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2018“Safer Together”Conference for Tattoo Artists & Body Piercers

Hosted by Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, reviewed by Lola Slider

Hello reader and welcome to the UKAPP’s first official blog post! The UKAPP have been wanting to provide our members and the whole community with a monthly blog to better keep you in touch with what we actually do conference to conference. What good fortune then for our first month of blogging to coincide with the first ever “Safer Together” conference.

A little bit of background on the conference and our involvement – Public Health Wales passed new legislation in 2017 to introduce a new licence in development called a“Special Procedures” license designed to cover piercing, tattooing and some cosmetic services where practitioners come into contact with blood and needles for example micro-blading. Under this new scheme by 2020 individual practitioners of all experience levels will be required to sit a day course covering fundamental principles of infection control and work specific first aid. At this time there is really no test of competence in place to ensure a practitioner has even a very basic knowledge of cross contamination or infection control and that can pose a serious public health risk. There is also no system in place to prevent practitioners who have previously been shut down for health code violations from simply re-opening down the street with a different employees name on the license, as no individual license is required.

So in a nutshell the two key things this legislation will do is:

1. Provide a simple, essential, baseline of information all practitioners should have access to and- we cannot stress this enough – it is NOT a suggested replacement of in house training. It will not cover any practical information regarding tattoo application or piercing procedure. It focuses on basic infection prevention and safe work practice controls only.

2. It will give the Welsh government more powers to immediately halt work and prosecute individuals performing unlicensed or illegal tattooing and prevent persons who have previously been found guilty of health violations from automatically being able to work in another premises.

The UKAPP is working closely with the Welsh government to make sure that the course in development contains material that is relevant to our industry, so if you read no further, please be assured that the Welsh government is not attempting to blindly impose it’s will or give us extra hoops to jump through. The purpose of the Safer Together conference was the first of many events where they wish to work directly with the community to develop a course that is:

1. Affordable, with a transparent and justifiable cost.

2. Palatable to practitioners of all literacy levels and inclusive to practitioners with learning differences.

3. Less red tape, with one course valid across all 22 Welsh constituencies for 3 years (guest licenses also available)

So, how did the conference go down on the day? Very well actually!

If I sound a little surprised when I say that it’s only because I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had met Dr. Sarah Jones of the Health Policy Protection and Legislation Branch before at the UKAPP conference and had no doubt that this was a project of some significance to her but as this event is rather unusual in format, with a blend of Health Officers, Government Officials, Doctors, Tattooer and Piercers, I don’t think any of us knew exactly what to expect. What we actually got was a fantastic reception from the Radisson Blu Cardiff which was a lovely surprise. Hot and cold drinks, biscuits and pastries where available for all attendees and were restocked all through the day with soy milk being readily available at all times.A freshly prepared lunch buffet was laid on that seemed to cater to many dietary requirements and we had full access to the bar dining area which was a lovely breathing space so we weren’t at all confined to the function suite like cattle and you could breeze in and out quite freely for a coffee.The function suite itself was ballroom size (sold out to capacity it appeared) seating was available in round wedding style tables facing the stage. All equipped with table water, pads and pens. There were projector screens at the front and back of the room with an additional two flat screen TV’s in the middle to create an easily followed presentation regardless of seating position. All speakers had access to a microphone so all where audible and there were no significant technical issues.These elements might not seem important but I think it’s relevant to establish that for the ticket price (£30 early bird, £80 last minute) we were very much taken care of and the presentations of the day included 8 speakers, some of whom spoke more than once, who discussed a wide range of subjects from a modern history of tattooing to skin cancer awareness to a dermatologist’s look at infection. Another pleasant surprise was that attendance certificates where also provided to all attendees.

The UKAPP was approached by city council members from England interested in hosting similar events and we were also approached by doctors regarding our FGM leaflets so I definitely think attending these events increases our reach as an educational organisation into sectors we haven’t previously had an “in” to. One thing I did notice was that there were very few people in attendance that I knew already, online or in real life. For me that’s a really, really good thing because what kills a conference in my opinion is a room full of people who all know each other, who all agree already, nodding at each other. While there was a lot of positive feedback real criticisms where also raised and different pockets of the community were represented.

