CHICAGO — People across the country have spent more time this past year on video conference calls and connecting with friends and family virtually. Staring at your own face on a screen has come a heightened awareness of what we look like. It’s one real reason experts say the pandemic has led to a spike in plastic surgery.
Rachel Marrello had been considering some rejuvenating cosmetic work along her jaw and neck even before the lockdown.
“It started to become really glaring and it really drove me crazy,” she said.
Plastic surgery is seeing a boom as people staring at themselves online are becoming increasingly critical of wrinkles, laugh lines and even facial features.
“I'm always in the picture and haven't figured out how to get rid of it. So yes, absolutely it's been a factor in this,” said Marrello.
“It's a very human phenomenon to kind of compare yourself to others around you,” said Dr. Peter Revenaugh, director of facial, plastic and reconstructive surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “So, now, we're acutely aware on a screen of what our face looks like compared to many of our peers.”
Revenaugh says Zoom and video conferencing is only part of what’s driving pandemic-era plastic surgery interest. And he says it’s not just injectables like Botox.
“It's really anything involving the face, but most often, we're seeing things like eyelid procedures nasal procedures facelift, neck lift.”
Some people he says may have held off on cosmetic procedures due to the significant downtime required post-surgery.
“Recovery time could be a couple of weeks two to three weeks, depending upon the amount of swelling that someone gets,” said Revanaugh.
It’s now becoming easier to accomplish because many like Marrello are spending more time working remotely.
“Not having that downtime played into it and I'm really glad I did because the recovery was much worse than I anticipated,” said Marrello.
Cost may also be a factor. Americans have saved more during the pandemic. In January alone, they put away a massive 20.5 percent of their disposable income, which is twice as much as before the outbreak.
“There's some people who aren't really spending it on other things like travel and things like that and have decided to pursue perhaps a cosmetic procedure,” said Revanaugh.
In a time when staying healthy and safe has become the number one priority for an increasing number of people, self-care and feeling good about oneself is not lagging far behind.
“I'm happy with what I see most of the time,” said Marrello. “I'm happy I did it. It's been a good experience overall.”