Adhesive tapes affect bacteria beneath them by the degree of occlusion produced by the adhesive and/or the backing as well as by the intrinsic antibacterial action of some adhesives.
Five representative tapes were compared to plastic film in studies on the proliferation of the normal human skin flora and the fate of inoculated Staphylococcus aureus.
The occlusive nonantibacterial tapes induced populations of more than a million organisms per square centimeter and permitted the multiplication of S aureus. Population levels of the same order as untreated dry skin were maintained by one nonocclusive and the antibacterial tapes while one nonocclusive tape gave intermediate results.
Marples RR, Kligman AM. Growth of Bacteria Under Adhesive Tapes. Arch Dermatol. 1969;99(1):107-110. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610190113020