Low Points

So you’ll be pleased to hear there aren’t a lot of negative things I have to say about the conference. If I could make one criticism it would be that there wasn’t really a clear narrative about what’s going to happen now going forward. With a deadline of 2020 it would be good to see some sort of timeline – however the purpose of this conference was to get feedback from the community so I do appreciate that you can’t go forward until that feedback is take into consideration.I also think that some of the speakers slots could have been arranged in a slightly different order to give the day a better structure but that’s hindsight, organising this event for the first time it would be impossible to know exactly how each presentation would land or even what the audience demographics would be.

High Points

Pretty much all speakers where incredibly receptive to intense Q&A and showed a willingness to address community concerns. Sample material of potential future testing was available to attendees to provide feedback on which really puts attendees right in the centre of the conversation. Something new that I learned was that this new legislation also gives the local authority to power to refuse a license to individuals who have been convicted of a limited number of relevant crimes such as sexual assault, which provides a welcome protection for vulnerable customers. Another point of significance to the piercing community was that during Dr. Matt Lodder’s talk a photograph of the late Fakir Musafar was shown, as well as Shannon Larratt and Mr. Sebastian. These may be images we’ve seen before and for some people reading this, these people will have been in your life. We should as a community take a moment to appreciate the fact that these images where displayed and discussed at a conference attended by and paid for exclusively by the Welsh Government, so that’s really, really cool and it recognises their enduring achievements.

Industrial Strength showing increasing support


We have always been honored to have the support from quality jewellery suppliers over the founding of this endeavor but Industrial Strength UK have been with us from the very start.


Without this support, our annual seminars would have had a rockier road to journey to where they are today.

The encouragement alone has been worth its weight but on top of ongoing assistance, general willingness to participate and an overall sense of true camaraderie Industrial Strength UK really do want what’s best for both professional and clients alike.

It is in this amazing spirit that Industrial Strength UK has decided to dive right in and offer UKAPP members a marvelous discount – to show support and confidence in UK piercers, Inspiring safe piercers everywhere

Annual conference Birmingham September 4th

This year’s UKAPP annual conference was held in the Radisson Blue in Birmingham, over the two days of Sunday 4th and Monday 5th of September.Was a total hit!

fffWith the second floor dedicated to the UKAPP, its plush surroundings helped keep the atmosphere cozy but still professional. As you entered the hall space visitors were greeted by the welcome desk, staffed by both members of the board and a handful of the kindest volunteers. Here you were able to buy raffle tickets and have any questions answered about classes, times and locations etc. Wrapped around this area was the vending space, two huge spreads from both our friends at Industrial Strength UK – the official UKAPP sponsor – and the delightful crew from Lovely Lobes, who traveled across from Germany to show their support. Registration went swimmingly, with attendees receiving their wristband. A soft material keepsake indicating attendee or volunteer.



First up was Brian Skellie with ‘Asepsis and bevel theory’

Next up was Paul King addressing ‘Female genital piercing versus female mutilation’ again a very empowering response.

Following right after was Ryan Oullette teaching us Brits how to ‘Upsell jewellery’.

Last of the first day was Luis Garcia providing surface piercing technique.

By the end of the first day, with venue space slowly emptying, the overall feeling was sheer pride tinged with an indescribable energy. What an experience, so many attendees, so many wonderful comments.



Began with Ryan Oullette and ‘Ear piercing fundamentals’.

UKAPP board to make an announcement.

Luis Garcia to give his last class, ‘Advanced ear piercing’.

The event finale had local Matt Lodder, a historian and anthropologist in the field of body modification, piercing and tattooing.


Altogether, the seminars, the crowd, the location and the attendees mixed like a basket of kittens! – Some moments were calm, others had tons of energy and one way or another everything worked. Personally, I can’t wait till next year and couldn’t be prouder of the board and what has been accomplished in such a short time. But there is no chance it would have gone nearly so well without the support of the speakers and the APP as a whole. Three of our six board members have been APP scholars to the Vegas conference in the last few years. Providing a whopping opportunity to learn and see behind the scenes on how to organize such an event. Who knows what next year has install for us but if the growth and support from our first to the second year suggest anything – its that there is a huge yearning for this progression in the UK

Northern most meet (So far) Sunday 17th April 2016, Edinburgh.

