4 Investigates: Reports reveal 40% of tattoo parlors in NM fail inspections | KOB 4

4 Investigates: Reports reveal 40% of tattoo parlors in NM fail inspections

Chris Ramirez
Created: November 24, 2019 10:28 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A review of two years’ worth of inspection reports revealed 40% of tattoo parlors across New Mexico failed inspections by state regulators.

Each year, compliance officers with the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department inspect the hundreds of tattoo and body art establishments spread out across the state.  They ensure the business is properly licensed, each artist is properly licensed and sanitation and hygiene standards are maintained. One failure in a category means a failed inspection report.


If you are interested in getting a tattoo, here are a few tips to make sure you’re asking the right questions:

1. State law mandates inspection reports are clearly posted in public view.  Find the report and review it. The pass or fail grade will be at the top of the report.  If the establishment has failed, inquire about it and be sure to ask what they have done to remedy the failure.

2. Every artist and apprentice is required to post a license in their work area. Compare the photo on the license to the artist to ensure it’s the same person.  Also check to make sure the license has not expired.

3. Before any tattooing begins, ask the artist to see all the inks and needles they will use on you.  Each needle should be packaged in sterile materials.  Inks and needles all have expiration dates.  Check to ensure expiration dates are valid.

4. Ensure the artist uses sterile gloves at all times. The artist should never cross contaminate the gloves.  For example, of the artist handles money or food, they should change gloves before performing any body art on you.

To file a complaint about body art performed on you in New Mexico, you can fill out this form.

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