Although a kinesiology tape application can only be worn once, depending on the brand and format, most kinesiology tape is designed to remain in place and provide therapeutic benefits from 3-7 days. If your tape is not staying on this long, look at the following list of common culprits:
1. The skin was not properly cleaned before the tape was applied. It is essential that skin be free of lotions and even natural oils before the tape is applied. Cleaning the skin with rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer or a pre-taping spray such as PerformPrep immediately before applying the tape is critical. For more information, see my previous post, How to Apply Kinesiology Tape – Step 1: Preparation.
2. The adhesive was not properly activated after applying the tape. Kinesiology tape is made with an acrylic adhesive that is heat-activated. The easiest way to activate the adhesive is to rub the tape lightly and briskly from the center toward the ends of each strip. This can be done with the bare hands or the backing paper from the tape. Do not rub from the ends toward the center – if you catch and edge and it lifts from the skin, it will not re-adhere.
3. The corners of the tape were not rounded. Rounding the corners of every strip before applying the tape is very helpful in preventing the edges from lifting prematurely.
4. The tape was applied with stretch all the way to the ends. The final 2-3″ of every strip should be applied with no stretch. In addition to making it easier for the ends to lift away from the skin, this is the most common cause of rashes and skin irritation.
5. Not enough time elapsed between application of the tape and exercise, swimming or showering. It is recommended to wait at least 60 minutes after applying kinesiology tape before engaging in any activity that will generate moisture under the tape.
6. The tape was applied too soon after exercising, swimming or showering. Kinesiology tape can withstand heavy perspiration after the adhesive has had time to set, but applying the tape to skin that is still moist or generating moisture is the kiss of death for its gentle adhesive.
7. The taped area receives friction from clothing or contact sports. Because kinesiology tape is seldom wrapped completely around a joint or muscle, the ends of the tape are not protected from rubbing from pads, clothing or bodily contact. In these situations, it is recommended to use an additional adhesive spray on the ends of the tape to prevent them from being lifted.
8. The taped area has excessive body hair. Small amounts of hair will not interfere with the tape, but excessive amounts will prevent the tape from adhering directly to the skin. Shaving or clipping the hair close to the skin is recommended for such areas.
Additional information on proper application techniques for kinesiology taping can be found in my last post, How to Apply Kinesiology Tape – Part 2: Application.