TheraTape Education Center
Applying And Removing Kinesiology Tape
Learning how to apply kinesiology tape properly will help you optimize the benefits of each application, reduce the occurrence of skin irritation and prevent the tape from coming off prematurely. Because kinesiology tape is both waterproof and breathable, it can be worn during exercise, showering, and even swimming. It dries quickly and seldom causes skin irritation. When properly applied, most kinesiology tape applications will last up to 5 days. Following the tips below will ensure optimal benefits from each taping.
Skin should be dry and free of any lotions, creams or oils, including sunscreen or liniments. To ensure optimal skin condition, clean with soap and water, then wipe the entire area to be taped with rubbing alcohol. If person has been exercising, ensure that perspiration has completely stopped before applying tape.
Small amounts of body hair will not interfere with the effectiveness or adhesion of the tape. Areas with significant amounts of hair should be clipped or shaved for best results – and for less pain when tape is removed!
If using a roll of tape (Kinesio Tape, SpiderTape or RockTape), measure and cut carefully. Be sure to round every corner when cutting to prevent edges from peeling prematurely.
If using SpiderTech precut kinesiology tape, tear backing at every serrated line before applying tape. Because all SpiderTech applications are machine-cut, there is less likelihood of fraying, so corners do not need to be rounded.
When ready to begin applying kinesiology tape, only remove the backing from the “anchor” end – the first part that will be applied. As you proceed, only remove as much backing at one time as is necessary to adhere each section. Removing too much backing at one time can result in tape sticking to itself, ruining the application.
Avoid touching the adhesive side of the tape after removing the backing. Doing so will decrease the adhesive strength on the skin and may lead to early peeling.
Carefully follow instructions from product package, video or instruction manual. As each section is applied, rub lightly and briskly from the center to the ends to activate the adhesive. Do not rub from the ends toward the center, or you may cause the ends to peel away from the skin.
Wait at least 1 hour after applying tape to engage in activity that causes sweating. Do not swim or shower for at least 1 hour following application.
To dry tape after exercising, swimming or showering, pat gently with a towel. Do not use a hair dryer – the adhesive is heat-activated, and may become difficult to remove.
Any edges that begin to peel can be trimmed with scissors to prevent further peeling.
Do not apply kinesiology tape on any skin surface that is damaged – this includes scrapes, cuts, burns, sunburn or any type of rash or irritation. Individuals with sensitive skin should apply a test piece for up to 24 hours before a full taping. If skin irritation occurs, remove tape immediately.
Kinesiology tape is made from 100% high-grade cotton, with a hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive. The tape contains no latex and no medications. This makes it very comfortable with a low probability of skin irritation. Individuals with extremely sensitive skin, howe ver, may still experience rash, itching or irritation. The following products have been anecdotally reported to minimize skin irritation when applied prior to tape application: Benadryl® Itch Stopping Gel, Maalox®, TENS Clean-Cote® Skin Wipes. Be sure to let any pre-taping skin preparation dry completely before applying tape.
Skin cells begin sloughing after 5 days, which will make tape easier to remove. Techniques for removing tape include: (a) pressing down on the skin at the end of the taped area, while gently rolling or peeling the tape straight back, (b) pulling tape edge back gently as the index finger slides or vibrates back and forth where the tape joins the skin.
It is more comfortable to remove tape in the direction of hair growth, which is usually away from the center of the body on the trunk, and in a downward direction on the arms or legs.
Tape that is still strongly adhered to skin after 5 days may be loosened by soaking with baby oil or olive oil for 15-20 minutes minutes before attempting to remove it.