Body Art Establishments


Please be aware that as of December 1, 2023 The City of Rahway Department of Health will NO LONGER be accepting cash. 

All fee's must be paid by Check or Money Order.

  1. Health_Red_Black

    Andrea Alvare

    Director/Health Officer

In the State of New Jersey body art establishments must be licensed or permitted to operate within the local health department’s jurisdiction.

The term body art includes piercings, tattooing, and permanent cosmetics. Body art establishments must be licensed or permitted to operate with approved practitioners. Our inspectors preform annual site visits of establishments within our jurisdiction to ensure that there is ongoing compliance. We also respond out to a number of complaints of unlicensed body art facilities and complaints regarding inadequate sanitary practices.

In the event that infection occurs that is related to a body art procedure, we contact the General Sanitation Project of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) that assists local health authorities with investigations of reported infections.

The New Jersey Body Art regulations are available under N.J.A.C. 8:27-1, et seq.

  • Body Piercing
  • Ear Piercing
  • Skin and Lash Procedures
  • Microblading
  • Permanent cosmetics


Helpful Links

CDC Body Art Topics                                               

NJDOH Body Art Guidelines                                    

NJDOH Tanning Facilities

FDA Tattoo & Permanent Makeup: Fact Sheet

Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals

Tattoo Facts

Typically, the tattoo artist uses a hand-held machine that acts much like a sewing machine, with one or more needles piercing the skin repeatedly. With every puncture, the needles inserts tiny ink droplets. This process causes a certain amount of bleeding and pain. The Tattoo & Body Piercing Establishment program is in place to prevent injury and the possible transmission of diseases through tattoos and body piercings.

Our inspections look at the overall sanitation of the facilities to assure compliance with the state code requirements.

Anyone considering a tattoo or piercing should go to a reputable facility that is licensed and inspected by their local health department. If not done properly, tattoos and body piercings can come with serious health side effects.

Employees at licensed establishments are trained to ensure that procedures are done in a way that minimizes the transmission of communicable diseases and the risk of infection.

Body/Ear Piercing Facts

What is the Definition of Piercing?

Body piercing is the insertion of an ornament into a perforation made in the tissue (1) for decorative, cultural, spiritual, or other reasons.

 Depending on the area of the body that is being pierced, tissue of various types will be perforated, (for example the cartilage of the ear, erectile tissue of the nipple, or mucous membrane and muscle of the tongue). Legislation sometimes excludes piercing of the ear under the definition of “body piercing,” but the health and safety issues concerning body piercing apply equally to the ear and to all parts of the body. This exclusion undermines the organization’s effectiveness in protecting the public health.

  1. De Zheng

    Chief Registered Environmental Health Specialist
    Additional Phone: 732-827-2085

  2. Marvin Yanez

    Registered Environmental Health Specialist
    Additional Phone: 732-827-2085

Microblading Facts

Is it tattooing?

With the sudden popularity and media attention to the term microblading, many are led to believe microblading is not a tattoo process. Permanent cosmetics, micropigmentation, dermal implantation, microblading/microstroking, eyebrow embroidery, and long-time/long-lasting makeup, are all different names for the same procedure – cosmetic tattooing. Any time color is placed into the skin with any device, it is a tattoo process as defined by many well informed regulators, the medical community, and dictionary sources. Denying this process is a tattoo can be problematic for those who would, for religious or other personal reasons, normally refuse to have a tattoo.

Is a blade being used to perform the microblading tattoo procedure?

Microblading is performed with a grouping or configuration of needles affixed to a handle to manually create lines that resemble eyebrow hairs. Manual methods of tattooing have been used through the ages, and the tools have gone through changes over time from pre-historic sharpened stones to the hand tool devices currently being used. An actual scalpel or cutting-type blade should not be used under any circumstances as these are considered medical devices and cannot legitimately be used for this process. Any hand tool device (i.e., both handle and attached needles) used for microblading should be pre-sterilized and fully disposable.

Is it semi-permanent?

Some are promoting microblading or eyebrow embroidery as a semi-permanent process; and that the color only reaches the epidermal (outer) layer of the skin. A careful review of basic skin anatomy and physiology would reveal this is not true. By definition and tattoo industry standards, color is tattooed/implanted into the dermis of the skin. If pigment particles do not reach the dermis, they will disappear during the healing phase of the skin, during normal regeneration of cells at the epidermal level. Pigments do fade in the skin over time, but that does not make the process semi-permanent. It is impossible to predict how much pigment will fade away and how long it will take to do so with any measure of consistency or reliability.

Why does microblading not last as long as other eyebrow tattooing techniques?

This is simply because a much smaller amount of pigment is inserted (tattooed) into the skin as compared to fully or solidly filled eyebrow tattoos.

Is there less training needed to learn microblading as compared to learning permanent cosmetics?

No; if someone is new to the industry and does not already have a minimum of 100 hours of training in permanent cosmetics, they need to have a similar amount of training in microblading, even if it is for just that one type of procedure. There are many areas of study when learning these techniques, which include facial morphology and bone structure, brow shaping and design, color analysis, color theory, proper handling of equipment, prevention of cross-contamination, as well as practice work and the opportunity to observe procedures before actually performing them under supervision. Anyone interested in pursuing training in cosmetic tattooing, including microblading, should first check with state and county regulating agencies. This would also include verifying the qualifications of any trainer, in addition to checking with regulatory agencies for trainer compliance with local health, safety, or permit requirements if the trainer is travelling from another state or country to offer training.

Permanent Cosmetic Facts

What is it?

Permanent cosmetic makeup is cosmetic tattooing. The specialized techniques used for permanent cosmetics are often referred to as “micropigmentation”, “micropigment implantation” or “dermagraphics”. The cosmetic implantation technique deposits colored pigment into the upper reticular layer of the dermis.

How are Permanent Cosmetic Procedures Performed?

Permanent cosmetics procedures are performed using various devices, including the traditional tattoo coil machines, the pen or rotary machine (includes the digital rotary machines) and the non-machine or hand device. The process includes a consultation, the application of pigment, and at least one or more follow up visits for evaluating the healed design work and color of the pigment.

 What Type of Permanent Cosmetic Procedures can be Done?

 Permanent Cosmetic procedures can be very subtle or dramatic depending on what you are looking for. Options include:

  • Eyebrows
  • Eyeliner, Top and Bottom 
  • Lipliner, Lip Color, and Blend
  • Scar Camouflage, Beauty Marks, Hair imitation, Lash Enhancement, and Areola Repigmentation

NOTE: Some of these procedures use more advanced techniques (para-medical techniques) and thus require an experienced technician with advanced training.