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UK’s Legal Age For Tattoos: What Are Your Options At 16?

UK's Legal Age For Tattoos: What Are Your Options At 16?

Are you under 18 and looking to get a tattoo in the UK? Are you wondering where you can go to get inked? Have you considered the legal implications of getting a tattoo as a minor? 

Young UK Tattoo Enthusiasts

If so, this article provides all the information you need about getting a tattoo as a sixteen-year-old in the UK. Read on for more details on regulations, locations, and other important facts about tattoos for minors in the United Kingdom.

Legal Age For Getting A Tattoo In The Uk

Getting a tattoo is a popular form of self-expression, but knowing the legal requirements is important before getting one. The legal age for getting a tattoo in the UK is 18 years old. This means that individuals must be 18 or over to legally get a tattoo from any licensed and reputable tattoo artist in the country.

The legal age requirement for tattoos in the UK was put in place to protect young people from making impulsive decisions they may regret later. Furthermore, it helps ensure that only trained professionals with proper qualifications carry out this kind of work on adults who can make informed decisions about their bodies.

While some might argue that younger people should have access to tattoos as part of their freedom of expression, these rules were created with their best interests in mind.

Tattooing Of Minors Act 1969

Tattooing has been a popular form of body modification for centuries, with tattoos becoming increasingly mainstream in recent years. However, some laws govern the tattoo industry to protect minors from making decisions they may regret later in life. In the UK, the Tattooing of Minors Act of 1969 regulates tattooing among young people.

Prohibition Of Tattooing Of Minors

The Tattooing Of Minors Act of 1969 was implemented to protect young people from making irreversible decisions and ensure they make informed choices once they have reached adulthood.

The act states that tattooing anyone under 18, with or without their parent or guardian’s written consent is illegal. This applies to all types of tattoos, including temporary and henna tattoos. This is because minors may not fully understand the permanence of tattoos and may later regret their decision. Additionally, health risks are associated with getting a tattoo at a young age, as their immune system may not fully develop.


Tattooing is a popular form of body art and self-expression, but it’s important to understand that there are legal restrictions around getting a tattoo. 

It’s worth noting that tattoo artists who break this law can face severe penalties. According to the Tattooing Of Minors Act 1969, anyone found guilty of tattooing an underage person can be fined up to £1,000 (about $1,300) or sentenced to up to six months in prison. Additionally, their business can be shut down permanently, and they may have difficulty finding work in the industry.


Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, with an estimated one in five adults in the UK having at least one tattoo. A tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on the skin by puncturing it and inserting ink. Tattoos can range from small symbols to larger, more intricate designs that cover entire body parts.

In the UK, no specific laws regulate tattoos; however, aside from the age limit, laws surround who can legally administer tattoos and where they can be performed. Tattoo artists must be licensed by their local authority and follow strict hygiene standards to prevent infection and ensure safety for themselves and their clients.


Exceptions to the Tattooing Of Minors Act 1969 in the UK are few and far between. The law was established to protect minors from potentially harmful or regrettable tattoos. However, certain scenarios exist where a minor may be allowed to receive a tattoo.

One exception is for medical reasons, such as permanent makeup for those with facial scarring or alopecia. In these cases, minors may be able to receive tattoos with the permission of their doctor and parent/guardian.

Sometimes, doctors may recommend a tattoo for a patient with a medical condition such as diabetes or epilepsy. These tattoos typically include important information about the patient’s condition and can help first responders provide proper care in an emergency.

Exploring Other Tattoo Options

For Minors

If you’re looking to get a tattoo as a minor, the UK may not be the best place to go. But don’t worry – there are plenty of other countries where getting inked as a minor is legal.

One such country is Spain. While some Spanish regions have their age requirements, many allow minors as young as 14 to get tattoos with parental consent. Other European countries like Germany and Austria also allow minors to get tattoos with parental permission.

Moving beyond Europe, Brazil is another country where minors can legally get tattoos with parental consent. It’s not uncommon for Brazilian teens to celebrate their 16th birthday by getting inked. Other South American countries like Argentina and Chile also have similar laws regarding underage tattooing.

For 18-year-old above

Getting a Tattoo In The Uk
A neon sign that reads tattoo posted up on a shop

Getting a tattoo is a great way to express one’s personality and style. However, finding the right place to get inked can be challenging, especially for adults. The UK has several excellent tattoo options, from traditional designs to modern art-inspired pieces. 

Here are some of the best places in the UK to get your next tattoo.

First on our list is London Tattoo Convention. Held annually around August or September, this event brings together some of the best tattoo artists worldwide. It’s an excellent opportunity for people looking for unique designs or wanting to see different styles and techniques up close. The convention also features live music performances and other entertainment options.

London’s Good Times Tattoo is one of the best places to get a tattoo in the UK. This studio has gained a reputation for its talented and experienced artists specialising in traditional and contemporary designs. They use only top-quality ink and equipment, ensuring your tattoo will look great for years. The studio’s friendly staff also ensures clients feel comfortable throughout their experience.

Next up is The Family Business Tattoo Studio in London. This studio has been around for over 40 years and is home to some of the most talented artists in the industry. They use high-quality materials; their attention to detail is second to none.

If you are looking for options outside London, here is Dark Horse Collective in Birmingham, where you’ll find some incredible blackwork tattoos that will turn heads. This studio prides itself on its unique designs, exceptional hygiene standards, and friendly staff who make you feel at home.


In conclusion, it is important to remember that it is illegal to have a tattoo in the UK at 16. This may be disappointing for some people, but there are alternative options. Those under 16 can wait until they reach the legal age for a tattoo or visit another country where tattoo laws are more lenient

Ultimately, it is important to consider all options and make an informed decision when deciding whether or not to get a tattoo. You should also note that getting a tattoo at any age is a serious decision and should not be taken lightly.


How much will a tattoo cost in the UK?

The cost of a tattoo in the UK is expected to increase by about 20% over the next five years. This is due to a combination of factors, including rising supplies and costs and increased demand for tattoos.

The average price for a tattoo in the UK currently stands at £37.

Different types of tattoos in the UK?

The UK has a lot of different tattoo types, and they are pretty much popular among all age groups, such as:

– Traditional tattoos

– Japanese tattoo

– Polynesian tattoo

– Tribal tattoos

– Flower tattoos

What about when you want to remove the tattoo later on?

When you want your tattoo removed, you need to use laser therapy or an alternative method with a lower risk of scarring. Some other methods, like using a cream, cryotherapy, and peels, can also help remove tattoos without leaving any scars behind.