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Face Taping for Wrinkles: Does It Work and Are There Risks?

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Face taping sounds much more like something you might do as part of a Mardi Gras costume, rather than part of a skin care routine.

Yet, if you happen upon the topic on TikTok or another social media site, you’ll realize that it is indeed a strategy for attacking the fine facial lines and wrinkles that are an inevitable part of the aging process.

A lot of online influencers swear by face taping, saying it is an easy and inexpensive way to maintain a youthful appearance. The TikTok hashtag #facetaping has over 35 million views.

This viral trend has prompted an onslaught of questions aimed at dermatologists and other skin care professionals whose credentials exceed most of those who reside in the world of TikTok.

So, can you really tape away your wrinkles or is face taping just a tacky snake oil stunt that will ultimately do your face more harm than good?

In short, medical experts say face taping for fine wrinkles does work to a degree, but it's at best a short-term solution. And there are some risks involved.

Face taping, explained

While applying tape to the face to reduce wrinkles is somewhat of a new internet fad, the practice has been around for a long time. A woman named Margaret Kroesen is believed to have created a sticky, anti-wrinkle facial patch for her daughter, who was a concert pianist with unsightly frown lines. The year was 1889.

Over the years, various celebrities have discussed using the technique, which has been referred to as one of Hollywood’s oldest beauty secrets.

Enter TikTok and it is a secret no more.

Face taping involves sticking tape, usually kinesiology or medical tape, on the forehead, cheeks or other places where a person wants to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Theoretically, leaving the tape in place overnight constricts and limits the motion of facial muscles, preventing the wearer from frowning or making other line-inducing expressions while asleep. Keeping the muscles in place throughout the night helps thwart wrinkle formation, temporarily at least.

Many skin care experts agree that face taping can reduce fine lines immediately upon removing the tape but it’s going to be a temporary effect. Those lines are likely to reform within hours.

And, while fine lines might be reduced, the taping typically does not help with deep wrinkles.

Facial taping is not considered harmful for most people, but the practice is not without some risks. Irritation or damage to the skin’s outer layer can occur from constantly applying and removing the tape.

Because of this, experts say facial tape should not be used daily. Medical tape available online and at beauty stores can help reduce the chances of skin irritation or rashes. Tape users should be sure you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

A temporary fix

The medical consensus is that face taping is not the silver bullet for youthful looking skin. That’s not to say the technique is a total hoax.

Some dermatologists say people seeking a quick, albeit temporary, improvement in fine facial lines may want to give it a try. But don’t be surprised when the lines reappear not long after removing your facial muscles from bondage.

Most say when it comes to the prevention or improvement of wrinkles, Botox and fillers performed by a certified skin care professional are the gold standard.

In addition, the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery says using broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, moisturizing your skin, avoiding tobacco, and resisting the temptation to get that summer facial tan remain the best long term strategies for maintaining young looking skin.

Backed by science and led by Ochsner physicians, Elevate is a luxury cosmetic and wellness center here to keep you looking and feeling your best.