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Kinesio tapes are adhesive tapes used in physical therapy to alleviate discomfort and facilitate lymphatic drainage by minimally lifting the skin. It is believed that kinesio tapes reduce inflammation, prevent injuries, and promote circulation. However, in order to achieve these effects, these tapes are often worn in contact with the skin for several consecutive days with the producers of these tapes stating that they are hypoallergenic and wearable as such. Such prolonged skin exposure may impact the skin microbiota and may promote local skin infections, especially if abrasions form under the tape, as cases of MRSA infections have been reported in athletes wearing these tapes for prolonged periods. Further, among the nine tapes whose literature we have investigated, only one was indicated as having “antimicrobial” properties. For these reasons, the effect of kinesio tapes on skin microbiota should be evaluated.

In this study, we studied the effect of nine of these kinesio tapes on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus (ATTC 12600) in a standard diffusion-based assay. Lawns of bacteria were prepared and one square centimeter pieces of tape were placed on the agar for 24 hours. Both the adhesive and the backing of each tape were evaluated for their antimicrobial properties. Upon evaluation, it was observed that none of the tapes caused formation of inhibition zones, including the tape that was claimed to possess antimicrobial properties. However, the adhesive material present on all the studied tapes inhibited the growth of S. aureus. These results indicate that the glue used on kinesio tapes has a potential to impact the normal skin microbiota. Further, extended exposure to the tape could lead to significant changes in normal skin microbiota, which might contribute to an increased risk of skin infections such as the MRSA infections previously reported.


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  • Event location
    • Cleveland Ballroom

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022