Every week, TikTok and YouTube present us with another skincare trend claiming to eliminate everything from wrinkles to cellulite. Among the latest trends gaining popularity is “face taping,” a method that involves applying adhesive strips along the lines and wrinkles of the face and neck in an attempt to ward off the formation of wrinkles.
Face taping, facial taping, and tape facelift are all interchangeable names for a new viral beauty trend claiming to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Although there is little medical evidence to support face taping, online influences before and after pictures prove a temporary reduction in fine lines and wrinkles after facial tape use.
Facial taping is generally safe; however, it can cause mild side effects, such as skin irritation, disruption of the skin barrier, and even allergic reaction.
For long-term wrinkle reduction, it is recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including sun protection, a healthy diet, and plenty of hydration.
In this article, we discuss whether it's just a buzzy trend or it can truly deliver results.
What is face taping?
Face taping, also known as facial taping or tape facelift, is a beauty technique that involves using adhesive tapes or strips, to temporarily lift and tighten the skin on the face and neck. This type of tape is used in physiotherapy (also known as Kinesio tape).
The tape is applied in strips in areas of the face that show wrinkles or fine lines, and the tape is then left on for 2–3 hours, and sometimes overnight. Typically, these strips are placed around the forehead, smile lines, crow’s feet, and under the chin or jawline to create a more lifted and smoothed appearance.
Does face taping really work?
There are very few studies on the use of facial tape as a method to lift and tighten the skin or reduce wrinkles at this time. One particular study regarding physiotherapy tape did not find a significant difference in patients after using physiotherapy tape, even for sports injuries.
It is important to note that although findings online suggest there is some change in wrinkles and fine lines after the temporary use of facial taping, this is not a permanent solution. There is currently no medical data to support the use of facial tape to completely eliminate wrinkles and fine lines.
Reasons to use face taping
The concept behind face taping is that the tape acts as a physical support system, keeping the skin tight and allowing the muscles under the skin to relax and therefore cause less strain on the skin. This theory is said to cause a reduction in wrinkles because the muscles have to do “less work” while the tape is in place.
People use face taping for a variety of reasons, such as a non-invasive alternative to cosmetic procedures, quick and visible results, and a temporary boost in self-esteem due to a younger-looking appearance.
Face tape benefits
Although temporary, there are some benefits to face taping if used on a casual basis.
- Temporary wrinkle reduction. Facial tape is known to cause a very temporary reduction in wrinkles and fine lines. This can make the skin smoother if applied just before an evening event.
- Non-invasive. One great thing about using facial tape is it can reduce the need for more invasive cosmetic procedures, such as fillers and Botox, which can cause side effects.
- Instant results. Although temporary, influencers who post before and after pictures of their face-taping journey did appear to have fewer wrinkles and smoother skin immediately after removing the tape.
Why is face taping so trendy?
Face taping has gained popularity for a number of reasons, accessibility being one. People can purchase physiotherapy tape very easily and for a low cost, making it accessible to almost everyone.
Another reason is that social media influence has helped this trend gain popularity. One YouTube influencer showing before and after results has more than 85,000 views on a single video.
Lastly, the before and after effects show instant results. Face tape instantly affects the face; therefore, it is trendy. People like to see instant results.
It is worth noting that beauty trends like face taping come and go, and it’s always important to research something new, even if it’s trending online.
Is face taping safe?
Although face taping is generally safe and will not cause harm to the skin if used for shorter periods of time, there are localized risks to using physiotherapy tape on the skin.
- Skin irritation. The adhesives in the tape can cause localized irritation, especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin. Prolonged or repeated use can increase the likelihood of skin irritation, itching, or redness.
- Disruption of the skin barrier. The skin’s surface needs to breathe, and applying the overnight tape, or even using face tape for 3 or more hours, can cause damage to the barrier of the skin’s surface. This can increase irritation, dryness, and sensitivity.
- Stretching or pulling of the skin. Excessive stretching or pulling of the skin’s surface can cause damage to the underlying structure of the skin. Although face taping is supposed to help with wrinkles, this process could, in turn, cause more damage and ultimately increase the depth of wrinkles over time.
- Allergic reaction. Allergic reaction to the adhesive tape is uncommon, but can still happen for those with sensitive skin or a history of adhesive reactions. It’s important to test an area of the skin before using adhesive tape on the face.
- Skin tear. Some influences recommend using face tape overnight. However, this process can be dangerous and, due to the time the adhesive tape sits on the skin, it could potentially cause a skin tear when removed.
Should I try face taping?
Although there is little data to support the use of face tape to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, the side effects are minimal, and if you have healthy, non-reactive, and non-sensitive skin, it is safe to try before a night out in place of other, more invasive medical procedures.
It is recommended that the tape not be applied for more than 2 hours, and it should not be used overnight. It’s always wise to test an area before applying it to the face to confirm that there is no localized or sensitive reaction to the adhesive.
Other ways to remove wrinkles for an evening out
Although face taping is not recommended for long-term wrinkle reduction, it has been shown to temporarily reduce the appearance of wrinkles for a short time without a cosmetic procedure.
Other ways to temporarily remove wrinkles for a night out are:
- Caffeine facemask. Caffeine is known to temporarily cause vasoconstriction in the veins of the face and neck. This process can cause a temporary reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and give the skin a more youthful look.
- Makeup. Utilize different makeup techniques to give the skin a youthful and wrinkle-free look by choosing a lightweight foundation that won’t settle into fine lines on the face.
- Facial massage. Certain types of facia exercises and massages are shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for a limited time. This can temporarily reduce wrinkles and is also shown to brighten the skin.
- Topical wrinkle fillers. Some cosmetic products contain wrinkle fillers, such as hyaluronic acid, which plumps the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Although face taping and many of the methods above are all great ways to cause a temporary reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, they are not permanent solutions, nor are they recommended for use on a regular basis.
For long-term wrinkle reduction, adopting a consistent skincare routine, protecting yourself from sun damage, adopting a healthy diet, and staying hydrated is critical to having healthy, glowing skin at any age.
- Complimentary therapies and medicine. Short- and long-term effects of using a facial massage roller on facial skin blood flow and vascular reactivity.
- Journal of Physiotherapy. Current evidence does not support the use of Kinesio Taping in clinical practice: a systematic review.
- Dermatology Times. Caffeine's Role in Skincare.