- Katie Baker is a TikToker who makes videos about her experiences as a tattoo artist.
- Baker shared the top aftercare mistakes she sees people make after getting inked.
- Baker said people often spend too much money on aftercare products, and that communication is key.
Katie Baker is a TikToker and tattoo artist at Golden Skull Tattoo in Kennewick, Washington.
Baker makes educational videos about her experience in the tattoo industry for her 250,000 followers on TikTok, including a video on tattoos she would refuse to do (which has more than a million views), as well as stories about her various clients.
She previously spoke to Insider about the advice she’d give to people who are getting inked for the first time. Her tips included having mutual trust through communication with your tattoo artist, as well as researching both the tattoo shop and tattoo artist.
But ensuring the tattoo of your dreams doesn’t stop when you leave the tattoo shop, according to Baker. Aftercare is extremely important in making sure your new ink heals correctly.
Baker shared some of the most common aftercare mistakes that she sees people making.
There’s no one set rule for aftercare, according to Baker
Baker told Insider she wanted to issue a disclaimer that these observations are from her own experience and that every tattoo artist will give different advice.
She said the most common mistake she’s witnessing is when people falsely believe the “one size fits all” approach. In reality, Baker said, everyone has a different skin type so it will depend on what works best for that individual.
“Aftercare is a science, as well as an art, in understanding that people have different skin textures, different skin types. Certain things that work for one person won’t work for another,” Baker said, adding that while one person might have to constantly clean their tattoo, another person’s skin won’t require as much cleaning.
“There’s no one set rule for aftercare,” she said.
That being said, there are a number of dermatologist-approved aftercare methods that are likely to help prevent infection. Joshua Zeichner, MD, and Elliot Love, DO, previously told Insider that you should leave your tattoo covered for 24 hours before cleaning it with antibacterial soap and water. They said you should continue to clean it and use an oil-based moisturizer for the first week after getting inked.
Avoid large bodies of water and sunlight
Baker said she would advise clients to stay away from any body of water that isn’t their shower during the healing process. She also recommended having an appropriate area in your home that’s only for cleaning your tattoo, such as your bathroom, to avoid infection.
She added that if you want your tattoo to look fresh, you should stay away from sun exposure and tanning beds, which she described as “tattoo killers” as they caused tattoos to fade.
But if you have to spend time in the sun, dermatologists recommend using
oxide sunscreen, since it’s less likely to cause irritation than other sunscreens.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on aftercare products
Baker said some clients spend money on expensive aftercare products after seeing them advertised online. She said this isn’t necessary to achieve good quality aftercare.
“Healing tattoos is basic wound care,” Baker said. “You don’t need to spend an insane amount of money… as long as you have a basic first-aid kit and you listen to what your artist recommends you use, you are totally fine.”
Communicate with your tattoo artist if your tattoo isn’t healing well
Baker said that for some clients who follow aftercare instructions correctly, it’s possible their skin could still have a bad reaction to the tattoo or not heal the way they expected it to.
In this instance, it’s more important than ever to have good communication with your tattoo artist about how to solve the issue, according to Baker. She said some people will avoid going back to their tattoo artist because they’re afraid they’ll be blamed for their skin’s reaction.
“Avoiding speaking to someone because you are afraid they might yell at you is a way that you are going to walk around with a bad tattoo for the rest of your life,” Baker said.
“And if somebody treats you like garbage because your skin is reacting a certain way, that’s not somebody you should be getting tattooed by,” she added.