Tattoos and Piercings

QLD: When can I get a tattoo, piercing or other body modification?

Tattoos: you have to be 18 to get a tattoo in Queensland. 

Piercings in private places: however, you can only get a piercing in a private place (like your genitals or nipples) if you are over the age of 18.

Non-private piercings and other body marks: There’s no specific age you have to be to get a piercing or body mark, including beading or scarification. It depends on whether you can show sound and reasoned judgment.

At school and work: your school or workplace may have specific rules or policies about tattoos, piercings and body marks, so it’s a good idea to check these first.

Watch out for Infections!  Remember to protect yourself from diseases by going to a registered parlour with someone who is trained and hygienic!

 

Tattoos


In Queensland you need to be 18 to get a tattoo. It doesn't matter if you have permission from your parents.

Body piercings in a private place


If you want to get a piercing in a private area (like your genitals or nipples), you will have to wait until you are 18.  It doesn't matter if you have permission from your parents.

Non-private piercings, scarification, branding and beading


There is no specific age you have to be get a non-private piercing or other body modification including scarification, branding or beading.  If you are under 18, it will depend on whether you are capable of forming a sound and reasoned judgement and fully understand what is involved.

In deciding whether or not you understand what is involved, the piercer will need to consider:

  • your age and maturity;
  • the type of piercings and where you want them; 
  • whether you understand the long term impact of the piercing, what it involves, and things that might go wrong (like health and recovery after the piercing, side effects from infections or other complications)

Generally, if you are under 18, piercing studios will still require a form of consent from a parent or guardian.

Having a tattoo, piercings and body modifications at school or work

Your school or workplace may have specific rules or policies about tattoos, piercings and body marks, so it’s a good idea to check these first.  These rules are legal as long as they are not unreasonable or discriminatory.     

Workers in Australia are protected by unfair dismissal laws. If you are dismissed only because you have a tattoo or piercing and this has never been discussed with you or addressed in your employment contract then this may be considered unfair dismissal.   If this has happened to you, please send us a Lawmail for more information on your options.  

If a tattoo, piercing or body modification is part of your cultural background, for example your race, descent or ethnic heritage, then it may be unlawful discrimination for a school or workplace to ban you from having it. If you would like more information on this, check out our page on discrimination, or send us a Lawmail.

Before you get a Tattoo, Branding or Piercing

  • Think ahead - remember, tattoos and other markings are permanent.  It is important to think about whether you want a tattoo or other mark for the rest of your life.

  • Ouch! - piercings can leave scars or holes long after you stop wearing the jewellery – Ouch

  • Staying safe - when you get a tattoo or piercing, there is always a risk that you can get a disease like Hepatitis C or B, HIV or a bacterial infection. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to always go to a professional tattoo artist and make sure that the tattoo studio is safe and hygienic and that all tools are sterilised. Don't get a 'backyard' or 'tattoo party' tattoo - the risk is just too great!   All tattoo parlours and individuals who perform tattos in have to be licensed. It’s a good idea to make sure the place and person has one before getting anything done.

If you have any questions about getting a tattoo, piercing or other body modification, please send us a Lawmail.

You are welcome to copy and use this fact sheet.


The content on this page was last updated on 22 September 2014.
 

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