Highlights from

AAD 2021

American Academy of Dermatology Virtual Meeting Experience 2021

Virtual 23-25 April 2021

The Zoom boom: rise in cosmetic treatment calls

Summary: COVID-19 has not only impacted the healthcare sector; it has also affected the beauty industry. Requests for cosmetic treatment have increased since the start of the lockdown. The use of non-flattering Zoom calls in combination with the selfie culture and social media have resulted in an increased body anxiety image.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an abrupt shift to remote work and video conferencing. Dermatologists have also reported a change with this increased use of video calls. Dr Arianne Kourosh (Harvard Medical School, US) illustrated one of the mental health aspects due to increased use of technology.1 She described a rise in patients with negative self-perceptions, called ‘Zoom dysmorphia’. Dr Kourosh was surprised about the number of enquiries they received: more people asked for cosmetic consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Kourosh explained that the front-facing camera of both our laptop and phone show us at a shorter distance than photos are normally taken on, resulting in a distortion of the face. Some of these distortions in cosmetic complaints matched with the distortions a camera could cause. Poor camera angles and lighting may have an influence too. Additionally, social media apps such as Snapchat and Instagram have released beauty filters that make the skin look flawless. Next to making skin look tanned and airbrushed, eyes can be made wider and lips bigger. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as many more options for photo editing both face and body are possible. Dr Kourosh explained that people showed up at consults asking to make them look like their filtered picture.

Zoom dysmorphia is an important public health issue in women. Dr Kourosh highlighted the importance of being sensitive to it and addressing it. Psychological care, rather than cosmetic interventions, may be a solution.

  1. Kourosh A. Women’s Health Therapeutic Hotline. Session F019. AAD VMX 2021, 23-25 April 2021.

Top image: © kali9

Article image: Geber86

The content and interpretation of these conference highlights are the views and comments of the speakers/authors.