Do Wrinkle Patches Actually Work?

As a Los Angeleno who'd never heard of Northface and couldn't tell you how many points a touchdown was worth for the life of me, I felt like a bit of an anomaly when I landed in Columbus, Ohio for college. But it can't compare to how I felt when I visited after graduation, as a twenty-something Botox-loving beauty editor.
I flew back for my best friend's wedding and during the bridal brunch, the conversation with the mother-in-laws turned to anti-aging. They were in their 50s, used all-natural products, and had never entertained the idea of injections — and they looked amazing. What the hell? Is that just what you get for living a more balanced life in a place where cocktails don't cost $20 and your chance of sitting next to a masturbating man on public transportation is significantly lower?
Maybe, or maybe it's what happens when you Scotch-tape your face before bed every night. I thought it was a joke when one of the women said she'd been doing it for years, but then my friend chimed in that she, too, slept in Frownies Facial Patches. They believed it worked, they looked great, and it cost them next to nothing. I seemed to be the odd one injecting my face with neurotoxins for no reason.
Still, I didn't consider taping down my skin until recently, when a bunch of Wrinkles Schminkles packs landed on my desk the exact week I was lamenting not having booked my Botox appointment on time. It may sound vain, but those forehead lines bother me a lot, and I've done far stranger things to keep them away.
The Forehead Smoothing Kit (there are also ones for the chest, eyes, mouth, and hands) contains two 100% medical-grade reusable silicone patches designed to be worn 20-30 times while you sleep. The basic premise makes sense: Hold your skin taut for long enough, and it'll take some time for it to loosen up again — like using paperweights to make a rolled-up poster lie flat. But the brand loses me with its claim that silicone creates hydration, which brings blood flow to the surface of the skin, which stimulates collagen production. The dots don't quite connect.
As instructed, I washed and dried my face, skipped my usual nightly skin-care routine (ignoring the fact that retinol is surely more important in the long run than silicone), and smoothed the patch on. By morning, there was definitely something happening under there in terms of moisture — there looked to be condensation bubbling up beneath the patch — but when I peeled it off, my forehead looked and felt as though I'd applied one of those blurring, mattifying primers. To my delight, the lines of the night before were gone. Like, completely gone. It wasn't supposed to work that well.
Alas, by the time I'd showered and gotten dressed, the carriage had turned back into the pumpkin. A good hour, hour-and-a-half is all I got each morning for a week. It isn't nothing — pull the patch off right before a date and you'll get your money's worth for two drinks and an appetizer, or half a football game — but it won't be enough to keep me out of the derm's office. Because even though I still can't tell you what the hell a line of scrimmage is, I do know one thing for sure: The fountain of youth isn't found at Office Depot.
Wrinkles Schminkles Forehead Smoothing Kit, $30, available at Wrinkles Schminkles.
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