Chances are that you recently participated in a ZOOM meeting and, unless you’re under the age of 40—or maybe even younger–as you were forced to stare at yourself on the screen, you were horrified by what you were seeing. Or worse, you may have been both horrified and embarrassed, worrying that your colleagues were seeing the same deep lines and sags that you yourself found so distressing. What’s more, if you, like so many people, are in a youth-oriented field, you may have worried that this could cost you your job. For these people, the cosmetic surgery that they’re opting for is considered an investment in their career.
Welcome to the pandemic work practices! Your webcam is your enemy, deepening every line and shadow that you try so hard to soften in real life. When a vanity filter is not enough to smooth out the lines, your cosmetic surgeon is your friend. This is what an unprecedented number of people have discovered in this past year and they have flocked to have cosmetic procedures at a rate rarely seen before. We’re not talking about celebrities, but about our friends and neighbors.
DiAnne Davis, a board-certified dermatologist in Dallas, states, “When we opened back up in May, people were beating down the doors to get in.” The procedures that are most in demand are chemical peels, fillers, botox, arm liposuction, and cellulite treatments.
Even if ZOOM meetings are not in your daily schedule, chances are that you’re still working remotely for now, and you probably have been for the past year. Remote working is the other major reason that has led to this phenomenal increase in cosmetic procedures—especially for those that are more invasive, complicated or that require a considerable time to heal, such as facelifts. Whereas before it might have been difficult to take three or four weeks off from your in-person job in order to recover in privacy, if you’re working remotely this is not a problem. Some people have gone in for a full load of nips and tucks.
“Shealyn Hernandez, 33…had been saving up for her ‘full mommy makeover’—breast augmentation, lipo, muscle repair, tummy tuck—but she finally pulled the trigger this fall because she knew she’d be able to convalesce at home.” Shealyn adds that, “Before, I would have had to take time off from my job…Now it’s like, I’m not going to my job anyway….”. Shealyn, like thousands of others, didn’t have to wait to collect her vacation time and then waste it holed up while she healed from all this plastic surgery. As for the surgeons, whereas before their busy periods were pretty much seasonal, coinciding with vacation times, this past year they have had a steady stream of clients. And we should note that it’s not that people like Shealyn have money to burn, but because in most cases they have saved up for a long period of time in order to be able to afford such procedures.
Now that we’re on the cusp of getting back to normal from our year of Covid jail, we can look back and make sense of our unprecedented experiences. Strangely, the pandemic provided incentives for makeovers and self-improvement. ZOOM meetings weren’t the only trigger to the rush for makeovers: gyms were closed, facials, manicures, pedicures and massages weren’t possible; even getting your hair colored had to be put off since salons were closed.
There was also very little other entertainment, novelty and excitement in our lives. In short, normal self-care and pampering were off limits for more than a year and what this lack of pampering led to is a boom in plastic surgery.
A change in our appearance provided a temporary rush that we were missing from other activities and perhaps a break from the depressing conditions imposed by the pandemic. And let’s not forget that because 2020 was one of the most difficult years for us to live through, all that worry and stress took a real toll on our appearance. I’ve lost track of how many times someone has told me recently that they feel that they’ve aged a decade in a year.
Mental health has never been as important as it is was when we struggled with isolation and fear– and continues to be now as we flail our way back to normality– and getting rid of a few wrinkles may have helped you get through it. That is, if you are one of the many people who are not averse to plastic surgery on principle, and you are indeed inclined to go that route.
Improving our appearance also implicitly expresses the hope that we will return to normal life putting our best face forward with confidence. Apparently, thousands of people believe precisely that.