#BEAUTY: Bone tapping to reduce wrinkles

IF you see people on TikTok tapping their faces to apply beauty products, then they're probably practising "bone tapping." This technique, inspired by Chinese acupuncture, is said to improve the appearance of skin and even slow ageing.

Bone tapping, also known as face tapping, involves tapping different areas of the face with your fingers, such as the cheekbones, forehead and jawline. This technique supposedly helps smooth skin texture and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. And all without spending a single penny. At present, the technique is gathering a large following on TikTok under the "face tapping" hashtag, which has racked up some 50 million views. Note that this trick should not be confused with face taping, another skincare hack that involves sticking pieces of adhesive tape on your face.

However, this technique is far from new. Like "brain tapping," which went viral on TikTok earlier this year for its reported benefits for helping people fall asleep, it has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. "Bone tapping is based on the ancient Chinese principles of acupuncture," the cosmetic acupuncturist, Sarah Bradden, told Glamour UK. "Instead of using needles, it utilises your fingertips. It involves tapping different acupoints with light-medium pressure with your fingertips several times. It's a great way to keep your bones healthy, enhance skin vitality and boost collagen production."

For the US-based cosmetic dermatologist Francesca Fusco, interviewed by Cosmo US, it's better to "pat" beauty products onto the skin of the face than to spread them out. "It's more gentle, because patting doesn't tug and pull at your skin, eventually contributing to more fine lines over time." This method also avoids disturbing the flow of the lymphatic system, she continues. "If you spread on your cream, you can accidentally push against the flow of your lymphatic system, which can actually make you puffy -- especially around your eye area."

There is little in the way of scientific research on bone tapping and its supposed benefits. However, a study published in September in the journal Materials Chemistry and Physics highlights the role of piezoelectricity -- an electrical charge produced in response to mechanical stress -- in bone health.

"The piezoelectric effect is an essential factor in bone remodelling by enhancing the mechanical properties of bone tissue, promoting the formation of a more organised bone matrix, maintaining bone health, and preventing bone loss," the study explains.

In other words, the piezoelectricity produced by the pressure exerted on bones makes them stronger and denser. "Tapping your face might prevent, or even reverse, the bone loss that can cause the facial skeleton to shrink, causing the skin to become too big and sag -- all of which is the main cause of wrinkles," explains Sarah Bradden.

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