We asked a derm if TikTok's viral forehead taping trend can really prevent wrinkles

Photo credit: Paul Hakimata / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Paul Hakimata / EyeEm - Getty Images

Every week day minute* a new beauty hack, tip or trend lands on our TikTok FYPs and at this point, we’ve seen it all. Or so we thought… Buckle up, folks, because the latest is a sticky one.

And by sticky, we really do mean that quite literally, for it involves tape. Yep, some people on the social media app are now applying tape to their foreheads for a number of nights before going to bed. The idea behind this is that the tape will supposedly stop wrinkles from forming by preventing facial muscle movement, in a similar way to some anti-wrinkle injectables.

From body tape to the clear back cello we use when returning parcels (read: late night shopping-spree regrets) TikTok users are making use of whatever they can find. And yes, we’ve all seen beauty influencers, celebrities and drag queens use face tape to temporarily falsify a snatched look, however, this trend is a little different. According to some people on the app, forehead taping has more long-term results.

With over 9.7 million views and almost one million likes, user @theaussierapunzel’s post quickly went viral. The 42-second video shows her forehead taping journey over a seven day period.

At the beginning of the video, she writes: “I taped my forehead every night for one week” and then adds that she started to “notice a difference after day four”. Concluding with a statement, she shares: “It felt like my forehead was paralysed and it became harder to lift my eyebrows after tape”.

As with most viral trends, we were a little skeptical (to say the least), so we asked leading oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Elizabeth Hawkes, to give us the low-down on whether the forehead taping trend could ever compete with a professional beauty treatment, such as an anti-ageing injectable...

“My personal opinion is that I don’t think that this could ever give the same results as anti-wrinkle treatments”, she explains. “Typical anti-wrinkle injectables make use of a drug that is made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and when injected into a muscle, it temporarily blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles.

“The injected muscle then can't contract and so fine lines and wrinkles relax and soften, resulting in a more youthful appearance. The effects usually last approximately 3 months”.

Sharing her thoughts on whether or not forehead taping is a good replacement for anti-wrinkle treatments, Dr Hawkes continues, saying: “I would not recommend taping the forehead in a bid to prevent or reduce wrinkles. Not only is there no evidence of its effectiveness, it also stands to reason that we make most of our facial movements during the day while we are awake and so taping the forehead at night seems counterintuitive because when we are asleep our face makes far fewer movements."

Well, that makes sense.

“Whilst it’s not apparent from most of the videos what particular type of tape is being used, I would advise caution applying any type to the face repeatedly and for a long period of time like this”, Dr Hawkes adds. “A foreign body on your skin can encourage the spread of bacteria and the adhesives on the tape could be a potential source of irritation and infection, not to mention the damage to the delicate skin underneath when it’s ripped off in the morning”.

So, from redness, irritation, infection and even scarring, the potential long-term damages caused to the skin by forehead taping are (IMO) so not worth it. TikTok users, please proceed with caution...

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