Thank you to Nikki and Kate at Twit Twoo in Edinburgh for taking to the time to seek out such a fantastic venue and welcoming us to Scotland.

 Discussion Topics

 Apprenticeships, Training & Schools

 Female Genital Piercing

 3 Septum Techniques

 4 Septembers Meet, Venue, Fundraising

 5 Jewellery Finishes, PVD, Anodising

 6 Council Follow-up Forms13055258_10154191950589885_1092152534402010727_o

1 Apprenticeships, Training & Schools

 General discussion on entering piercing as a career. As a group it was mostly felt that we would like to encourage Apprenticeships over short paid courses/piercing schools.

 Look into releasing a statement on behalf of the UKAPP explaining our preference for Apprentice based ongoing learning and why we feel this benefit’s potential new piercers over other methods of learning.

 Possibly include information for aspiring piercers along with statements from piercers on how they entered the industry.

2 Female Genital Piercing

 Further discussion on FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) with regards to FGP (Female Genital Piercing).

 Amongst the group we spoke about FGP and our own experiences. Who has continued offering them, those that don’t currently offer these piercings. Experiences with Local Councils that regulate guidelines in each area and their stances on continuing to offer this service.

 Also customers with existing genital piercings that had had contact with doctors and their experiences.

 It’s noted that currently as a group the issue has mostly gone under the radar outside of a few London Boroughs.IMG_1075

3 Septum Techniques, Needles 

 Forceps versus NRT’s, marking, cannular needles or blades needles.

 Whilst we all have our preferred methods, we approach each client depending on their anatomy and discovered that we all make changes based each person.

 Blade needles, various suppliers and advantages/disadvantages. Use of bends in needles for various piercing locations and positioning the needle cutting area when piercing.  

4 September Meet, Venue, Fundraising

 Looking ahead to the meeting 4th September 2016. Birmingham appears to be one of the preferred locations amongst the group for travel.

 It was mentioned that the previous venue may not meet this years requirements with potentially more attendees and speakers. And that it may be worth looking into other venues and possibly enquiring with some of the larger hotel chains on venue hire and if it’s offered free or reduced if a number of attendees stay at the hotel.

 Fundraising to cover potential fees for speakers and maybe starting a donation page to contribute to cover costs for the event.

5 Jewellery Finishes13055897_10154191949994885_6431276188202745714_o

 Discussion on finishes of various native and imported jewellery suppliers. We spoke about PVD finishes and how they appear under magnification also.

6 Council Follow-Up Forms

Whilst speaking about unskilled piercers and those that don’t have the best interests of our industry at heart. We discussed the potential for a pre-printed form to encourage customers that had had issues or experienced dangerous practises to contact their local councils. Unfortunately most do not know who to contact and this may help councils to identify trouble spots sooner.

Thank you again to Nikki and Kate for finding such a lovely venue. Fantastic food and obscene amounts of Tea & Coffee were consumed.

 Lovely to see some new faces in amongst those we’ve already met.

  Be sure to look out for Wojciech’s photo’s too !

UK piercer meet-up Southern Social – Minutes

The last meeting was held in South Hampton on the 31st January 2016 and had a wonderful turn out. Piercers travelled from as far away as Scotland  and Holland


UK Piercer Meet Up – Southern Social – 31/01/2016 Minutes

Discussion TopicsIMG_6577

1. UKAPP Membership Criteria


3. UKAPP Membership Perks

4. Daith/Migraine Discussion

1. UKAPP Membership Criteria
An open discussion was held to discuss minimum membership criteria. As well as the PHRS scheme that was put forward to following points were raised to be added:

* Vacuum Autoclave

* Non-porous surfaces and floors in piercing area

* There is to be no judgment made based on a piercers technical ability

* Protected thread insertion for fresh piercing – Internal, External with guide pins or cannula covering threads or Threadless

