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Gen Z seems determined to never age, as evidenced by the multitudes of skincare trends and tips that members of the youthful generation spread on TikTok. One of the most recent is face taping to prevent wrinkles—which at first blush seems like a good idea that produces fast results.
Doctors are less enthusiastic and say the long-term impacts of face taping could outweigh the potential benefits. So, should you try it?
What Is Face Taping?
Face taping is an anti-aging skincare trend that’s been popular on social media in recent months with Gen Z, but Gen X has actually been doing it for quite a while. If you’re Gen Z, you apply pieces of medical or Kinesio tape to strategic areas of your face without stretching it. If you’re Gen X, you use a product like Smoothies or Frownies, which are products created specifically for this purpose.
Wearing the tape overnight seems to prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. The most popular areas of the face to apply the tape are the forehead and around the eyes where “crows’ feet” typically appear.
TikToker The Aussie Rapunzel recorded her progress over an entire week of face taping every night, and she saw clear results by day four. She applied the tape to her forehead, and the fine lines were gone by the end of the week. But, she found it more difficult to lift her eyebrows after trying the technique because she said her forehead felt “paralyzed.”
What Do Experts Say?
Some doctors say that the practice of face taping can cause skin irritation and result in more visible signs of aging in the long term. The technique is more appropriate for instant results that will last a day or two, but it shouldn’t be a part of your daily skincare routine, Dr. Michael Horn, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Illinois, told Shape.
He claims the tape adds resistance to your facial muscles, which in turn is training them to work harder and become stronger. That, he said, can make lines and wrinkles appear even faster.
That said, it could be argued that dermatologists and plastic surgeons who are often interviewed as expert sources have a conflict of interest—perhaps they’d rather you pay for their services than use a cheap, over-the-counter hack.
And while they may not have M.D.s, many influencers swear by face tape products. Gen X influencer Samantha from Stung By Samantha makes a pretty compelling case for Frownies, which she’s been using (by our count) for about a decade.
She doesn’t use botox, and she said her 11s (the vertical lines that tend to appear between your eyebrows as you get older) have disappeared thanks to Frownies.
The choice is yours: try face taping like Gen Z, use a product like Frownies like Gen X, or go another route altogether and use sunscreen and retinol to smooth your skin.
Frownies are Stung By Samantha’s go-to, and while some reviewers found them uncomfortable, others said they work. But they do require continued use—no magic bullets here.
Our lifestyle managing editor swears by Smoothies for her 11s. They’re clear and a little more pliable than Frownies. They also come in various shapes.
If you’d rather forego the taping, reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles with CeraVe Anti Aging Retinol Serum. This lightweight serum will improve the skin’s texture and make it more radiant while retaining its natural moisture.
During the day, try EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 for your go-to sunscreen. It’s a sensitive skin sunscreen that is unscented, lightweight, silky, and sheer—leaving no white cast. It will give your face a healthy glow and is formulated with hyaluronic acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.