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While chest binders have alternatives like trans tape, they both offer a great deal of relief from dysphoria for many AFAB trans men. In contrast, they are not the only option. Here, one FtM trans man shares his top tips on how to use trans tape as an alternative to ftm chest binding. This guide is especially helpful for chest binding for large chests. 

Tape for AFAB chest binding, sold under the branded name: Trans Tape. I ordered standard KT Tape from a company called #Doyourfitness. Above all, It is worth checking their shop on Amazon. Without a doubt, I would order Trans Tape, it’s tape that’s an alternative to traditional AFAB chest binding. As a company, they’re run for trans people by trans people.

“With trans tape application there are a couple of tricks we can use. These will make it stay in place and to make it easier to change.”

 

How to Use Trans Tape as an Alternative to AFAB Chest Binding:

  1. Start with clear and clean body and breast skin. That’s free of lotions and oils. Clean body and breast skin will give it the best adhesive properties.
  2. Before applying trans tape, cover your nipples with something first.
    • You’ll need both surgical tape and little bits of bandages. Cut the applications to your nipple size. Then, use surgical tape to hold them in place.
  3. Keep both edges of the trans tape slack when applying.
    • Stretch the middle part of the tape over the skin. Do this whilst keeping the edges loose. Stretching will prevent straining the skin.
  4. Ensure that the ends of the trans tape have about 5mm of skin contact
    • The trans tape only sticks well to the skin, and not to itself.
  5. To remove the trans tape, cover it with oil. The tape should peel off in a gentle way.
    • Any oil will work. I recommend almond oil – and leave it for a while. The tape should come off with natural ease. If it doesn’t, then apply more oil. You might find sore patches. Follow the advice above and practice, and you’ll be sure to get better at it.

 

At this time, the company I use supplies rolls of trans tape that are wider than average. The larger the tape, the better the bind! Most trans tape companies only stock—5 cm tape.

When it comes to placement, it’s a matter of trial and error.  It would help if you worked out what’s best for you. It’s essential to by no means put the trans tape all the way around your body. Unquestionably, this could restrict your breathing.

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Dealing with Sore Patches

When sore patches emerge, you can use a combination of:

  • Witch Hazel
  • E45 Cream

Indeed, E45 cream will help heal it up in a swift fashion.  With the worst cases I’ve experienced, the sore patches healed up in 48 hours. Beware, whilst these creams are effective, they do sting! All forms of chest strapping do have their caveats. When binding for large chests, it’s often best to go with tape. Consult your doctor or physician before applying. Some people like to round the corners off to try and prevent them from lifting up. Firstly, I don’t do this. You might like to try this technique if you have issues with corners lifting. Secondly, it can be too much time. KT Tape generally doesn’t have many issues with the corners lifting.

 

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So, how long does it last? The trans tape can stay on for around a week. It remains firm and stays on fine when I shower and go swimming. I take it off when it starts to slip. This is the stage at which the glue becomes less effective. Which makes taking it off much much more straightforward. In like manner, I would use oil to help with removal. Tape is more flexible than a traditional binder. It is much more able and less restrictive. As a result, I don’t have to take it off at night. In addition, this works wonders for my dysphoria.

You’re probably wondering, ‘Can I shower with trans tape?’ Yes, it’s very resilient. It can be worn in the shower, in the pool, or in the sea. It’s generally worn for up to 5 days in a row.

 

3 Things to Avoid with AFAB Trans Tape:

Trans tape works fantastically for large chests. However, we recommend trying binders from a reputable source. Chest binders are a safer alternative. However, if you do use trans tape, here are some tips to stay safe.

  1. Be sure to avoid putting the trans tape all the way around your back and your chest. This can cause breathing difficulties & skin compression
  2. Don’t stretch your skin or the Trans tape to the point that it’s flat. Indeed, you might want to give off the appearance of muscles. A tight trans tape covering can make your chest muscles appear dull.
  3. Avoid touching the sticky part. Touching it can lessen its adhesive properties.

 

Besides this, wearing binders brings with it its own set of issues.  Importantly, these include muscular damage, which you don’t get with tape. As a solution, trans tape is worth exploring. If you’re going to bind, we recommend using a reputable ftm chest binding brand.

 

3 Cons of Using Tape As An Alternative to FtM Chest Binding

  1. FtM tape can damage the skin, causing blisters if the skin gets pulls and breaks. Be careful when taking it off.
  2. FtM tape can be itchy until you get used to it.
  3. FtM tape can pull out chest hair. Shaving your chest hair, or cutting the hairs, eliminates the problem.

 

Want to know more? The brilliant Aaron Capener of www.officiallyaaron.com shows how he applies TransTape below.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of @capener44 on Instagram