By Dr Rajat Gupta,
While cosmetic surgery initially saw a decline due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as the ‘lockdown face’ entered the lexicon, the industry has faced an increase in the number of cases, now referred to as “Zoom boom”. It’s no secret that two years later the global Covid-19 epidemic crippled the global economy. Elective procedures like cosmetic surgeries were also affected by this, facing an initial decline. However, soon enough, as the “face lock” became a reality for people, more and more patients started opting for cosmetic surgery.
Several surgeons have called this the “zoom boom,” attributing the 200% peak to the increase in online video communications around the world. Between January 2021 and 21, Zoom’s revenue soared to $ 2.65 billion from what now appears to be a meager $ 623 million. In the fourth quarter alone, it saw a 369% increase in revenue, proving that security concerns and online dissatisfaction weren’t holding back its popularity. Several companies have understood the value of Zoom as a remote working resource, also encouraging its use after Covid. This increased use has also caused people to come across something they didn’t think too much about: themselves. Concretely, the phenomenon that surgeons call “face lockdown”. Lock face refers to how people saw themselves in Zoom meetings. Unlike real life, where you can’t see yourself when talking to the other person, having your video in a Zoom meeting exposes asymmetries and imperfections to yourself. When people were forced to face each other and see what they looked like, they started to notice a lot more extra wrinkles, bags under the eyes, and sagging skin.
Increase in the number of patients specifically seeking cosmetic facial surgeries
These observations are also supported by reputable organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), which have reported nose reshaping (rhinoplasty), eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), and face lift as the top three procedures. common in 2020. This is in stark contrast to 2019, where breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tuck (tummy tuck) were the most common procedures in the United States. Even in India, liposuction was the most common surgical procedure in 2019, followed by rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty. Therefore, despite the decline in medical tourism i.e. foreign patients coming to India for their cosmetic procedures, his clinic continued to be booked months in advance. A waiting list that was previously 3-4 weeks has now doubled to 6-8 weeks due to the Zoom boom. The most common procedure desired by patients was to remove bags under the eyes, which resulted in a 300% increase in demand.
Besides people seeing themselves more clearly and their imperfections, he attributes this to two other reasons.
Peaceful recuperation space
Although many facial cosmetic procedures are minimally invasive or non-invasive (eg, Botox injections or fillers), patients still have a fair amount of swelling and bruising. These outpatient procedures allow patients to return to work a few days after surgery, but with visible surgical sequelae. This process can be very embarrassing and embarrass many patients who might otherwise want cosmetic surgery. The new philosophy of working from home gives cosmetic surgery patients the safe space they need to recover peacefully. They can take all necessary precautions from the comfort of their own homes. Their results stabilized, and by the time they returned to work most of the swelling and bruising was gone, leaving little evidence of surgery beyond an improved appearance.
Self-improvement over materialism
The second reason is more philosophical. Many people have realized that material wealth brings them no joy – what good is a new car if you can’t drive it? Instead, they turned to self-improvement, adopting healthier lifestyles like eating nutritious foods and exercising. Cosmetic surgery has become a part of this mental and physical transformation, helping them achieve the look they want. This particularly applies to stubborn subcutaneous fat targeted by liposuction. While cosmetic facial surgeries boomed during Covid, liposuction was the most popular procedure for a reason. It continued its popularity during Covid, helping patients achieve the contours they wanted while recovering peacefully at home afterward. Therefore, when a diet and exercise program did not give them the desired results, cosmetic surgery stepped in, giving them their ideal body while working to keep it.
Will the boom continue after Covid?
Cosmetic surgery was already a dynamic industry before Covid-19. Especially in India, medical tourism was one of the main selling points alongside lower cost which brought in several international patients. If the lack of travel in the midst of a pandemic has not held back the growth of the industry, there is no reason to assume the boom will abate. Although these are medical procedures and people fear clinical spaces, these elective procedures have continued. While Covid-19 may have educated the average person on hygiene and health measures, it has also helped them understand how to invest in their happiness. As Dr Jill Owen of the British Psychological Association notes, the cosmetic surgery boom during Covid is part of a current trend of being able to see each other talk in real time and care about their appearance. She notes that while this self-perception was previously reserved for celebrities (reflected in how they undergo the most cosmetic procedures), the everyday patient can also see themselves with Zoom calls and social media.
Therefore, it is safe to say that if Covid-19 could not reduce the cases of cosmetic surgery – instead causing an increase in domestic plastic surgery in India – the boom will continue. The way in which cosmetic procedures can aesthetically enhance appearances and help calm the minds of patients alone makes them an important part of the foreseeable future.
(The author is the founder of RG Aesthetics, a cosmetic surgery clinic in Delhi. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult with medical experts and healthcare professionals before starting any therapy, medication and / or remedy The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)