The Importance of Skin Preparation Before Taping

Spider Tape, Kinesiology Tape, Rock Tape, Zinc oxide tape, bandaids, no matter what tape is being applied and for whatever reason, it is important to effectively prepare the skin before application.

In most applications, the tape will be on for a prolonged period of time (several hours to several days) and it is critical to properly prepare the skin before applying it. 

First and foremost you need to determine if there is an allergy or sensitivity to adhesive. Not all adhesives are equal in the world of tape. It is important to research the brand of tape, as well as if they offer a “sensitive” tape for those that do not tolerate adhesive.

If an adhesive sensitivity or allergy exists, there are products that can be applied on the skin – before the tape is applied. Smith and Nephew has a spray or individual packages of Skin Prep, 3M makes a product called Cavilon and there is also Derma Shield available through Clear Solutions Canada that can be applied on clean/dry/non open wound skin before the application of tape.

It is critical before any of these applications can occur to have clean, dry, and non open skin surface. The body’s natural oils, application of lotions and moisturizers, hair and even old skin cells (dry skin) can have an impact on whether the barrier and the tape itself will stay applied.

In the case of hair, shaving the area in which you are taping is ideal. Hair acts as a barrier between the skin and tape and does allow the tape to properly adhere to the skin and subsequently doesn’t provide structural or proprioceptive function for the tape. Regarding old skin cells/dry skin, exfoliation – or removal of the loose dead cells is critical. Prior to taping, showering with a loofa or use of a natural sugar scrub to remove the cells is recommended. Be sure to rinse with clean warm water before towel drying (or pat/blot) the skin.

There are a number of medical grade skin cleaners, as well as the use of rubbing alcohol or what we know as hand sanitizer – these can be applied with a clean, lint free cloth/towel/natural cotton applicator, or the use of warm water and soap. Make sure the area is completely dry before applying the skin barrier. With some of the skin barrier products they need upwards of 4-5 minutes to completely dry (please read the manufacturers instructions completely before applying) and provide an ideal barrier before the application of tape.

Please contact any of our professionals at Honsberger Physio+ to discuss any questions you may have regarding the use of tape and the many benefits of prophilatic and proprioceptive tape. Happy Taping.

Contact Becky Adam or Ozy to learn more about proper taping techniques for your injuries. 

Written by

Becky Sarjeant
Certified Athletic Therapist + Registered Massage Therapist

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
105-675 Cochrane Drive, Markham, ON L3R 0B8 P (905) 940-2627 F (905) 940-3136 HONSBERGER@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM
81 Temperance Street, Aurora, ON L4G 2R1 P (905) 841-0411 F (905) 841-7311 AURORA@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM