AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine public health officials say unlicensed tattoo artists are an increasing problem.
The Maine Center for Disease Control says the number of complaints regarding unlicensed tattoo artists more than doubled last year, from 13 in 2010 to 31 in 2011.
Many of those complaints were about so-called “tattoo parties,” gatherings in private homes where unlicensed tattoo artists can ink minors and avoid paying taxes.
Lisa Roy of the Maine CDC tells WCSH-TV there is also the risk of spreading diseases, including skin infections, hepatitis and HIV.
The trend is sending more people to properly licensed tattoo parlors to fix botched jobs.
The penalty for performing tattoos without a license can be a fine of up to $500 and a 6-month jail sentence.