Recently, when things began to tentatively reopen, there was a noticeable spike in appointments for appearance-related issues. When asked what was driving the decision, many cited video-conferencing.
The pandemic has catapulted many of us into a world of Zoom and Join-me calls and/or Teams meetings. Staring at our own face on a screen all day every day has been wreaking havoc with our self-image.
In this ‘Zoom Age’, people have become more preoccupied with sagging necks and jowls; with the size and shape of our nose; with frown and laugh wrinkles; with the pallor of our skin. Many want cosmetic interventions, ranging from Botox and fillers to face-lifts and nose jobs.
‘Zoom dysmorphia’, as its being called, isn’t necessarily a new cosmetic idea/concept. Even before Covid, there was a rise in patients coming in with unique cosmetic demands. The term ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ was coined in 2015 to describe the growing numbers of people who wanted to look like they’d been put through a face-altering filter in real life.
Before that, people would turn up with photos of celebrities they wanted to look like. Even before the rise of social media, studies found that people who stared at themselves in a mirror became more self-conscious.
Unlike with Snapchat, where people are aware that they’re viewing themselves through a filter, video conferencing distorts our appearance in ways we’re unaware. Desktop and mobile selfie cameras distort our image, like a “funhouse mirror”. This effect is exacerbated by proximity to the lens, which is generally nearer than you would ever stand in a real life conversation. Often we’re looking down at a smartphone or laptop camera at a very unflattering angle. We’re also used to seeing our own reflection when our faces are relaxed – the concentrated frown (or bored expression) we wear in a Zoom meeting conflicts with the image of what we’re used to seeing in the mirror.
As we slowly move out of the lockdowns, surveys have indicated that 30% of us have indicated we plan to invest in our appearance as we return to in-person events – with concerns about weight gain, skin discoloration, wrinkles and acne particularly high on the list.
All that said, it’s important NOT to rush out an have anyone inject you but to seek a qualified provider to safely and effectively administer treatment. Having your injections from a board-certified surgeon with a wealth of knowledge, skill and training can bring excellent results.