For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.
When can I get a tattoo, piercing or other body modification?
- Tattoos: you have to be 18 to get a tattoo.
- Piercings: There’s no specific age you have to be to get a piercing or body mark. It depends on whether you fully understand what is involved. It is up to the piercer to decide this. If you want a piercing in a private place (like your genitals or nipples), you have to wait until you’re 18.
- At school and work: your school or workplace may have specific rules or policies about tattoos, piercings and body marks, so it’s a good idea to check these first.
- Watch out for infections! Remember to protect yourself from diseases by going to a registered tattoo parlour with someone who is trained and hygienic
In Queensland you need to be 18 to get a tattoo. You are not able to get a tattoo while you are under 18, even if you have parental consent.
You cannot get a piercing in a private area (like your genitals or nipples), until you are over 18 years old, even if you have your parent’s permission.
There is no specific age you must be get a piercing or other body modification on a place other than a private area. If you are under 18, it will depend on whether you are capable of forming a sound and reasoned judgement and fully understand what is involved.
In deciding whether or not you understand what is involved, the piercer will need to consider:
- your age and maturity;
- the type of piercings and where you want them;
- whether you understand the long term impact of the piercing, what it involves, and things that might go wrong (like health and recovery after the piercing, side effects from infections or other complications)
Generally, if you are under 18, piercing studios will still require a form of consent from a parent or guardian.
Having a tattoo, piercings and body modifications at school or work
Your school or workplace may have specific rules or policies about tattoos, piercings and body marks, so it’s a good idea to check these first. These rules are legal as long as they are not unreasonable or discriminatory.
If a tattoo, piercing or body modification is part of your cultural background, for example your race, descent or ethnic heritage, then it may be unlawful discrimination for a school or workplace to ban you from having it. For more information on this, check out our page on discrimination.
If you have a specific question on this topic, please contact us here.
Before you get a tattoo, body mark or piercing
- Do you want it forever? remember, tattoos and other markings are permanent. It is important to think about whether you want a tattoo or other mark for the rest of your life. Also, keep in mind that tattoos and piercings can be painful to get and that piercings can leave scars or holes even after you take the jewellery out.
- Staying safe – when you get a tattoo or piercing, there is always a risk that you can will contract a disease like Hepatitis C or B, HIV or a bacterial infection. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to always go to a professional tattoo artist and piercer. Also, you should make sure that the tattoo studio is safe and hygienic and that all tools are sterilised. This means that you should avoid home tattoo or piercing parlours, or DIY kits (even if your friend is the one doing it!). All tattoo parlours in Queensland have to be authorised by obtaining an operator licence. All individual tattooists must also have a tattooist licence. It’s a good idea to check that your tattoo parlour has one before getting anything done. You get can more information about this here: http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/20/40/17/Body-Piercing–So-you-are-thinking-of-getting-a-piercing
If you have any questions about getting a tattoo, piercing or other body modification, please contact us here.
March 29, 2018
February 16, 2021
Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (QLD)
Department of Health and Community Services (NT) v JWB & SMB (Marion’s case) (1992)
Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority 
Gillick v West Norfolk Area Health Authority 
Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)
Summary Offences Act 2005 (QLD)
Tattoo Industry Act 2013 (QLD)