The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to spend hours and hours staring at their mirrored image in video conference calls. The result? “Zoom dysmorphia”.
This name was given by the dermatologist and Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Shadi Kourosh, has noticed an increase in appointment requests for appearance-related issues during the pandemic.
After a year and a half of remote meetings and seeing their faces on screen people have become more aware of their physical features perceived as flawed. Usually, they don’t realize their faces are being distorted by the front-facing webcam.
It’s the same principle as selfies the closer you are to the camera the more distorted the image will appear.
The result of this self-criticism is a form of body dysmorphia, something similar to body dysmorphic disorder, leading to a desire to seek cosmetic surgery.
What is body dysmorphia?
It’s a mental health disorder. People who are diagnosed with body dysmorphia expresses an obsession over minimal, or inexistent imperfections in their appearance.
This constant worrying about their physical appearance may lead to significant psychological distress and the need to achieve perfection through plastic surgery intervention.
Patients with this disorder are commonly unhappy with the postoperative results of their intervention.
Obviously, quarantine, being surrounded by mirrors and spending more time than usual on social media and video conference calls can act as triggers for body dysmorphia.
Post pandemic surgeries
During the summer of 2021 consultations for cosmetic procedures such as Botox, injectable fillers, and chemical peels skyrocketed and now with the return to in-person interaction, consultation requests for cosmetic procedures aren’t slowing down.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that “with the switch to online work and meetings, many people went from only looking at themselves while washing their hands during bathroom breaks to suddenly staring at their image on a screen for hours each day.”
In a survey, 86% of certified dermatologists said that their patients cited video-conferencing calls as a reason for plastic surgery intervention.
The most requested post-Covid-19 surgeries are focused on the face: rhinoplasty, chin augmentation, lip lift, and eyelid surgery. The reason is simple “When sitting before a laptop’s front-facing camera, the nose can appear larger and wider, for example, while the eyes can appear smaller, she said”- Said Kourosh.