The Zoom Boom

Health & Education

This pandemic changed my habits as a consumer. I spent the last year putting off buying cosmetics or clothes (except lounge wear) since there wasn’t anywhere to go or much socializing on my calendar. For the past year that the general population spent in lockdown, industries revolving around going out, clothes, and cosmetics took a hard hit.

However, for plastic surgeons, this wasn’t the case. In fact, they were busier than ever before due to the Zoom Boom.

A survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) found that 49% of those who haven’t had plastic surgery indicated they are open to cosmetic or reconstructive treatment in the near future. ASPS study found that 64% of U.S. plastic surgeons had seen an increase in their telemedicine consultations since before COVID-19 began. Across the pond, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) says its doctors were reporting up to 70% increases in requests for virtual consultations.

It wasn’t just the US and the UK that saw the trends, but most countries around the world. While most businesses were shut down, clinics were allowed to stay open as long as they followed Covid guidelines. Along with the US and the UK, Japan, South Korea and Australia also saw a rise in patients coming in for treatments including lip fillers, botox, face lifts and nose jobs.

And it just makes sense. Lockdown provided the time being at home for popular and pricey skin care treatments, like Botox and dermal fillers. One of the reasons for not getting cosmetic surgery pre-covid was that inability to have downtime to recover, essential for both invasive and non-invasive procedures which often have very visible bruising and discoloration while healing. With lockdown, we had plenty of time spent at home, empty calendars, no socializing, face mandates, and Zoom.

But now that we’re coming out of lockdown, both in the U.S and the UK, will the demand for cosmetic surgery fizzle out?

Most surgeons do not seem to think so. In fact, they’re going to be very busy, and it is now going to be for the opposite reason: people are preparing for the return of face-to-face meetings in both their professional and personal lives.

Clinics are preparing for a busy summery for procedures like injectable facial fillers and body sculpting. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently conducted a survey to show that body procedures, like SmartLipo, BodyTite, and CoolSculpting , are now in demand. Women cited weight fluctuation during quarantine as the main driver for these choices. With money saved for over a year on restaurants, travel, and other leisure expenditures, people are now able to afford these expensive procedures. And in the last year where we spent lockdown focusing on self-care, why wouldn’t you?

The cosmetic surgery market is huge within healthcare. Growing at a rate of 3.1% annually, the US plastic surgery industry was estimated to be worth $17 billion in 2020. In the UK, it is estimated to be £3.6 billion. The market internationally is worth $50 billion, with a projected global valuation of $67 billion by 2026. 

This is a market definitely worth keeping an eye on, especially as cosmetic surgery becomes more socially acceptable and affordable with the help of technology.  

Lockdown and remote work have meant hours of staring at our own faces on video calls – and prompted interest in going under the knife.

By Anusheh Khan on 30/06/2021