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What is the face taping TikTok trend and can it really banish wrinkles?

The face taping trend is taking over TikTok, but can it really prevent wrinkles? (Getty Images)
The face taping trend is taking over TikTok, but can it really prevent wrinkles? (Getty Images)

We know that accepting our wrinkles as a natural part of ageing should be the norm, but a simple hack on TikTok promising to help banish fine lines has piqued the interest of those wanting smoother skin.

A quick search of the hashtag #facetaping on the social media platform throws up clips which have clocked up over 35m views.

The trick is thought to have started gaining traction after one user documented her results from sleeping with pieces of tape across her forehead for a week, where her skin appeared to be noticeably smoother.

However, the technique goes back way further, pre-dating social media altogether. According to Amy Peterson, founder of Skincare by Amy Peterson, the method was often used in old Hollywood, on actors and singers, in an attempt to create a more lifted and defined appearance to the face, cheeks and eyes.

"It’s also a very popular technique used in the drag community," she adds.

But what actually is face taping and can it really deliver the wrinkle-free skin it promises?

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What is face taping?

According to Peterson the hack involves placing tape on your face, sometimes left on overnight or under makeup, in an attempt to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

The type of tape people use can vary from regular sticky tape, to plasters and tape used to treat injuries, and those specifically marketed just for the practice of face taping.

"Full face taping is a TikTok trend around using tape on areas of active movement on the face, usually during sleep, to keep these areas still, with some people claiming it mimics the effect of a toxin injection," explains Dr Natalie Haworth, owner of The Doctor & Company.

Usually done at night during bedtime, face taping involves putting strips of tape on parts of the face like the neck, forehead, jawline, and area around the eyes and cheeks.

Some people believe taping their face of a night can help to reduce wrinkles. (Getty Images)
Some people believe taping their face of a night can help to reduce wrinkles. (Getty Images)

Does face taping work?

Advocates of the trend claim face taping can help lift sagging skin, banish wrinkles and fine lines, with many touting it as something of an 'instant facelift'.

But is it all a bit too good to be true? Are there any actual benefits to sleeping with tape slapped across your face?

While Peterson says face taping can give you the appearance of a quick and instant fix, it is not scientifically proven to actually reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

"When the tape is on, it can help to give your face a more lifted and defined look but that’s about it," she explains, and as soon as the tape is removed, the wrinkles or lines will return.

Dr Haworth says there's another important reason why face taping likely won't deliver the desired results.

"Taping your face at night is pointless because you're making most of your facial expressions during the day, when you're actually awake and talking, and even then, the tape won't stop your face from moving," she explains.

"In terms of any effect on the skin to improve wrinkles that are static or formed with age, again, there is absolutely no evidence to support this, and it doesn’t help with collagen or elastin production, which many other skin therapies do," Dr Haworth adds.

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Are there any risks to trying face taping?

Aside from not actually delivering long-term wrinkle reduction, face taping can actually have some potential side effects that can be bad for the skin.

"It could cause you problems with skin irritation from using the adhesive on your face," explains Dr Haworth. "It will strip the top layer of skin and in some circumstances you might have an allergy to the adhesive used on the tape."

Depending on the type of tape used and the individual’s skin, you could run the risk of causing irritation and inflammation from the glue on the tape, Peterson says.

"You may also experience clogged pores resulting in acne from sebum buildup where the tapes are applied," she adds.

Read more: Woman called ‘pizza face’ by bullies launches skincare product for acne sufferers

According to experts SPF is a better way to prevent wrinkles. (Getty Images)
According to experts SPF is a better way to prevent wrinkles. (Getty Images)

What can we do to reduce fine lines and wrinkles?

While we might be skipping the face taping trend, there are some other things we can try for smoother looking skin.

Peterson recommends integrating sun protection (SPF) and retinoids into your routine as a great way to improve your skin and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

"Try to use products with active ingredients that help to protect and strengthen the skin barrier such as ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid," she adds.

And if you're taping at night with the hope of reducing wrinkles from sleeping on a certain side of your face, Dr Haworth suggests using a silk pillow.

Here are some other alternatives to face taping for keeping your skin as wrinkle-free as possible.

Sunscreen

According to Dr Sasha Dhoat, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics, your mantra for slowing the ravages of time on your skin should be SPF.

"Sunscreen is your real miracle anti-ageing and anti-dullness potion and is the most important part of any skin care regime," she says.

She recommends wearing an SPF 30+, UVA 4-5 star rating sunscreen, coupled with vitamin D supplements as the best method for preventing ultraviolet-related damage and optimising a youthful, more evenly pigmented and wrinkle-free complexion.

Take off the day

Night-time is a period of vital skin renewal, a unique window of opportunity to repair damaged tissue and regulate water loss through the skin.

"This is the time in the day we are make-up free, not exposed to environmental pollutants, or damaging ultraviolet in sunlight and not dashing around working up a sweat; hence the perfect interval to use topical products which boost the myriad of skin recharging processes," Dr Dhoat explains.

No matter how tired we are, Dr Dhoat recommends making time to gently, but thoroughly, cleanse, removing dirt and dead cells.

Add in AHA (alpha hydroxy acid)

Dr Dhoat says intermittently adding in AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) products to your skincare could increase the rate of exfoliation of the skin surface, promoting cell turnover and improving the texture and clarity of skin. This works by boosting its thickness and stimulating collagen production, leading to a fresher appearance.

A good skincare routine can help to prevent ageing skin. (Getty Images)
A good skincare routine can help to prevent ageing skin. (Getty Images)

Up the ZZZs

Even the most elaborate skin care regime will have limited ability to work their magic if an individual is sleep-deprived.

"Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormone, cortisol, worsening conditions such as eczema, acne and rosacea," Dr Dhoat explains. "Additionally, without deeper phases of sleep, cell turnover cannot occur, resulting in more prominent signs of ageing, such as fine lines and reduced elasticity."

As well as cleansing before bed and applying serum and moisturiser, "bank those six-eight hours sleep".

Read more: Here's what happens to your body when you're happy

Exfoliate

Exfoliation refers to the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layers of the skin. Potential benefits include reduced pigmentation and a temporarily ‘fresher’ appearance or ‘glow’, when used once to twice a week.

"However, manual exfoliation should be used delicately and with caution in skin of colour," Dr Dhoat advises. "Over-aggressive skin cleansing, or over-zealous exfoliation in a bid for glowing, clean skin is, in fact, an act of self-sabotage."

Aggressive scrubbing, she says, reduces sebum, our skin's natural oil, which works to moisturise and protect our skin against both infections and ultraviolet radiation, the number one cause of premature ageing.

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