How COVID and Zoom are Increasing Aesthetic Procedures

When work was suddenly moved into the home for many of us at the beginning of the shut-down, the Zoom meeting became an immediate staple of the home office. Along with the convenience of all those virtual meetings, however, came the unexpected fact of staring at ourselves on the screen all day. How have people responded? By wanting more and more aesthetic procedures!

By the time elective surgeries were once again available around the beginning of June, one thing had become apparent: Many of us were ready to pull the trigger on a wide variety of aesthetic procedures. We wanted to look better, and we wanted it now. 

One Arlington, VA plastic surgeon reported that, while vacations generally make summer a slow time for cosmetic work, this past June saw almost 30 percent more traffic in his practice than usual. “We call it the ‘Zoom neck lift,’’’ he says. “We have been extremely busy. It was amazing how quickly it came back.”

Atlanta plastic surgeon Diane Alexander told the New York Times “I have never done so many face-lifts in a summer as I’ve done this year.” She had done more than 250 procedures from May 18 through the end of July. “Pretty much every face-lift patient that comes in says: ‘I’ve been doing these Zoom calls and I don’t know what happened but I look terrible,’” Alexander said, adding that: “This is the weirdest world I live in. The world is shut down, we’re all worried about a global crisis, the economy is completely crashing, and people come in and still want to feel good about themselves.”

Time is money

Another factor likely contributing to this cosmetic renaissance is the fact that many of us have unexpected time on our hands. While we may have been already kicking around the idea of having a little work done, the timing never seemed right. Who’s got time to take up to two weeks off for recovery? Thanks to COVID, suddenly many of us do, and we’re striking while the aesthetic iron is hot.

Said one patient quoted in the Times article, “Knowing everybody is staying in, wearing a face mask, not coming out due to social distancing, made it the spot-on right time. Not one friend knows I’ve done it. Family members don’t know and my sister and mom don’t even know.”

Money is money

But surely, what with the economy and unemployment, no one’s got the money right now for aesthetic procedures, right?

Not so fast. Another consequence of the COVID shutdown has been that many of us have had to cancel previously planned trips or events or other planned expenditures. For those of us able to work at home, that translates to extra disposable income burning a hole in our sweatpants. Why not use that money to have a little work done?

The benefits of Zoom

But virtual meeting technology can be seen as a major driver of this COVID aesthetic trend in more ways than one.

For many, no doubt, one of the major roadblocks in making the decision to undergo an aesthetic procedure is the act of actually visiting the doctor’s office for that initial consultation. It’s not only a time-related inconvenience, but it’s also a sizable psychological leap to take above and beyond the simple act of just thinking about having work done.

COVID, on the other hand, has accelerated the already burgeoning practice of telehealth consultations, and when all it takes is an extra ten minutes between meetings to Zoom in with a doctor, that psychological leap becomes a much more manageable step. Some doctors are even offering telehealth consults for free, which takes another obstacle out of the way.

Though the jury is still out on whether this increase in aesthetic procedures is merely due to pent up demand from the temporary stoppage of elective medical procedures, one thing is sure. For the time being, you’re not alone in seeking out a little nip, tuck, or injection.

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