Over the past few months, I’ve been bombarded with Instagram ads for the SiO wrinkle-fighting patches. I’m not quite sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the many texts I’ve exchanged with my friends—and dermatologist—lamenting how sad it is to watch our Botox slowly wear off during quarantine. Apparently, I’m not the only one seeing these ads; I’ve also received numerous DMs from followers, asking if I’ve tried the patches and if they work. I was legitimately curious (and long overdue for Botox), so I jumped on the opportunity to test these buzzed-about patches and see what they could do.
To give you some context: I get neurotoxin injections in my forehead and the “elevens,” or glabellar lines between my brows, every four to five months. My last appointment was a whopping eight months ago, so I was definitely rocking some more significant wrinkles than usual.
SiO patches review
The basic premise behind these patches: They’re made of a medical-grade silicone that flattens the skin and prevents muscle movement, all while sealing in natural hydration to help plump skin and minimize the look of fine lines. The brand doesn’t specifically state that they’re a direct swap for an injectable neurotoxin, but much of the marketing and language used around the product alludes to this. The product descriptions even cite the results of a brand-backed clinical study—85% of those who tried a patch said they’d rather use it than get a medical procedure, like an injectable.
My first step was to get an expert’s opinion as to what kinds of results I could actually expect. “These patches are made of silicone sheeting, which has been used for decades to enhance wound healing and improve the appearance of scars,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “By creating a seal over the skin, it improves hydration and can have a plumping effect,” he says. In theory, this is what delivers the promised ‘“instantaneous” results when it comes to minimizing the look of wrinkles. According to the brand, you can see results after wearing them just once, either for a few hours or overnight (more on that in a moment).
These patches are also claimed to work even better with continued use; the directions say to use them as part of your everyday routine, for long-lasting results. This could theoretically be attributed to silicone’s effect on collagen production. Topical silicone promotes healthy collagen production by modulating the expression of growth factors involved in collagen synthesis, says Dr. Zeichner. It’s part of what makes silicone an effective scar treatment, as shown in a study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. That being said, Dr. Zeichner’s bottom line was clear: “Silicone patches are a great way to optimize skin hydration and provide a mild improvement in wrinkles, but they don’t replace injectable neurotoxins. You could use them immediately before an event, for a quick fix, but the plumping results are going to be short-lived.”
To that point, it’s important to underscore the fact that these patches have an entirely different mechanism of action from that of injectable neurotoxins, such as Botox. The latter work by delivering a toxin that binds to receptors on nerve cells, ultimately relaxing the muscle. This minimizes the look of existing wrinkles and can help prevent future lines from forming, since it’s ultimately the repeated muscle movement that causes them. While the results aren’t permanent, they usually last for about three to four months, much longer than any benefit you’ll get from topical silicone patches.
Onto my first-hand experience. The application directions are clear, and the process is easy—you simply peel and stick. I first tried the SiO BrowLift, meant for both the glabellar lines and horizontal lines across the forehead, exactly where I usually get my injections. I wasn’t quite sure how long I should wear the patch. The directions state “for a few hours or overnight,” so I decided to split the difference and wear it while I got a whopping five and a half hours of sleep. The patch feels a little tight at first, kind of like you’re wearing Spanx on your skin. (Worth noting: it is definitely much harder to move your forehead or frown while wearing it.) But I quickly got used to the sensation, and it stayed in place all night.
SiO wrinkle fighting patches results
I peeled off the patch the next morning (easy and painless), looked in the mirror, and exclaimed, “Holy *expletive*—they actually work,” to no one in particular. I saw a difference right away—my “elevens” was much less noticeable, as were the few horizontal creases across my forehead. Another major plus: my skin is ultra-, mega-sensitive, and I had no problems. (Zeichner says silicone is generally a pretty inert ingredient, though he adds that sometimes wearing these patches for a prolonged period of time can cause irritation.) I still had the same wrinkles when I moved my forehead, but they were definitely diminished when my face was at rest. The results lasted all day, with the fine lines gradually returning by the next morning.
SiO eye & smile lift patches
Next up, the Sio Eye & Smile Lift patches, meant to be used around the eyes or corners of the mouth. (The brand also has options for the neck and décolletage.) While I don’t yet have any permanent crow’s-feet—thank you, genetics gods—I do have crinkles around my eyes when I smile, so I popped on the patches for about three hours. The results? Much less impressive than on my forehead. Perhaps it’s the fact that there weren’t any static wrinkles to begin with, or maybe I should have worn them longer, but I was unimpressed and tossed these aside.
Given that the brand does recommend using the patches regularly, I tried out the forehead one again, wearing it for a few hours rather than overnight. (It’s worth mentioning that you can reuse any of the patches 10 to 15 times. You rinse off the adhesive side, reattach it to a little piece of cardboard backing, and store in the resealable pouch it comes in.) The results were fairly similar every time though definitely more dramatic, the longer I wore it—overnight was always better than a few hours.
At the end of the day, my takeaway is in line with Dr. Zeichner’s. I loved the forehead patch as a quick fix to smooth out lines. I’ll definitely reach for it again before a major event (or when there’s a worldwide pandemic and I can’t get Botox). That being said, for me, the results were nowhere near as effective or long-lasting as a neurotoxin. I definitely won’t be giving up injectables or my other topical anti-aging staples, such as sunscreen and growth factors, anytime soon. But if you’re curious about the Instagram ads, go ahead and swipe up—these patches are at least worth a try.