The CIEH states that training and qualifications are essential for everyone providing cosmetic treatments which puncture the skin

Publication Date: 14th February 2014

Subject: Health and safety

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) today criticised the government for failing to include controls on tattooing and body piercing in its response to the findings of the Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions conducted by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh in 2013.

Ian Gray, CIEH Principal Policy Officer, said: “The government is proposing sensible measures to control many of the cosmetic procedures being carried out by doctors and nurses and beauticians, but has completely ignored tattooing and body piercing, despite our repeated requests. Just like other cosmetic procedures, tattooing and body piercing can cause serious harm when they go wrong - not only infection, but disfigurement and even disablement. It is time for the government to accept that standards and accredited training are needed for all non-surgical cosmetic procedures”.

Mr Gray continued: “In terms of infection control there is little difference between a doctor and nurse carrying out a medical procedure and a tattooist or body piercer injecting or cutting your skin in order to insert dyes and body jewellery – they all need to be able to carry out their procedures safely and hygienically. The only way that members of the public will know that cosmetic practitioners are able to work safely is when there are requirements for training and qualifications and that those offering these services are working in premises which have been inspected and approved”.

It is the view of the CIEH that the existing measures available to local authorities do not provide adequate controls. It is also a key finding of the Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions which stated:

The current regulatory framework places no restrictions on who may perform nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. No qualifications are required to carry out these procedures and, in the absence of accredited training courses, anyone can set up a training course purporting to offer a qualification. 

Ian Gray continued: “We have been telling successive governments of the need for proper training and qualifications in this area for some 20 years. Putting things right now will require nothing less than a complete overhaul of the existing controls.

It is the considered opinion of the CIEH, based on our extensive and expert knowledge of the application of existing legislation in this area, that nothing less than a new system of regulation and/or licensing will be required to ensure that standards for practice which meet the principles set out in the Keogh Review, are implemented and maintained.

If the recommendations of the Keogh Review Committee are to be fully implemented we require a regulatory framework that encompasses the whole sector of cosmetic services comprising approved training schemes delivering accredited qualifications, together with registers for both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures which include codes of conduct with an obligation to abide by clearly defined minimum standards. In addition there must be professional regulators for anyone performing potentially harmful non surgical cosmetic procedures – particularly those which involve injecting or cutting the skin.”







Notes to editors: 


  • For media enquiries please contact Brian Cowan on 020 7827 5922 or 07721 456727 or email 
  • Spokespeople are available for interview

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health:

  • The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved
  • The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is a leading provider of accredited qualifications in health and safety, food safety, environmental protection, fire safety and first aid and operates in 50 countries. Over 10 million people around the world from the UK to the USA and the Middle East hold a CIEH qualification
  • The CIEH’s clients range from small businesses to multinational enterprises like the Intercontinental Hotel Group. We work with governmental bodies in Hong Kong as well as international agencies like the United Nations
  • The CIEH’s 60 qualification training programmes are delivered through a network of over 10,000 registered trainers. The training is developed for the varied skill levels within organisations. They cater to different learning styles and preferences through a series of flexible structures. CIEH qualifications are valued and recognised throughout the world
  • For more information about the CIEH visit 


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