What parents need to know about the new intimate body piercing law in Wales

The law on intimate body piercing in Wales changed on February 1st 2018. As a result, it is now illegal to perform an intimate piercing on anyone who is under the age of 18 years in Wales. Wales is the first country to introduce this law with the aim of protecting the health and safety of young people and to to prevent them from possibly being placed in vulnerable situations. Here is everything that parents of young people need to know about the new intimate body piercing law in Wales.

Essential facts about the intimate body piercing law in Wales

intimate body piercing law in Wales - tongue piercing

The intimate body piercing law in Wales came into force on 1st February 2018 and applies to everybody in Wales, not just piercing businesses. Here are the essential facts that you need to know:

  • The law applies to all intimate body piercings. This includes the anus, breast (including the nipple and areola), buttock, natal cleft (the cleft between the buttocks), penis (including the foreskin), perineum, pubic mound, scrotum, tongue or vulva and applies to all genders. There have been some small studies into the rates of complications of this type of piercing. The findings should be treated with caution but rates as high as 50 percent have been recorded.
  • It is illegal for children under 18 years to have a piercing. The law is very clear. No-one can intimately pierce a child or young person under the age of 18 in Wales. This applies whether payment is made or not.
  • ‘Making arrangements’ is also illegal. It is against the law to make arrangements to perform an intimate piercing on a child or young person under the age of 18 in Wales. This includes making plans and booking an appointment.
  • The law affects existing piercings. Some parents may have teens who already have an intimate piercing. If a complication (such as an infection or embedding) occurs and the young person is not able to remove the piercing safely themselves, they will NOT be able to go back
    to the person who did the piercing for them and ask them to remove it or treat it. This is an important point as complications can arise with piercings months or years after they were initially carried out. Instead, medical treatment must be sought at a GP or a hospital.

  • The law applies only to Wales. The law applies to anyone performing or ‘making arrangements’ to perform an intimate piercing on a person under 18 in Wales and does not apply in other areas of the United Kingdom. However, it does apply to all visitors to Wales. So, for example, if you are on holiday in Wales, your child would not be able to have an intimate body piercing when they are here.
  • Looking over 18 is not enough. Proof of age is very important but the law does not specify which documents are needed. However, a piercer could ask for  a passport; a European
    Union photo card driving licence; a photographic identity card bearing the national
    Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram; or any other document that
    can prove the person is 18 or over. You can expect that your child will be asked their age when they first make the booking (and this will be recorded) and that they will be asked to verify their age again on the appointment date.
  • Piercers who break the law. If your child is under 18 years of age and receives an intimate body piercing after February 1st 2018 in Wales, it is viewed as a criminal offence. As a parent you can report this to your local authority. If a prosecution is taken and they are found guilty they will have to pay a fine.

intimate body piercing law in Wales tongue piercing

More information for teens and their parents

There is plenty of information on the intimate body piercing law in Wales on the Welsh Government website and information for caring for piercings provided by Public Health England, the Chartered Society of Environmental Health Officers, Health and Safety Laboratory and the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union can be found here.

Many many thanks to Dr. Sarah Jones, Team Manager Communicable Disease and Health and Safety at Shared Regulatory Services, Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan who is working with the Welsh Government and who provided the following additional information about the intimate body piercing law in Wales:


Part 5 of the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 will come into force on 1 February 2018. From this date it will be an offence in Wales to perform an intimate piercing on children and young people under the age of 18 in Wales and/or “make arrangements” to perform an intimate piercing on a person under the age of 18 in Wales.

Wales is the first country in the UK to introduce a nationwide ban on intimate piercing of under 18s. The aim of this new law is to better protect children and young people from the potential health harms which can be caused by an intimate piercing including infections and injuries. As young people continue to grow during their teenage years, an intimate piercing performed at a young age could result in further complications arising as their bodies develop.

Young people may also be less likely to have the experience or knowledge of how to clean or maintain an intimate piercing, leading to an increased risk of infection. The law also protects children through the removal of circumstances where children and young people are placed in a potentially vulnerable situation.

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  12 comments for “What parents need to know about the new intimate body piercing law in Wales

  1. February 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Oh my word. I didn’t even know you could get pierced in all those places!! Off to look up my state’s intimate piercings law…and chat with my kids!

    Katy recently posted…If Hockey Moms Got A MedalMy Profile

  2. February 6, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Not before time and, as Katy says above, why on earth!!! I hope to see this extended here too – makes such perfect sense. Can you tell I’m not a fan. I have an earring in each ear and that will be all. We have also said no to ear piercing for our daughter until she is at least 12. That’s not a popular stance but we are not far off now. My mum couldn’t bear to take me so I went with a neighbour. I have to say it turns my stomach to see people covered in them. Great news as far as I’m concerned, let’s hope it’s adhered to. Great post Sharon x
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…Tweens, Teens & Beyond Linky – Week #37My Profile

  3. February 6, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    That’s very interesting. I honestly thought that was already the law anyway! I guess I’ve just been to decent piercing parlours before now.

    The part about not being able to treat existing piercings is definition worthy of note.

    Thankfully my kids aren’t keen on their cousin’s tongue piercing so don’t think they’ll be heading that way anytime soon 🙂

  4. February 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Interesting and probably very sensible that people go to their doctor to seek medical advice with an infection. I have to admit I’m totally not a fan of body piercings, they give me the heebie-jeebies I can’t even look at those pictures!

  5. February 7, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    That seems sensible as you may change your mind as you get older. The only bit that seems a little odd is that you can’t go back to the person who did the piercing if you already have one if there are problems. Some medical staff may not feel confident about removing a piercing safely and I doubt if they’ve rolled out extra training now the law has changed.
    Tubbs recently posted…Buy Yourself Some FlowersMy Profile

  6. February 7, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I’m glad to say neither of my daughters showed any interest in piercings – even the more visible eyebrow/lip/nose piercings look painful to me, so I shudder to think how anything more ‘intimate’ feels! It’s very sensible to ban it for the under-18s (and I’m sure a lot of parents will be relived to have the ‘no you can’t have those piercings’ argument taken out of their hands), and I’m just surprised there isn’t the same restriction elsewhere.
    Mary Mayfield recently posted…Empty nest againMy Profile

  7. February 7, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    well i never, anus piercing is a new one to me and something i won’t be googling, i expect sites like that are blocked here in the UAE anyway. It’s the same though with tattooing, i know many a school age child when i was teaching in the UK as young as 13 with tattoo’s whose mothers took them in and lied about their age, wonders will never cease #tweensteensbeyond

  8. February 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    This should be the law everywhere! The very idea makes me shudder; I hope it isn’t something either of our two teens want to do. #TweensTeensBeyond

  9. February 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I just read this on a post linked up here with you by DIY daddy, I think it is great, so many complications can occur and so many teens are just to young to make a safe and logical choice about doing it in the first place. It would be great if the UK got on board also. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…week 80! A blogging good timeMy Profile

  10. Ren
    February 7, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Fantastic news, lets look after our kids! #tweensteensbeyond

  11. February 12, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I can’t believe this is only in Wales not everywhere!! I’ve been absolutely ignorant on this. I’m an absolute coward who fainted getting her ears pierced and won’t be too sad if the kids are fellow cowards !!#tweensteensbeyond
    Daydreams of a mum recently posted…Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman – a rantMy Profile

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