Surprisingly, there’s a good amount of useful skincare advice to be found on TikTok. Unfortunately, you need to wade through an ocean of misguided videos to get to it.
One hack in particular has been drawing a ton of attention so far this summer: face taping to smooth fine lines. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Wear tape on your face overnight for a few days. Doing so, beauty influencers say, will prevent your wrinkles from deepening and forming.
The reason this trend’s gotten so much traction is because the “results” in some of these videos look pretty convincing. Obviously, we’re never going to know whether they were masterfully edited or not. So, instead, let’s focus on the science that’s supposedly involved here to help us find out if there’s any merit to face taping.
Is face taping safe?
First, is this even safe to try?
A little Scotch tape probably won’t leave you with any lasting scars. That said, the act isn’t totally without risk. The adhesive on Scotch tape isn’t very strong, but if it manages to stay in place all night, for several consecutive nights, as it’s intended, it has the potential to damage the skin barrier when you remove it.
And because the tape isn’t designed to adhere to skin, it also has the potential to cause redness, irritation, and acne breakouts. Anything stronger than Scotch tape will almost certainly have this effect. It’s also much more likely to pull off the top layer of skin when it’s removed.
But does it work?
While it sounds incredibly uncomfortable, in theory, keeping your facial muscles in place overnight should prevent wrinkling. But it could also have the opposite effect, making the fine lines you’re trying to diminish even more noticeable.
That’s because when you tape your face, and paralyze your facial muscles, you’re keeping them from doing what they’re supposed to be doing. In other words, you’re adding resistance. And just like when you progress from doing bicep curls with a heavier dumbbell, you’re training those muscles to work harder and, in turn, become stronger.
In the case of facial muscles, it would accelerate the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Is there a better way to erase wrinkles?
Unlike TikTok influencers, board-certified dermatologists are extensively trained to know precisely how the facial muscles move and change. If you’re concerned about deepening lines, they can discuss a spectrum of more appropriate solutions with you, including fillers, neurotoxins, and lasers.
For many, incorporating a retinoid into your daily skincare routine is a good place to begin. It can improve cellular turnover, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and snubs them out before they even form.
And don’t forget to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of TikTok guidance, as they say.