Can Silicone Patches Lessen the Look of Wrinkles?

30 Apr.,2024


Can Silicone Patches Lessen the Look of Wrinkles?

  • Silicone face patches are going viral on TikTok for their ability to reduce the appearance of scars or wrinkles.
  • These products reduce facial mobility and trap moisture in the skin, which can actually improve how the skin looks, experts agreed.
  • However, the benefits of wrinkle patches are not long lasting, so dermatologists say there may be better ways to reduce signs of aging.

Lucas Ottone/Stocksy

For more information, please visit Anti Frown Strips.

There are a host of treatments that may be able to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or other signs of aging. But beyond chemical peels, creams, laser therapies, and injections, social media users claim there's a less invasive product that can achieve similar results: silicone face patches.

Silicone or wrinkle patches have gone viral on TikTok—videos featuring the products have racked up nearly 150 million views. Some users have even dubbed the patches a “Botox alternative,” and others claim consistent use can help reduce wrinkles over time. 

While this beauty hack sounds encouraging, experts are skeptical of silicone face patches’ efficacy long-term.

Here’s what experts had to say about the health and safety of silicone face patches, and best practices for keeping skin looking youthful.

How Do Silicone Patches Impact the Skin’s Appearance? 

Wrinkle patches are typically made of either adhesive paper or silicone patches, and they can actually improve the appearance of wrinkles, Emily Wood, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology, told Health.

“Silicone patches can be applied overnight while sleeping to improve one’s appearance the following day,” Wood said. “It is also trendy to apply silicone patches around the crow’s feet [fine lines around the eyes] before an event, which can help lessen the appearance of these wrinkles.”

The patches can cover either large or small areas of the face, depending on someone's specific skin concerns. On TikTok, patches that cover the under eyes, smile lines, and forehead seem to be most commonly used, but some use silicone patches to improve chest or neck sagging, too.

Once applied to the face, silicone wrinkle patches may reduce some signs of aging by increasing hydration to the skin, Wood explained.

With wrinkles in particular, silicone patches can also prevent mobility of the skin throughout the day or night, and hydrate the top layer of the skin. This lessens the appearance of creases and lines

Silicone patches can improve the appearance of any facial scars, too. The patches provide an occlusive barrier—or physical barrier on the top layer of the skin—which decreases water loss, and increases hydration and plumpness, said Mary Alice Mina, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Baucom and Mina Derm Surgery.

The goal is somewhat similar to that of slugging, a technique where people use thick ointments such as Vaseline or Aquaphor as a final step in their nighttime skincare routine. Wrinkle patches can help the skin retain more of its moisture, keeping it hydrated overall, Mina said.

“In effect, this improves hydration and decreases fibroblast growth, which can increase scar thickness by increasing collagen production,” Mina told Health in a statement. “These patches also provide subtle pressure on the scar which can help improve the scar overall.”

Do Dermatologists Recommend Silicone Wrinkle Patches? 

While silicone patches can provide hydration to the skin and help minimize the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and scarring, the effects are short-lived, according to Brendan Camp, MD, a board-certified dermatologist of MDCS Dermatology. Because of this, many dermatologists remain skeptical.

“Silicone patches provide a temporary plumping effect to the skin because they draw water to the epidermis. This helps minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles,” Camp told Health. But “once the water content on the skin returns to normal, lines and wrinkles reappear as they did prior to applying the patch.”

The products are relatively affordable and available over-the-counter, unlike other skincare treatment such as laser treatments or Botox, Mina said. Still, they may not be worth most people’s time, since wrinkles will come back shortly after the product is applied, she explained.

In some cases, silicone or wrinkle patches might actually even irritate people’s skin rather than help it.

Some people who use these products, such as those with sensitive skin, may experience “irritation from the adhesive backing on the product” or may develop a rash if the product is “used daily for weeks or months at a time,” Mina said. Patches sometimes contain active ingredients such as retinol, which could also be an irritant, she cautioned.

Reusing patches multiple times might also spark breakouts for those with acne-prone skin. This can also occur with slugging, so “if you are prone to breakouts, it’s best to avoid this trend,” Mina said.

“There are better options for people looking to improve their skin texture and [to] treat or prevent fine lines and wrinkles than the burdensome use of sleeping in silicone all over the face at night, every night,” Mina said. “But if someone wants to try them, they are not harmful and can show temporary benefits.”

Best Practices for Managing Wrinkles and Fine Lines  

If someone decides that they want to give silicone wrinkle patches a try, Mina recommends only buying those made with medical-grade silicone—this means that they’ve been produced in a chemically-stable way and have been tested to interact safely with the human body.

People with sensitive skin or a latex allergy should find products that use a hypoallergenic adhesive or a latex-free adhesive backing, Mina added.

Before trying any new skincare product, it’s important to see how the body reacts to it, Wood said. In this case, she recommends “patch testing a small area of skin” before applying wrinkle patches to the body.

And of course, using silicone or wrinkle patches is not the only way people can prevent or manage wrinkles and fine lines.

