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Olympians are wearing tape on their faces to stay warm — but does it work?

Here's the deal with that funny tape you're seeing on athletes' faces at the Olympics.
by Lindsay Lowe / / Source: TODAY

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With temperatures dipping below zero in Pyeongchang, Olympians are finding creative ways to protect themselves from the elements.

Several skiers have been spotted wearing athletic tape over their cheeks and noses to shield their faces from the harsh winds and severe temperatures.

Alpine skier Ted Ligety wore a strip of USA-branded tape prominently across his nose and cheeks.

And Veronika Vitkova from the Czech Republic also wore blue strips of tape across her face during a biathlon event.

Biathlon - Winter Olympics Day 3
Eva Puskarcikova, a biathlete from the Czech Republic, wore tape on her cheeks and nose during a practice session in Pyeongchang.Getty Images

Many of them are wearing KT Tape, an elastic sports tape originally created to support muscles and joints and provide drug-free pain relief.

Tom Brady notably wore KT Tape on his injured hand during the recent AFC Championship game.

AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots
Tom Brady wore KT Tape on his injured right hand during the AFC Championship Game in January.Getty Images

However, the tape was never designed to protect winter athletes from freezing conditions.

“This is the first that we recall seeing athletes using our tape for battling frigid wind and air temperatures,” Taylor West, a KT Tape spokesperson, told TODAY in an email.

“We do not have any prepared instructions for using the tape as a barrier for the cold.”

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Japanese biathlete Sari Furuya's face tape was visible at the women's 10km pursuit biathlon. Getty Images

Still, in light of the extremely harsh weather in Korea, many athletes are turning to tape to protect the areas of their faces that can’t be shielded with goggles or masks.

French athlete Anais Bescond protected her cheeks with tape when she won the bronze medal in the women's 10km pursuit biathlon event on Monday.

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France's Anais Bescond wore tape on her face as she celebrated winning a bronze medal in the women's 10km pursuit biathlon event. Getty Images

Eva Puskarcikova, a biathlete from the Czech Republic, also wore strips of protective tape during a recent practice.

As of now, there is no research that proves KT Tape is an effective barrier against cold temperatures, West said.

In fact, the company generally discourages athletes from putting tape on the face because it can be difficult to remove.

“Generally speaking, we caution users against using KT Tape on the face and other sensitive areas because the adhesive on the tape is very strong and intended to stick to the skin for several days,” West said.

However, given the popularity of the tape at the Olympics, the company “will collaborate with Team USA and other medical professionals to learn more about this creative usage and determine its efficacy," said West.

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France's Marie Dorin Habert also wore tape on her cheeks when she competed in the women's 10km pursuit biathlon. Getty Images

The jury may still be out on the actual, medical benefits of face-taping, but for now, with no end in sight to the brutal weather in Pyeongchang, expect to see athletes continuing the trend.

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