Who Can Legally Perform Microblading?

November 30, 2021

Microblading is currently one of the largest growing trends in the medical spa industry.

What is Microblading?

Microblading is a semi-permanent cosmetic tattooing treatment that fills in sparse eyebrows. The technique uses a hand-held tool with needles to apply pigments that simulate additional hairs. This article from Allure provides a summary of the odds and ends of microblading, as well as key considerations before going under the “microblade.” For those looking to offer microblading as a service, it’s important to note that its exposure has been growing both on social media and among Hollywood stars, and as such, its popularity in medical spas has been growing as well. 

Not all of the attention has been positive, however. This news story out of Los Angeles highlights several patients who were injured due to improper treatment. Negative publicity often brings increased attention from regulators who are trying to ensure patient and customer safety. Thus, before performing microblading in a medical spa, or anywhere for that matter, knowledge of the state and local regulations will be essential to running a complaint business. 

Who Can Perform Microblading?

The legal particulars for microblading in aesthetics can be hard to find and will likely vary from state to state. Most states consider microblading to be some form of tattooing, or body art, and often fall under the state’s health services department. For example, microblading in Florida is regulated by the Department of Health (and not the cosmetology board) because it is considered a form of tattooing. So, as a result, a person may perform microblading if they are at least 18 years old, licensed by the Department of Health, and in a facility that meets the standards of a body art facility. Illinois is similar because microblading is considered a form of cosmetic tattooing and is regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Depending on the state, physician supervision might be required, therefore, it is vital to understand your state’s rules and regulations.

Microblading Regulations in Texas

Texas refers to microblading as intradermal cosmetics. The Texas Department of State Health Services describes intradermal cosmetics as permanent make up that is generally applied to the eyebrows, eyelids, and lips. Texas requires any business participating in producing an indelible mark on a human body by scarring or inserting pigment under the skin using needles, or other related equipment to be licensed with the Department of State Health Services.

According to Texas law, the license holder must be a person 18 years or older and the license from the Department must be displayed in a prominent place in the tattoo studio. Some cities in Texas will have local ordinances that are more stringent than the state in general. In the medical context, if microblading is part of a treatment plan outside of a tattoo studio, then it must be performed by a physician, a physician assistant, or a nurse practitioner, or another properly trained individual subject to the appropriate supervision and delegation regulations.

Microblading Regulations in California

In the state of California, microblading falls under the definition of “body art.” Body art is defined as piercing, tattooing, branding, or application of permanent cosmetics. Additionally, permanent cosmetics means the application of pigments in human skin tissue for the purpose of permanently changing the color or other appearance of the skin. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has made clear that it does not regulate microblading, and should instead consult with the California Department of Public Health. 

Under the California Safe Body Art Act, any individual who wishes to perform microblading needs to be at least 18 years old, registered with a local enforcement agency, properly trained on bloodborne pathogens, and working in a body art facility that meets health and safety code standards with a valid health permit. In California, estheticians may perform microblading as long as they perform the treatment as a tattoo artist, display their tattoo license, and the treatment takes place in a microblading/permanent cosmetics area away from the esthetic treatments.

When microblading is part of a medical treatment plan, the order must be performed by a licensed physician, a physician assistant under a signed practice agreement, a nurse practitioner acting under standardized procedures, or a registered nurse under appropriate supervision.

Microblading Regulations in Oklahoma

While most states define microblading as some form of body art, Oklahoma takes a step off the beaten path by recognizing microblading as a medical procedure. Under Oklahoma law, “medical micropigmentation” is defined as a medical procedure in which any color or pigment is applied with a needle or electronic machine to produce a visible permanent mark through the skin above the jawline. The Oklahoma Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SCPC) announced that the terms permanent cosmetics, micropigmentation, dermal implantation, microblading/microstroking, eyebrow embroidery, and long-time/long-lasting makeup, are simply different names for the same procedure – cosmetic tattooing.

Under Oklahoma law, to perform any procedure producing a visible permanent mark under the skin with the application of a needle or electronic machine will require the person to be a Certified Medical Micropigmentologist. In order to be certified, an individual must first complete the required training, and once certified, the licensee must provide services under the direction and supervision of a physician. To learn more about the rules and regulations and how to obtain a Medical Micropigmentation Certification click here. Even though microblading regulations seem similar across the states, that isn’t always the case, so it is always best to verify your state and local ordinances before performing microblaing services in a medical spa setting. If you’d like to learn more about who can perform what services in a medical spa, check out Who Can Do What in a Med Spa

Contact ByrdAdatto

At ByrdAdatto we are working hard to ensure our clients are well equipped and ready for operating their business. If you have questions regarding this article, reach out to info@byrdadatto.com.

ByrdAdatto attorney Alex Thiersch

Alex R. Thiersch

Brooklyn H. Townsend