What Is Face Tape and Does It Work?

Using tape to smooth wrinkles may be a temporary fix, but there are still risks
Person getting tape from a tape roll.

We use tape for all kinds of things — to wrap gifts, fix broken glasses or act as a makeshift lint roller.

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But what about using tape on your wrinkles? Or to give you a mini facelift?

While the idea of face tape has been around for years, the facelift hack has seen a surge in popularity thanks to makeup artists touting the technique on TikTok and other social media platforms.

But before you unroll that Scotch® tape and get to work on your face, read on for what plastic surgeon Martin Newman, MD, has to say about the risks involved and if face taping really works.

How does face taping work?

Dr. Newman says there are two different kinds of face tape.  

The first one involves using tape and a string.

“You take two pieces of tape with strings attached,” explains Dr. Newman. “You place the tape near each of your temples and then you pull and tie the strings behind your head.”

This is meant to give you a lifted look around your eyes and cheeks. Those who do this technique will need to hide the string with their hair.

“This method can be helpful to change a person’s appearance temporarily, for example, if you’re posing for a picture,” says Dr. Newman. “But close up, it doesn’t work because you can see the tape and/or strings.”

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The second way is using individual pieces of tape to smooth out wrinkles.

“The idea here is that you actually take a piece of tape and place it on wrinkles,” says Dr. Newman. “Then you go to bed and wake up in the morning. When you remove it, the wrinkle goes away.”

While most face taping focuses on the area around the eyes, the method has been used on the neck, forehead, jaw and cheekbones.

Does it reduce wrinkles?

Yes … but it’s a temporary fix.

“Your skin is soft and somewhat moldable,” says Dr. Newman. “So, you can put a piece of tape on your face and it will make the wrinkle vanish just because you’re making an impression on the skin.”

But once you remove the tape?

“Your wrinkles will come back,” states Dr. Newman. “It’s a short-lived phenomenon.”

Is it safe to use?

While it may seem harmless to put a piece of tape on your skin, there are some concerns, notes Dr. Newman.

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“The tape can take off the stratum corneum, the outer layer of your skin,” explains Dr. Newman. “You’re also using toxic glues on your face, which can cause dermatitis or irritation to the skin. You could also cause an allergic reaction.”

There’s a risk of causing blisters, too, which can lead to scarring.

Dr. Newman stresses that if you’re going to try face tape that you should look for tape that’s specifically designed for that purpose. There are numerous brands available online and at beauty stores. And make sure you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Bottom line? Don’t use any old tape laying around your house.

Face tape alternatives

There are plenty of tried-and-true methods for reducing wrinkles says Dr. Newman. Here are a few options currently available:

  • Injections. An injection can temporarily weaken the muscle that causes wrinkles. Options include Botox® Dysport®, Xeomin® and Jeauveau®.
  • Dermal fillers. If you’re looking to add fullness, dermal fillers are a good choice. They temporarily add volume around the corners of your mouth and cheekbones — areas where you typically lose collagen and see wrinkles. Options include Juvederm® and Restylane®.
  • Laser skin resurfacing. The light from a laser promotes the growth of collagen.
  • Creams and lotions. There’s a plethora of choices available. But Dr. Newman says to look for ones that contain retinol, which is derived from vitamin A. And, of course, check with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon prior to using anything new.

“Also, think about your lifestyle,” advises Dr. Newman. “Avoid the sun, avoid toxins and drink plenty of water.”

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