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Boob Tape | A Guide to How to Safely Use This Style Aid

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Photo: Wix

Finding a way to lift and shape breasts without surgery can take on many forms. Although there are various bra shapes that can potentially achieve this, exposed straps, disrupted contours from elastic bands and underwires that dig into the skin, and breast movement in and out of the cup of the bra can make bras a less favorable option to achieve a nonsurgical lift and smooth contours when wearing specific styles or making a fashion statement.

What is “Boob Tape”?

Boob tape is comprised of a fabric, most often woven cotton, or spandex, and can include silicone in its blend, with an adhesive backing. The woven structure provides shape to the tape which the spandex allows to expand or stretch across the skin. The adhesive backing anchors it to the skin. Often found as a roll of tape, strips can be cut out to any shape or size to allow the user to simply anchor the tape on one end while pulling and stretching the tape across the area to be contoured with the adhesive backing anchoring it along its path. Well-constructed boob tape also needs to take into consideration sweat, moisture, and friction that can aggravate or loosen the adhesive or fold the fabric affecting its hold and shape.

How should I prepare my skin before applying “boob tape"?

One of the most important aspects of preparing your skin for boob tape removal is how your prepare your skin to apply it in the first place. Recognizing that for boob tape to work effectively it must adhere to the skin while the tension of the breast is pulling and potentially shearing the adhesive away from the skin, there can be significant challenges for our skin in the process. First off, our skin is not smooth like a wall, it is structured microscopically like a dusty cobblestone street. There is keratin, sebum, oil, sweat, hair, and other debris on the surface.
  • The tape should be applied to clean skin, but not “degreased” skin. In other words, do not apply alcohol, toner, or exfoliate your skin 24 hours prior to application. To some extent, the surface “debris” can be helpful for the adhesive to be applied and to be removed simply because there will be less stripping of the underlying skin in the process.

  • Do not apply lotions prior to applying boob tape. This will make the tape less adhesive and provide less support. Although it is true that lotion would soothe and protect your skin, it will also make the tape far less effective.



Is there any special care needed when managing the skin around the areola/nipple?

The skin of the areola and nipple is thinner and far more sensitive than the rest of the breast. Any adhesive in this area runs a risk of leaving an abrasion or irritating delicate skin. I recommend considering applying thin non-adhesive padding or fabric to this skin and gently pulling the tape across to avoid adhesive coming into direct contact with the areolar complex.

Ok, I made it through the event and now I need to remove the boob tape. What do I do?

To remove boob tape, consider a couple of options to ease the process. By using warm soapy water in the shower, the tape will loosen and gently peel away. Another option is to use a body oil such as olive oil to soak the tape in to help it gently peel away from the skin while hydrating and protecting the skin in the process.

Now that the boob tape is off, my skin feels a little sensitive. Should I do anything in particular to help it?

Post tape removal, consider hydrating and protecting the skin with body oil or petrolatum-based product to help protect and restore the superficial layers of skin while healing in any superficial abrasions that resulted from the use of the tape.

Try to avoid using the tape on a daily basis to give the skin an opportunity to heal between uses.

The tape looks like it ripped my skin and I think I see blisters after I removed it. Should I be worried?

There are a couple of concerns to consider if there is ripped skin or blisters from tape removal. If the adhesive from the tape is adhering to the skin excessively, then the process of removal can strip the skin to the point of feeling that it is ripped or raw. In this case, to minimize this possibility, ensuring the skin is appropriately prepped prior to applying to tape is the first step.

For the removal process, remember that most boob tape products are waterproof. This means that oil-based products will likely be needed to help remove. Soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in olive oil, body oil, or even petrolatum or vaseline. Start at the end of the tape and gently swab and swipe under the free edge of the tape with the oil or petrolatum while gently tugging on the tape as it loosens. Hydrating the skin with the oil-based or petrolatum-based product as the tape is removed will help soothe and heal the skin. Being sure to generously apply body oils or petrolatum after the tape is removed will help heal and restore the skin as well.

The one aspect of this question that should be addressed separately is if blisters are present. True blisters are strongly suggestive of allergic contact dermatitis. In general, the adhesive stripping of the skin is technically an irritant contact dermatitis. It could occur to anyone given the right circumstances. Allergic contact dermatitis is a more exuberant immune reaction to the adhesive that would only occur if the individual is actually allergic to the product. This type of reaction will occur anytime the product is used even if the right measures are taken to prepare the skin. If true blisters are noted, strongly consider trying an alternative brand.

If the boob tape isn’t coming off, what do I do?

Try taking a warm shower and soaking the tape in water. If the tape does not loosen, soak the tape with body oils or petrolatum and apply a piece of plastic wrap or Saran Wrap to the surface to protect your clothes and surroundings from the oils. Try soaking for 30 minutes then reattempt gentle removal.

If you still struggle, it is ok to consider dipping a cotton tip swab in nail polish remover to gently wipe under the tape to loosen the adhesive. Do this with caution to avoid irritating the skin. If you still struggle, please see your Dermatologist so that we can carefully dissolve the adhesive to help with removal.

Is boob tape the same thing as medical tape?

It is important to note that boob tape is not the same as the medical tape used on wounds. Medical tape is used to secure bandages and can come in different varieties including paper, silk, and plastic. The goals for medical tape are slightly different in that securing bandages, tightness, and potentially easy tearing for ease of application are considered. These aspects do not take into consideration the need to stretch, support against gravity, and avoidance of easy tearing the way that boob tape must consider.


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