Do you ever wish getting rid of pesky wrinkles was as easy as slapping on a bandage and calling it a day? The makers of Frownies (also known as “the original wrinkle patch”) maintain that it might just be that simple. The bandage-colored patches have even been touted as a non-invasive Botox alternative. With the average Botox treatment ringing in at $466, this $24 drugstore purchase might be worth a shot. So we spoke to the pros to find out if Frownies really do smooth out wrinkles overnight.
What are Frownies?
Frownies Facial Patches were invented back in 1889. Made from natural unbleached brown craft paper, the patches are said to eradicate fine lines by pulling the skin taut, thereby restricting muscle movement, almost like a cast for your skin.
They can be applied to wrinkle-prone spots such as the forehead, between the eyebrows (aka the “11”), crow’s feet and on the parentheses-like indents around our mouths.
The patches are specially shaped to fit these facial areas and contain a liquid treatment of various skin smoothing and plumping ingredients, further enhancing their wrinkle-fighting powers. The adhesive is hypoallergenic, so the patches won’t irritate skin, and the thin paper allows skin to breathe.
Users (and celebrities like Meryl Streep and Glenn Close) have been singing the product’s praises for years. In fact, Raquel Welch even swore by them in her 2010 autobiography Beyond the Cleavage! See her talk about them below.
Do Frownies really work?
“Because wrinkles are the result of movements of facial muscles, it’s key to hold those muscles static, which is what these patches do,” explains Jamé Heskett, M.D, a specialist in noninvasive anti-aging and founder of The Wellpath spa in New York City. “When you’re wearing the patches, you’re wrinkling these areas less, so over time the skin will become smoother.”
“Think of your skin like a piece of paper,” encourages San Francisco-based medical aesthetician Cassandra Bankson. “If you fold that piece of paper over and over on the same crease 100 times and then try to smooth it out, you can get the paper to be relatively flat, but there will always be a crease there.” Same goes for facial creases.
With that said, Frownies do show results, but ultimately only provide a temporary fix. “They work if you use them consistently and regularly, but nothing will replace Botox or similar injections,” explains Bankson.
That’s because Botox and its competitors, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau, and Daxxify, are actually toxins that are injected into facial muscles to prevent them from moving, smoothing existing wrinkles, and preventing new ones from forming. These toxins wear off after 3-4 months on average and will cost you around $500 each time, depending on where you live and how much of the face you are treating.
And these injectable toxins do work, according to the Mayo Clinic, injectibles also come with a bevy of risks, such as droopy eyes, a crooked smile, pain, swelling and bruising, and flu-like symptoms.
Frownies are just $24 for a box of 144 patches (Buy from Amazon), so it’s no surprise that many women have opted for the low-cost and low-risk “tape” over pricey injections.
How to use Frownies?
Experts like Bankson suggest wearing them overnight to get optimum benefits, especially if you sleep with your face rubbing against a pillow which, believe it or not, can exacerbate the formation of the dreaded deep crevices. And since a third of our lives are spent in bed, we may as well make those hours count as beauty sleep.
Not to mention, the brand boasts that steady use can also prevent those lines and wrinkles from forming in the first place.
Watch this video for an easy application tutorial
Are there other uses for Frownies?
When a brand has been around this long, it’s not surprising that devotees come up with alternative uses. Besides the obvious fine-line smoothing benefits, many customers are touting the brand as a cure for several other ailments.
1. They can help with headaches and migraines
Since Botox is now FDA-approved as a remedy for chronic migraines, Frownies customers also claim to see some of the same effects from the stick-on patches. Customers have reported fewer headaches and less tension due to the patches ability to pull the skin taught and help facial muscles relax. Although there is no science to back this up, it can’t hurt to try the technique and see if it works for you too!
2. They can help with relaxation and tension release
Customers say the patches have helped them to “train the muscles” of the face to relax, helping them to feel less tense overall. They’ve also said this is particularly helpful for a good night’s sleep.
3. They can help clear up acne
Users have said they have used the patches to heal acne breakouts and even scars. However, the company does admit that there is nothing actually in the patches that would specifically treat pimples.
What other options are there besides Frownies?
Not surprisingly, many other products and brands have emerged claiming to do the same thing as Frownies.
1. Hydrogel patches
Hydrogel can be viewed as Frownies 2.0. They operate the same way, except the more high-tech medical-grade silicone material helps to trap moisture in the skin so the serum can absorb more effectively. There are dozens of brands to choose from. One to try: Try SiO Beauty Eye & Smile Patches (Buy from Amazon, $43).
2. Silk pillowcases
We know that sleeping on our face can contribute to wrinkles, but we can’t expect you to become a back sleeper overnight. Unlike cotton pillowcases, ones made of silk are smoother, so as you toss and turn, your skin (and hair!) glides across the fabric instead of being pulled or tugged. This can potentially prevent further wrinkles from forming. One to try: Promeed Silk Pillowcase (Buy from Amazon, $20).
3. Medical tape
Whether you follow TikTok trends (or just hear about them from your daughters and granddaughters), some can be downright wacky or, in this case, tacky. Using medical tape for wrinkles is heralded as “Spanx for your face” and an “instant facelift.”
You can apply the tape at the jawline and pull up — affixing the other end behind your ears and then hide with your hair to create the illusion of a more youthful face.
But this temporary tape job is by no means actually smoothing out or erasing wrinkles on a long-term basis. One to try: Secret Lift 40 Piece Invisible Lifting Kit (Buy from Amazon, $15.95).
Jené Luciani Sena is a veteran journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author of The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimsuit, and More! and Get It!: A Beauty, Style, and Wellness Guide to Getting Your #It# Together. She’s also a style, bra and beauty expert regularly seen on shows like Access Hollywood and NBC’s Today.
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