Do Kinesio Tapes Increase the Skin Exposure to Pathogenic Bacteria?


      • Continuous wear of Kinesio Tapes leads to accumulation of environmental microorganisms and opportunistic pathogens.
      • The organisms accumulated on Kinesio Tapes show varying degrees of antimicrobial resistance.
      • Kinesio Tapes can affect the growth of the human skin microbiota.



      Kinesio tapes (KTs) are tapes used in physical therapy and athletics. We sought to evaluate if wearing KTs for extended periods of time increases exposure to antibiotic resistant opportunistic pathogens and effects normal human skin bacteria.


      The study consisted of ten volunteers wearing nine KTs on their arms for five consecutive days. Microorganisms were isolated from fragments collected on the second and fifth day then analyzed. Bacteria were identified using the BIOLOG system. Resistance to selected antibiotics was performed using E-Test. The effect of KTs on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Micrococcus luteus was evaluated in a diffusion-based assay.


      We found that KTs accumulated environmental bacteria. Among 22 species 8 were opportunistic pathogens, and all of them exhibited resistance to at least one antibiotic. None of the tapes produced inhibition zones in S. aureus. One tape, Leukotape P, caused growth inhibition in non-pathogenic S. epidermidis and M. luteus. The adhesive material of the tapes inhibited the growth of all bacteria.


      These results indicate that KTs may increase the exposure to antibiotic resistant pathogens which can accumulate from the environment. Further, extended exposure could lead to changes in normal skin microbiota, potentially contributing to increased risks of skin infections.


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