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The state Department for Public Health has filed proposed new regulations for tattooing in Kentucky.

It is the first time in 15 years that updates have been made to the state’s body art regulations.

One of the proposed changes under Standard Operating Procedures for Tattooing is the prohibition of tattooing scarred skin.

The proposal does not define “scarred skin” and artists say without clarification, tattoos would be considered as a scar, so they could not provide cover-up tattoos, either.

“On average, at least probably two or three times a week, you get somebody coming in here that wants some type of scar covered up,” Tattoo Charlie’s manager and artist Darin Ennis said.

“Generally, they’re self-inflicted scars from kids that were not really sure of their place in society for a while. Some of them are surgical scars, some are burn scars.”

Alonzo Chappell of Zoe’s Tattoos and Piercings in Old Louisville said it’s common for people to request tattoos to cover up scars. “It’s really a healing process.”  | Screenshot from WLKY

At Zoe’s Tattoos and Piercings in Old Louisville, the owner says they tattoo over scars nearly every day.

“It’s really a healing process. I mean, a lot of people come to have closure on maybe a scar or some kind of burn,” owner Alonzo Chappell said.

The Department for Public Health has not said why it wants to ban tattooing over scars.

A public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held Tuesday, May 28. It will be at the Health Services Building in Frankfort at 9 a.m.

Written comments on the topic are being accepted until May 31. They can be sent to the following:

Chase Coffey, Executive Administrative Assistant
Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
275 East Main Street 5 W-A
Frankfort, Ky. 40621