Tattoo regulation may get some tweaking after public comments


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services says public comments they’ve received on a proposed update to the regulation dealing with tattoos, will cause them to revise their proposal.

Last month, the Cabinet filed a proposed amendment to update the tattoo regulation. The intent of was to address changes in the tattoo industry over the last 15 years, which is when the regulation was last updated.

One intended change was to address potential health issues of tattooing over unhealthy skin, including recent or healing scar tissue.  Because of such potential risks, some states currently restrict tattooing of skin that has a rash, evidence of an infection, open lesions, or recent scar tissue. 

“The specific language in the proposed regulation had some unintended consequences and will be addressed,” said Dr. Jeffrey Howard, commissioner of the Department for Public Health.  “The process requires the Cabinet to propose a regulation and then take comments from the public to make sure that the final product does what is best for everyone.  We are glad to have the public’s input and we believe the final regulation will be improved by the comments we have received.”

CHFS spokesman Doug Hogan explained further. 
The intent of this specific change to the regulation was to prevent tattooing over unhealthy skin and immature scars. However, the language included in the proposal was overly broad and thereby prevented tattooing over any scars. We recognize that tattooing over scars can be medically necessary and part of the healing process and thus, intend to more narrowly tailor the regulation accordingly. The public comment process will aid in our ability to do so appropriately.”

The regulation is still open for public comment and is subject to change. DPH plans to address the language regarding tattooing over scarred skin once the public comment period ends on May 31.

Comments can be sent by email to:



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