Australians’ desire for cosmetic surgery tripled during COVID-19 lockdown, and remains higher than normal – and Zoom meetings are partly to blame.
It’s yet another unexpected ripple effect from the coronavirus pandemic, a leading cosmetic surgeon told The New Daily.
One of the key reasons interest has spiked, is because we’re seeing ourselves from a completely different angle for hours a day: Our front-facing cameras.
The more time we spend on video calls, the more wrinkles, unflattering angles and perceived flaws we’re spotting, Melbourne plastic surgeon Chris Moss said.
“One patient commented that she never knew she had her mother’s ‘turkey neck’,” Dr Moss said, whose business The Chris Moss Plastic Surgery Clinic saw a 300 per cent increase in inquiries for facelifts and rhinoplasty during the first lockdown period.
Although people are noticing these new things they’re not happy with, they’ve also got the time to research the procedures they’re interested in, Dr Moss added.
We’re also taking this time to reassess our smiles.
Celebrity dentist Dr Reuben Sim, of Melbourne’s Dental Boutique, has reported a 30 per cent increase in inquiries for cosmetic dentistry.
This aligns with data that showed the sale of beauty products – like skin masks – skyrocketed in March and April.
Zoom’s in-program airbrushing feature doesn’t always stand the test of time and ageing.
“(People have) spent more time make-up free and noticed things like jowls and hooded eyelids (which are normally covered in eye shadow),” Dr Moss said.
“They’ve always wanted to get a facelift but never had the time to research it properly because they were too busy working.”
Overseas travel is off the cards for the foreseeable 12 months, so people are reasoning they may as well spend the money on a facelift, Dr Moss said.
Australians spend a collective $1 billion-plus on cosmetic procedures a year, 40 per cent more (per capita) than the US.
A first time for everything
Twenty four-year-old Alex has started inquiring about her first cosmetic procedure.
She too was spurred on by spending more time with a new side of herself.
The week before lockdown began, she’d started at a new job, which quickly transitioned from face-to-face interaction to working nine to five in front of a screen.
“It was the first time I used video calls regularly, about five to six times a day,” Alex told TND.
“I just thought, ‘Oh God, I’m not looking great for 24’.”
It was forehead creases and wrinkles that stood out most to Alex.
She’s never had cosmetic surgery before, and said she’d always been skeptical of people in her age bracket who underwent procedures.
“But here I am,” she said, having pressed on with consultations for botox injections.
“It started me thinking long term. If I’m seeing some start of immovable wrinkles or creases now, it’s only going to get worse as I get older.
“Hopefully this will minimise the effect of that as I grow older.”
A global trend
Dr Moss said younger people were representing a large chunk of the increase in rhinoplasty, because of their obsession with ‘selfies’.
Inquiries for nose jobs are still 200 per cent higher for his clinic, than this time last year.
Inquiries for neck lifts and eyelid surgeries were also up 200 per cent during lockdown.
It’s a trend reflected not just across the country, but internationally as well.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons surveyed its country’s people on their attitudes to cosmetic procedures during the pandemic, and found 49 per cent of participants who had never gone under the knife were now open to the idea.
In the US, where face masks are mandatory in many states, many people are snapping up the chance to puff up their pouts with lip injections, one plastic surgeon reported – because the mask is there to hide the healing period.
Similarly, that’s just another benefit of Australians working from home, Dr Moss said – it’s easier to get away with a “secret” surgery.
Researchers at Swinburne and Monash Universities are currently looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic and time spent on video calls are affecting body image and interest in cosmetic procedures in Australians. To share your views and participate in this important research, fill out the survey here.