Do facial patches work?

July 10, 2017

An old anti-aging concept was rediscovered with the renewed popularity of facial patches.

Dr. DraelosAn old anti-aging concept was rediscovered with the renewed popularity of facial patches.  An advertising claim states, “Facial patches gently re-educate the underlying muscles to assume a wrinkle free appearance.”  These patches were previously known as “frownies” and were made of plastic stuck to the skin overnight to prevent facial expression.  This technique predated chemodenervation.  The reincarnation of this technique was to introduce polymer hydrogels that could be loaded with ingredients for skin delivery while inhibiting transepidermal water loss (TEWL).  The polymer occludes the skin causing hyperhydration while increasing penetration of the active agent, which could be retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, etc.  The increased hydration decreases fine lines of dehydration, especially around the eyes, but the effect slowly reverses after the patch is removed and normal TEWL resumes.  No safety issues have been identified with the facial patches, however their benefits may not be permanent.