A TATTOO artist from Pontypool has been told she is the first woman in Wales to receive the highest standard of hygiene rating during a recent inspection.

Kemi Agbaje’s Lasting Impressions Tattoo Studio on Blaendare Road obtained the highest hygiene rating, a four out of four, following an inspection by Torfaen County Borough Council on April 30.

The Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme (THRS) is a voluntary system, launched in September 2013, aimed at improving standards of tattooists across Wales and allowing the public to choose a tattooist that meets high standards of hygiene. Successful premises receive a certificate and a window sticker to display.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) said the scheme would help prevent the rise of backstreet tattooists.

Although voluntary, it is hoped customers would “draw their own conclusions” if studios opted out, said CIEH.

Hygiene grades of between one and four can be awarded to tattooists, with four being “very good”.

Ms Agbaje said: “I was just shocked when they told me that I was the first woman in Wales to receive the award. They told me there are only two women in England who has it as well.

“It’s great for me obviously, being a woman and for my studio.

I’m just really excited to have received it and I think it’s a good thing for the industry that they’re doing the rating scheme.”

A CIEH survey showed 70 per cent of people with a tattoo and 78 per cent of potential customers would be influenced in their decision of where to get a tattoo by a hygiene rating scheme.

Tattooists surveyed said a hygiene rating scheme would give them a commercial advantage over poor operators and boost the safety image of the industry.