People Are Using Face Tape to Get Rid of Wrinkles—But Is It Safe? We Asked Derms

Read this before taping your face.

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We have so many options to not only improve the appearance of wrinkles, but to physiologically improve, diminish, and get rid of them entirely. But over the past decade, the narrative around the appearance of wrinkles has changed drastically. While Botox, Juvederm, Voluma, and facelifts were the go-to solutions for reducing the appearance of wrinkles on your face, people are looking for quicker and cheaper alternatives—bonus points if it’s a treatment that can be done non-invasively and at home.

Enter: face-lifting patches, i.e. face tape, which essentially create the illusion of a facelift without actually having to go under the knife. It's an appealing alternative with seemingly promising results, but the long-term ramifications are questionable. We spoke with two dermatologists to learn more about the non-invasive, at-home wrinkle-reducing practice to get their thoughts.

First, what are wrinkles and why do we get them? 

Wrinkles, i.e. lines and creases on your skin, are a natural by-product of aging. To get more technical, your cells divide more slowly as you age, and the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) begins to get thinner. When this occurs, the elastin and collagen within the dermis weakens, ultimately affecting the elasticity in your skin. 

While many wrinkles are due to the natural aging process, some may experience wrinkles earlier in life—and at a more extreme rate for those who smoke or have sun damage. Other reasons you may be experiencing wrinkles can be due to environmental factors, diet, and sleeping positions.

What is face tape?

Face tape simply pulls back the skin on the face with a waterproof adhesive bandage. “Face-lifting patches are a novelty device that temporarily makes it look like you got a facelift,” says Ivy DeRosa, M.D., board-certified dermatologist. “They’re effective as long as they stick to the skin and are placed in a proper position to pull the skin outwards.” 

Does face tape work? 

Long story short: Yes, they work to some degree. According to Kenneth Mark, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, using face tape is effective in the sense that they can trick the eye and create a lifting effect.

However, he also points out that facial tape and patches will not effectively reduce, remove, or prevent wrinkles—the smoothing effect only lasts as long as the tape is on. Once you remove the tape, you’re back to square one.

Is face tape safe to use?

Since they are nothing more than adhesive tape affixed to the skin, the short-term downfalls are the usual suspects—local irritation and possible allergic reaction to the glue or the tape itself. Dr. DeRosa also cautions against applying these patches to delicate skin, such as the upper eyelid, because you could tear the skin when removing the tape. 

Dr. Mark explains that the main thing to remember about using face tape is that they are not physiologically improving the skin. “It is literally just a camouflaging trick, the skin is temporarily lifted from the invisible patches,” he says. “There is no fundamental improvement to the underlying anatomy.” Although not enough studies have been conducted on long-term effects, dermatologists agree that extended usage of facial tape and patches is not recommended as any exaggerated stretching can increase skin laxity and actually accelerate signs of aging. In other words, it’s best reserved for special events (not everyday wear).

Is there a better way to get rid of wrinkles? 

More extensive skincare treatments like collagen induction therapy (CIT) and microneedling can be helpful to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Neurotoxins such as Dysport and Botox are more invasive, but still non-surgical and can paralyze muscles that cause wrinkles and will bring semi-permanent results (injections will have to be repeated every three to four months).  And the most definitive solution to help get rid of facial wrinkles is a facelift, in which “the tissues under the skin are tightened and excess skin is removed, resulting in a more youthful and refreshed appearance,” says Dr. DeRosa.

However, keep in mind that there are many non-invasive treatments that are available as well. “Something as simple as a consistent skincare routine or a hydrating facial may in fact smooth out wrinkles and make the face look refreshed and youthful,” says Dr. DeRosa. It’s always a good idea to be incorporating a wrinkle cream into your skincare routine—these include either ​​collagen producers (containing ingredients that increase collagen in the dermis, i.e. second layer of skin) and/or hydrators (containing ingredients that increase water content in the skin, plumping the surface of skin), both of which will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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