In 2018 and 2019 "Snapchat Dysmorphia" or "selfie-awareness" caused an uptick in younger patients seeking out facial plastic surgery, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). Now, Covid-19-related increases in screen time and video chats is driving more patients to cosmetic surgery practices.
An increase in Zoom and virtual meetings as well as video conference calls and classrooms is causing people to see themselves much for frequently for extended periods of time. While many non-essential surgeries were put on hold during the months of quarantine, the AAFPRS is now noting that the demand for facial surgeries and procedures is higher than ever.
To learn more this rise in aesthetic surgeries, we spoke with Mark Hamilton, MD, AAFPRS board member.
MedEsthetics (ME): What services are you seeing people request more often since the pandemic?
Mark Hamilton (MH): Lower facelift and neck lifts have been a major focus since the pandemic. Also, lower blepharoplasty for under eye bags has gained popularity. Zoom meetings have really called attention to these areas specifically.
ME: Why do you think there has been a spike in cosmetic procedures since quarantine?
MH: There are multiple reasons for this spike. First, many patients feel like they can recover and hide out while working from home and with masks. In addition, since many patients are not spending money on travel and other leisure activities, they are more able to do surgery. I even had a patient tell me, "This was my trip to Spain" when booking a cosmetic surgery. Lastly, as stated above, with professional people more on Zoom calls and seeing themselves pictured like never before there has been increased awareness of their facial appearance.
ME: How do you think the Zoom meetings have been impacting people's image of themselves and their well-being?
MH: A lot of people are concerned or even alarmed by their appearance at these Zoom meetings. Many patients are seeing themselves in ways they have not in the past. Especially for busy professionals who are not regularly on social media, this has been a real eye opener.
ME: What advice do you have for physicians/practitioners who are experiencing a bump in patient interest in cosmetic procedures?
MH: It is important to make sure these patients are addressing real issues and not distortions from what they are seeing on Zoom meetings. Lighting, positioning and camera graphics can misrepresent what people are seeing and what may or may not be needed.
ME: How do you think this spike in cosmetic procedure compares to "snapchat dysmorphia" or "selfie-awareness?
MH: This does vary in the sense that it is more of the professionals and people who are more likely to be working coming in for these services versus people who are regularly on social media.
ME: What ages are coming in and requesting more treatments due to Zoom meetings?
MH: In my practice, it is well established professionals in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
ME: Have there been any other reasons/factors cosmetic procedures have spiked since the start of Covid-19?
MH: With the shutdown and its ramifications, some people are taking new directions in life personally and professionally; with this, some of these people are thinking it is the right time to improve their appearance and achieve a more refreshed look.
ME: How do you see the aesthetic industry changing moving forward after Covid-19?
MH: Some of these trends will dissipate once we get through Covid-19 or (hopefully not) if we have a shutdown again. Others, such as increased awareness of appearance by professionals with Zoom meetings and webinars are probably here to stay.
Dr. Mark Hamilton specializes solely in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. He has authored multiple publications and lectures widely on all aspects of facial plastic surgery.