Noticing trends: increased interest in cosmetic surgeries during lockdown
It has been noted that many people are wanting to emerge from lockdown as the best version of themselves. Given the extra time people have gained for self-care, reflection on what people want and what they find important, increased time spent staring at their own faces during virtual meetings, in addition to saving money (for those fortunate enough to have retained their jobs during the pandemic) whilst being at home for most of the past 12 months, this has given rise to an increased interest in cosmetic procedures.
Cosmetic plastic surgery, in which someone changes their appearance for aesthetic purposes rather than for medical reasons, includes non-invasive procedures, such as Botox and lip fillers, to invasive procedures, such as rhinoplasty and facelifts1.
Plastic surgeons and cosmetic doctors around the world have disclosed that following the implementation of lockdown, bookings for both non-surgical and surgical treatments alike have seen a sharp uptick. Despite the virus shutting down businesses globally, a number of plastic surgery clinics have remained open, adopting stricter measures such as implementing and demanding Covid-19 tests and more frequent cleaning. Rather than seeing a decrease, the opposite has been observed – the industry has thrived. There has been an influx of new patients who had never before undergone a cosmetic procedure. Surgical and non-surgical procedures are highly sought-after – with rhinoplasty, facelifts, fillers and Botox being the most popular – but there has been a notable rise in surgical procedures.
During this time, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reports that its doctors were seeing up to 70% increases in requests for virtual consultations2, as patients continued to consider treatments they could get once they were able to see their surgeon in person again. Double the amount of usual enquiries were received at London-based Cadogan Clinic3 for surgical procedures in comparison with this time last year. Interest in rhinoplasty went up by 20% at the onset of the pandemic and continued to increase, with labiaplasty, liposuction, blepharoplasty and mini facelifts having been noted as the most sought after treatments. This increase has been observed predominantly in women, as the number of enquiring about and receiving elective procedures is the same as it was pre-lockdown.
In a similar vein, a recent survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons gathered that 64% of its doctors had seen a rise in virtual consultations since the outbreak of Covid-194. Dr Rod J Rohrich, a cosmetic surgeon based in Texas, informed the BBC that he was seeing more patients than normal, alluding to the fact that they could increase their workload up to six days a week rather than the usual five due to the extra demand5.
People have had more time on their hands, they’re spending more time in front of the mirror or on themselves, and in doing so they have become more critical. Social pressure to come out of the pandemic as an improved version of oneself has resulted in stigma for those who haven’t utilised the time for self-improvement. With social media providing messages about being productive, getting in shape and starting a side-business, people have been turning to cosmetic surgery for betterment.
However, the pandemic has offered up the unique opportunity that people can heal at home in peace without having to go out in public showing any bruising and swelling etc that can come with surgery. People can elect to have the camera switched off during Zoom calls, so no one needs to know – surgeries can be done discreetly. Working from home also provides much-needed down-time post-surgery, where the busy, chaotic and stressful commuting life and in-office working, running across the city to various meetings is a thing of the past.
The combination of having more time, more money, and being able to heal at home in peace has therefore resulted in more people seeking out elective surgeries and tweakments as a result of lockdown.