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Note: This article presents a purely editorial point of view. Entrepreneur does not endorse any specific medical or cosmetic procedure.
The unprecedented scale and speed of this pandemic has triggered the worst macroeconomic shock since the Great Depression. But as with all recessions, some industry sectors will weather the storm, mainly due to their ability to look further down the road. It’s an approach that’s as important today as it was in the 1930s.
Movie-theater revenue, for instance, took a nosedive during the Great Depression. But by introducing special offers, such as a two-feature bill and “dish night” (where female customers received a free plate), theaters across country urvived. Similarly, as Covid-related lockdowns took hold, Netflix introduced free content to lure new subscribers, a decision that was arguably partly responsible for the company’s substantial increase in uptake figures over the first three quarters of 2020.
Netflix’s success exemplifies how tech and ecommerce companies are flourishing during the pandemic, but that itself has led to gains in a less predictable sector: cosmetic surgery. A June 2020 study by Stanford University found that 42% of full-time workers were doing their jobs from home, and that more than half of that group was comprised of management, professional or financial sector workers. The survey concludes that it is the “more educated, higher-earning employees that are far more likely to work from home and will continue to develop skills and advance their careers.” The common denominator among this cohort? Video communications. And with that development, lots of literal self-reflection.
Zoom Boomers Come Face to Face With Their Fears
Virtual meetings may keep workers safe by providing the ultimate accomodation to social distancing, but the flip side is the emergence of videoconference anxiety. As more people come face to face with their onscreen selves, many are unhappy with what they see.
This is exacerbated by the proliferation of high-res web cameras. The webcam first arrived with maximum recording resolution of 320 horizontal by 240 vertical lines of pixels and was only able to display 16 shades of gray. Since then, the webcam has made leaps and bounds in resolution quality. Even built-in webcams to laptops and phones feature some of the highest-quality recording resolutions. Today, the cheapest webcam offers 720p resolution of 1280 horizontal by 720 vertical lines of pixels, while the higher-end HD webcams that are becoming standard have 1920 horizontal by 1,080 vertical lines of pixel recording resolution. As more devices continue to include the highest quality webcam, every wrinkle shows up on every Zoom call.
A recently published survey in the journal Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine revealed that 40.6% of participants who had not previously undergone facial cosmetic treatments plan to address their concerns, and that “as many as 55% of respondents expressed an increased anxiety and self-consciousness about facial appearance,” according to research author Dr. Steven H. Dayan.
In a recent interview with Entrepreneur, Dyan expained that, “The main areas of concern are the angle and sizes of noses, forehead and Glabellar wrinkles and double chins.” While these are all areas covered by the more traditional aspects of facial surgery, the noteworthy part of the study is the interest in correcting smaller-scale problems such as acne breakouts, dark under-eye circles, crow’s feet and skin texture. These oncerns can all be treated with non-invasive surgical procedures including injection of neurotoxins (Botox), fillers and laser treatments, all of which are at the forefront of aesthetic medicine.
And for those who remain hesitant about going in-person to a doctor’s office for a procedure, Dr. Dayan argues that aesthetic-surgery professionals are just as cautions as frontline workers and take precautionary measures including regular rapid testing and the use of face shields and masks.
Breakthrough in Blind Trials
While this particular increased interest in non-invasive procedures may have come about due to the pandemic, Dr. Dayan predicted an upsurge in aesthetic procedures some time ago. The Chicago-based, double board certified surgeon and best-selling gave a keynote speech at a 2019 industry convention in Paris in which he highlighted breakthroughs in double-blind placebo randomized controlled trials that confirmed positive benefits of aesthetic treatments such as Botox on mood.
And Dr. Dayan says he has forthcoming research that will further support these findings and suggest that aesthetic surgery may be the perfect antidote to those suffering from video-conferencing anxiety during Covid isolation and beyond. “Conventional wisdom paints [plastic surgeons] as purveyors of beauty for the vanity challenged,” he says. “But aesthetic procedures enhance mood and self-esteem.”
The future of aesthetics, Dr. Dayan explains, “is not to make people look beautiful, but feel beautiful; that’s a message of empowerment, not vanity.’’
If, as many predict, work-from-home continues to be the norm even after we resume our outgoing lives, there may be plenty more patients willing to test the full range of Dr. Dayan’s findings and cosmetic surgery’s potential for themselves.