of authorised officers, and what can happen if your business fails to comply with the Act or Regulation.
Skin penetration business owners need to meet certain design and construction standards that ensure new and existing businesses are correctly designed and operated.
Read more about Skin penetration business design and construction.
A person carrying out a mobile skin penetration service in their own premises e.g., a vehicle or temporary structure, must:
A person carrying out a mobile skin penetration service in different premises than their own, i.e., not their vehicle or temporary structure but at other venues or homes, must comply with requirements under Division 3 of Part 4 of the Regulation.
If a skin penetration operator wishes to operate a home-based business or trade on councils road or council land, they should contact their local council for further advice prior to operation. For trade on state roads, operators should contact Transport for NSW.
Use the Notification of Skin Penetration Procedure Premises form to notify your local council of the existence of premises where skin penetration is performed.
Inspection tools have been developed by the NSW Ministry of Health to support local government authorities and public health units to carry out inspections of skin penetration businesses.
Industry stakeholders may also wish to use these tools to ensure they are meeting their obligations under the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2022.
Visit our Forms and templates page for an improvement notice, prohibition order and certificate of clearance template.
A range of fact sheets, posters, videos, tools and forms are available to help skin penetration practitioners and regulatory agencies to protect public health.
Skin penetration resources