“While I’m ok with people trying silicone patches on wrinkles and stretch marks, please know there are other potentially more effective options out there,” Mina said. Those include:

  • Limiting your amount of sun exposure. If you have to be outside, utilize sunscreen, or wear long, lightweight clothing and wide-brimmed hats. Wearing sunscreen every day and staying out of the sun can help prevent skin aging, Mina said.

  • Using a retinol or retinoid. This is a form of Vitamin A that can be used to prevent fine lines and wrinkle production over time along with early stretch marks, Wood said. Topical retinols may also help increase collagen production.
  • Using a vitamin C serum. Vitamin C can help neutralize free oxygen radicals, which can damage cellular structures and can contribute to the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, Camp said. Using Vitamin C can also help improve collagen production.
  • Avoiding smoking. Smoking can break down collagen and skin elasticity, which contributes to premature aging.

Experts also recommend exercising daily, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and eating a balanced diet that consists of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.

“There are a ton of ways to manage wrinkles, fine lines, and skin texture,” Mina said. “If you want to know the best ways to be proactive with aging, definitely seek out expert advice from a board-certified dermatologist.”

Is Face Tape for Wrinkles Safe? We Asked Derms

We have so many options to not only improve the appearance of wrinkles, but to physiologically improve, diminish, and get rid of them entirely. But over the past decade, the narrative around the appearance of wrinkles has changed drastically. While Botox, Juvederm, Voluma, and facelifts were the go-to solutions for reducing the appearance of wrinkles on your face, people are looking for quicker and cheaper alternatives—bonus points if it’s a treatment that can be done non-invasively and at home.

Enter: face-lifting patches, i.e. face tape, which essentially create the illusion of a facelift without actually having to go under the knife. It's an appealing alternative with seemingly promising results, but the long-term ramifications are questionable. We spoke with two dermatologists to learn more about the non-invasive, at-home wrinkle-reducing practice to get their thoughts.

First, what are wrinkles and why do we get them? 

Wrinkles, i.e. lines and creases on your skin, are a natural by-product of aging. To get more technical, your cells divide more slowly as you age, and the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) begins to get thinner. When this occurs, the elastin and collagen within the dermis weakens, ultimately affecting the elasticity in your skin. 

While many wrinkles are due to the natural aging process, some may experience wrinkles earlier in life—and at a more extreme rate for those who smoke or have sun damage. Other reasons you may be experiencing wrinkles can be due to environmental factors, diet, and sleeping positions.

What is face tape?

Face tape simply pulls back the skin on the face with a waterproof adhesive bandage. “Face-lifting patches are a novelty device that temporarily makes it look like you got a facelift,” says Ivy DeRosa, M.D., board-certified dermatologist. “They’re effective as long as they stick to the skin and are placed in a proper position to pull the skin outwards.” 

Does face tape work? 

Long story short: Yes, they work to some degree. According to Kenneth Mark, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, using face tape is effective in the sense that they can trick the eye and create a lifting effect.

However, he also points out that facial tape and patches will not effectively reduce, remove, or prevent wrinkles—the smoothing effect only lasts as long as the tape is on. Once you remove the tape, you’re back to square one.

Is face tape safe to use?

Since they are nothing more than adhesive tape affixed to the skin, the short-term downfalls are the usual suspects—local irritation and possible allergic reaction to the glue or the tape itself. Dr. DeRosa also cautions against applying these patches to delicate skin, such as the upper eyelid, because you could tear the skin when removing the tape. 

Dr. Mark explains that the main thing to remember about using face tape is that they are not physiologically improving the skin. “It is literally just a camouflaging trick, the skin is temporarily lifted from the invisible patches,” he says. “There is no fundamental improvement to the underlying anatomy.” Although not enough studies have been conducted on long-term effects, dermatologists agree that extended usage of facial tape and patches is not recommended as any exaggerated stretching can increase skin laxity and actually accelerate signs of aging. In other words, it’s best reserved for special events (not everyday wear).

Is there a better way to get rid of wrinkles? 

More extensive skincare treatments like collagen induction therapy (CIT) and microneedling can be helpful to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Neurotoxins such as Dysport and Botox are more invasive, but still non-surgical and can paralyze muscles that cause wrinkles and will bring semi-permanent results (injections will have to be repeated every three to four months). And the most definitive solution to help get rid of facial wrinkles is a facelift, in which “the tissues under the skin are tightened and excess skin is removed, resulting in a more youthful and refreshed appearance,” says Dr. DeRosa.

However, keep in mind that there are many non-invasive treatments that are available as well. “Something as simple as a consistent skincare routine or a hydrating facial may in fact smooth out wrinkles and make the face look refreshed and youthful,” says Dr. DeRosa. It’s always a good idea to be incorporating a wrinkle cream into your skincare routine—these include either ​​collagen producers (containing ingredients that increase collagen in the dermis, i.e. second layer of skin) and/or hydrators (containing ingredients that increase water content in the skin, plumping the surface of skin), both of which will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.