* No plastics used for fresh piercings

IMG_6606* Fresh gloves used for every client

* A valid First Aid and CPR certificate must be held and renewed when certificate lapses rather than annually

* Blood Borne Pathogens/Infection control certificate must be held and renewed when certificate lapses rather than annually

* Jewellery must meet minimum implant grade materials

* No reprocessing of jewellery. Every piercing must have a brand new piece of jewellery

* Jewellery to be dismantled to component parts before sterilisation

* Sterilisation procedure must be written and held on premises

* Daily Helix tests as a minimum

* A sterilisation logbook of each cycle and cycle contents must be kept

* Sterilisation log book to stored on cloud storage – either transferred via USB or photographed

* No pressure cookers allowed for sterilisation

* Autoclaves must have printouts or chemical integrators must be used with each cycle

* No piercing guns allowed

* Autoclave must receive a service and certification at least once annually

* Members may not advertise the ability to fix any medical condition

* Sterile gloves are not a minimum criteria


Raph from Extreme Needle has created a group called Hate Hate to start the process of changing legislation to allow FGP within the UK. Raph brought along Andrex who has extensive Legal knowledge and explained to us what they have achieved so far. Raph explained that the since April 2015 FGP has been illegal and can carry a 14 year jail term and registration on the sex offenders register, also that the UK and French governments are working

together to tackle the issue of FGM and the French government has convicted over 100 people but the UK government hasn’t convicted anyone. Due to the lack of UK convictions Raph explained that a worry of a piercer being made a scapegoat is a very real possibility, especially in areas with high ethnic diversity. Statistics state that around 12% of the UK population are victims of FGM (although when asked where these statistics were from Andrex informed us this is one of the questions she has put in the POI request she has made).

Andrex explained to us that she has been placing Freedom of information requests to the World Health Organisation to find out where they are getting the data that they have used to put together the legislation in the UK. Once Hate Hate has this information they can work towards combatting the restrictions placed on our idustry. This is a mammoth task as the World Health Organisations nearest office to the UK is based in Denmark and as such they don’t fall under UK law. As Andrex is not a piercer she is able to place these FOI requests free of charge as she has no professional interest. This is an amazing resource for the piercing industry as FOI requests cost tens of thousands of pounds each.

The process of bringing FGP back to the UK will be a slow one and the UKAPP ask that any piercer who can help Hate Hate to please do so. Hate Hate request that information is kept out of the public eye for now to allow them time to build momentum with their movement.

The issue of informed consent came up and it was recommended that all piercers research informed consent form the medical world.

Informed consent definition provided by

“informed consent consent of a patient or other recipient of services based on the principles of autonomy and privacy;this has become the requirement at the center of morally valid decision making in health care and research. Sevencriteria define informed consent: (1) competence to understand and to decide, (2) voluntary decision making, (3)disclosure of material information, (4) recommendation of a plan, (5) comprehension of terms (3) and (4), (6) decision infavor of a plan, and (7) authorization of the plan. A person gives informed consent only if all of these criteria are met. Ifall of the criteria are met except that the person rejects the plan, that person makes an informed refusal.”

If anyone would like further information please contact Andrex at

IMG_65913. UKAPP Membership Perks

An open discussion was held to see what the piercers of the UK would like to get back from the UKAPP. The following topics were raised and the UKAPP will begin attempting to gain these for its members:

* Jewellery discounts

* UKAPP sign Usage

* UKAPP watermark usage

* A database of members accessible by the public

* Standardised paperwork – Aftercare sheets, consent forms etc

* Recommended Practice

* Piercer specific insurance – Possible discount incentive

* Stock Specific insurance

* Public Outreach program

* Autoclave purchase/service discount

4. Daith/Migraine DiscussionIMG_6605

The current issue of daith piercings being linked to curing migraines was discussed. The general consensus was that this will all blow over. A main point that came up was that everyone agreed that no piercer should be advertising the ability to cure any medical condition as piercers are not medical practitioners.

If anyone would like further information on any of these subjects or to request a subject be brought up at a future event please contact