Special treatments licence

Premises offering special treatments, such as massage, acupuncture, manicure, piercing and tattooing, sauna and light, electric or vapour treatments must have a licence.

Teeth whitening is not a licensable service. You may be subject to legal action by the General Dental Council if you offer or facilitate this service without being an appropriately registered professional.

Legislation summary

You can read the London Local Authorities Act 1991 and London Local Authorities Act 2000 here.


If you're a member of a professional body, check the exempted organisations list (pdf, 160kb) to see if you're exempt. If you're in an exempt professional organisation, you still need to tell us which organisation you belong to and provide your membership details.

If the special treatment is carried out by, or under the supervision of, a member of one of these bodies, you don't need a licence for that specific treatment.

Exemption only applies to the special treatments specified in the ‘Treatments’ column next to the organisation. If you offer any other special treatments at the premises that aren't administered by a member of a relevant exempt organisation, the premises will require a licence.

If you believe you're exempt from the requirement of having a licence, you must submit necessary evidence. Otherwise, you must apply for a licence. For more information, contact us

Applying for a new licence

You can apply for a new special treatments licence online.

We advise you to read the guidance notes (pdf, 213kb) and standard licence conditions (pdf, 78kb) before applying.

Once you have submitted and paid for your application online, it is automatically sent to the responsible authorities, so there is no need for applicants to send in paper hard copies. A notice of the application must be placed in the window of the premises for the whole duration of 28 days and also in the local newspaper. Please download a copy of the public notice (pdf, 28kb) to be printed on A3 white paper and the newspaper notice (pdf, 28kb) to assist you.

Variation of a licence

If you already have a current licence but want to provide a treatment not covered in the terms of your licence or add an operative, you'll be required to seek a variation and pay a variation fee per operative and they must all have advance level 2. You can vary to an existing licence online.

Renewal of a licence

If you already hold a licence, you'll automatically be sent a renewal letter approximately one month before the expiry date. You can renew an existing licence online.

Transfer a licence

You can transfer a licence online.

Licences become due for renewal on 31 July. Your licence may be issued for a shorter or longer period so that it coincides with the renewal date. The maximum duration of a licence in this case is 18 months.


You can view our public control fees (pdf, 203kb) list here.

Application evaluation process

Once your application is received, a licensing officer will contact you to make arrangements to carry out an inspection of your premises.

The inspection will ensure that the premises meet the standards in the licensing conditions.

Safety requirements

We advise you to read the guidance notes on safety regulations:


If your application is unsuccessful, you may appeal. If you need help with your appeal, download a copy of the application and objections procedure (pdf, 65kb).

Any application for a special treatments licence that's opposed and cannot be resolved by our licensing service will be set down for determination by the Licensing Sub Committee at an oral hearing in public. Download the guideance for public hearings (pdf, 21kb) for more information.

If you're experiencing issues applying for a licence or if you have any questions, contact us on licensing@southwark.gov.uk

Page last updated: 11 July 2018