By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
Skin WIzard closed up shop about two weeks ago, with its owner saying business from two universities had declined too much over the past year.
The news comes about six months after the parlor was cited by the Texas Department of Health for “objectionable conditions.”
But Scott Buck, who owned the parlor that had been located at 2019 Ambler Avenue dismissed the charges as “oversights” and said he exceeded state sterilization standards.
The parlor, which also ran CD Exchange and Gift, had been located at 2019 Ambler and been established in Abilene for the past seven years.
Buck said the inspection report had nothing to do with his closing Skin Wizard.
“It got to where it wasn’t worth the trouble anymore,” Buck said from his Brownwood home. He said he may restart the business in Brownwood.
A random TDH inspection conducted at Skin Wizard May 21 discovered several sterilization violations. Some sterilized needles had passed the lawful 30-day deadline for use.
The department has mandated that any sterilized equipment must be initialed and dated, and then resterilized every 30 days. Eight packages used in body piercing and seven used in tattooing had exceeded that 30-day limit. Two piercing packages had not been initialed or dated at all.
“It is a fairly common violation” among tattoo parlors, said John Gower, director of programs for drugs and cosmetics at TDH. “It’s not to say the items are not sterile. That’s just how rules are set up.”
The inspection report said a worker at the establishment, Ricardo Muniz, began correcting the problems right away.
Buck said the problem arose because the packages contained rarely used equipment, and the failure to resterilize was an “oversight.”
More troubling, Gower said, was Skin Wizard’s failure to produce a Department of Health tattoo license, which every tattoo parlor must have to run legally. Gower said TDH records showed Skin Wizard to have been operating without a tattoo license since September 2001 and without a piercing license since June of this year, a month after the inspection.
“That’s not very common,” Gower said of the parlor’s lack of a license. “Most studios are licensed and in good standing. This firm is still delinquent, and that part of the process is being dealt with.”
Buck disagreed, saying some tattoo parlors, including one operating in Brownwood, have opened without ever applying for a TDH license.
“Inspectors are not getting around like they should,” he said. “There are so many shops in Texas, but they haven’t added many investigators. They’ve got their hands too full.”
Skin Wizard had gotten a lot of business from ACU and Hardin-Simmons University, but student business had tapered off, Buck said.
“We tried real hard to have a sterile environment,” he said. “We went beyond the state’s guidelines” by using hospital-strength virus killers. “The state doesn’t make us use that stuff,” he said.
Abilene still has two piercing and tattoo parlors–Happy Dragon Tattooing and Too Cool Body Piercing, located at 2638 S. 14th St., and Nicolle’s Body Art, at 1138 N. Mockingbird Ln.