Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders and the Safer Communities Partnership launched their tattoo safety campaign ‘Think twice, tattoo once’ this week.
The campaign is encouraging anyone, whatever their age, thinking of getting a tattoo to ensure they use a properly licensed tattooist who is regularly inspected by the council’s regulatory services staff.
Dr Eric Baijal, director of public health for the Borders, said: “Unlicensed tattooists and piercers who use unsafe and unhygienic practices can cause short and long term health problems such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and skin infections that can cause scarring.
And Councillor Ron Smith, executive member for planning and environment, added: “Licensed tattooists use disposable equipment such as needles and examination-type gloves, and approved autoclave equipment for sterilising any of their kit that is non-disposable.
“I would therefore encourage anyone, be they young or old, who is considering a tattoo to ‘Think twice, tattoo once’ and use a properly licensed tattooist.”
The tattoo safety campaign will see posters, drinks coasters and leaflets distributed to encourage everyone to consider the risks and choose to use a properly licensed tattooist.
An interactive awareness raising programme has also been developed, which will be used in schools to educate 14-16-year-old children about the potential health risks and advise them that it illegal to get a tattoo under age 18 even with parental consent.
Inspector John Scott from Police Scotland’s Lothian and Scottish Borders Division explained: “It is illegal for any tattoo premises to operate without a licence and the public are urged to use recognised and reputable businesses if they are considering getting a tattoo.”