Man with tattoos on leg sits on suitcase by the road
Courtesy of TheDigitalWay and Pixabay

A proposal to ban tattooing over scars has been dropped by the state of Kentucky after an outcry from the public.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced Tuesday that it had revised a set of proposed tattoo regulations after receiving more than 600 comments.

“Based on comments received, we elected to remove the language relating to scar tissue,” said Public Health Commissioner Jeff Howard.

He also noted in the news release, “We truly appreciate the valuable input from the public in the regulation review process.”

Earlier this year, tattoo artists had complained about the proposal, pointing out that it’s common for people to ask for scars to be covered up. The scars may be self-inflicted or a result of surgery or other circumstances.

Initially, the cabinet was vague about the reason for the proposal, simply noting that the overall state regulations on tattooing hadn’t been changed in 15 years. But it later pledged to revisit the matter.

Tuesday, the Cabinet said: “The intent of the language prohibiting the tattooing of skin that is scarred should have been to prohibit the tattooing of freshly scarred skin. However, that part was left out of the filed version of this administrative regulation. The Cabinet agrees there is a lack of available evidence to support this prohibition.”

woman with tattoos poses with hands cradling face
Courtesy of Pixabay and Pexels

An updated version of the regulations has been filed with the Legislative Research Commission and will be on the agenda of an Administrative Regulation Review subcommittee meeting in August.

Among other things, the state is proposing:

  • A requirement for a notarized statement of parental consent when minors come in for a tattoo without a parent or legal guardian.
  • An outline of the registration process for tattoo studios, with increased fees to offset the inspection cost.
  • A requirement that a person registering as a tattoo artist complete blood-borne pathogen training.
  • An update of the disinfectant and equipment sterilization process.
  • Revised requirements for a temporary event license and workstation size.
  • Updated definitions for various terms and updated record-keeping procedures.
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Darla Carter
Darla Carter is a hometown girl who recently joined the staff of Insider Louisville to mostly cover health. She previously served as a longtime health and fitness writer for The Courier-Journal, where she also worked for the Metro, Neighborhoods and Features departments. Prior to that, the award-winning journalist wrote for newspapers elsewhere in Kentucky and Tennessee, covering a range of topics, from education to courts. She's a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she studied journalism and philosophy, and is the proud mom of two young children.