The Zoom Effect: Medical Professionals Share Clients Trends of 2020

by Massimo Barnett
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The adjustments put in place by the events of this year has made 2020 the year of digital consumption. With people working from home, avoiding excess face to face social interaction has shot online engagement through the roof. Perpetual online Zoom meetings, more time to browse socials like Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube. How has this increased online presence affected the cosmetic procedure industry in 2020? We reached out to five top medical professionals to chime in on the matter.    

Dr. Lawrence S. Bass – New York, NY – is a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder and medical director of Bass Plastic Surgery. His practice is focused on comprehensive care, both surgical and non-surgical, of the aging face to prevent, restore, and maintain a youthful appearance. This includes facelift, neck lift, blepharoplasty, Botox, injectable fillers, and energy-based devices for wrinkles and skin tightening. His research over the past 25 years has included pioneering work on some of the most sought after treatments on the market today.

According to Dr. Bass, there are three main notable trends of this year. “Everyone is very stressed and this shows on the face big time,” says Bass.  He expands: “1) Anything that shows above the mask is a mainline thing to chase right now – Botox, lower lid fillers, blepharoplasty are all must-haves.  2) Those Zoom and Facetime meetings – where you’re unmasked – show the jowls, jawline, and neck unfavorably to say the least.”  Many people are forced to stare at themselves, through these online meetings which used to take place in mirrorless environments. Finally, he adds  “3) Since so many people are working remotely, it’s become much easier to recover from that aesthetic surgery you wanted for years but could never squeeze into your work, social and travel schedule.” Dr. Bass also notes that people have more time on their hands now working from home, thus online social media consumption has gone up with people “now searching the internet and viewing social media on cosmetic procedures in unprecedented numbers”.

Dr. N. Bill Aydin – White Plains, NY – is a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Aydin Plastic Surgery. They provide medical techniques intended to enhance physical appearance for cosmetic and reconstructive purposes. At Aydin Plastic Surgery they believe that artistry plays an important role in plastic surgery. Their aim is to help their patients achieve higher self-esteem and greater confidence.

Dr. Aydin claims that Tummy tucks, Liposuction, Brazilian Butt Lifts, Mommy Makeovers, and Breast Augmentations have been the main cosmetic procedure trends of 2020. Dr. Aydin shares his opinion on how he thinks social media has had an impact on client trends, expressing that “celebrities and social media influencers are showcasing their heavily-edited bodies. Majority of images people see online give the public a false idea of what is achievable with surgery.” It seems that although it is clear that a lot of public figures have had cosmetic surgery, when presented on social media in combination with heavy editing, what is reality becomes deceiving and blurred. “As a double-board certified plastic surgeon it has become my duty to explain to my patients how I can safely achieve their desired look even if they see an influencer with a 20-inch waist,” says Dr. Aydin. 

Dr. Mark Sweeney – Austin, TX – is owner and founder of Austin Dental Spa, a cosmetic and general practice in Austin, Texas, improving the look of Austin for 42 years.  Dr. Mark loves improving Smiles with whitening or veneers, and also specializes in sedation dentistry for those who experience high anxiety around dental visits.  He has been voted Best Dentist and Best Cosmetic Dentist in Austin by the American Statesman readership and is a 15-year Super Dentist in Texas Monthly magazine each year.  

Dr. Sweeney mentions how the weeks where he had to close due to restrictions gave him the chance to “think deeply about all aspects of the practice, what was working and what needed improvement, and strategize a plan upon re-opening.”  Since reopening they have “put in place even more stringent infection-control protocols” that have been working effectively. “We also have seen an uptick in cosmetic procedures, especially whitening and veneer interest, because people had 3-6 months locked down at home to look at themselves in a whole different way and evaluate changes that they wanted to make in lifestyle and appearance,” says Dr. Sweeney.  He too talks about the notable effects of Zoom: “several people have said seeing themselves on Zoom calls stimulated them to want changes to improve their smiles!”

Dr. Raghu Athré – Houston, TX – is a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon, and president and founder of Athré Facial Plastics, a boutique practice focusing on cosmetic surgery and enhancement of the face, neck, eyes, and nose. They specialize in facial rejuvenation procedures such as deep plane facelifts, eyelid lifts, and rhinoplasty procedures. They also offer at-home facials, and post-operative appointments to enhance the customer experience and minimize patient exposure to other patients. 

Dr. Athré recognizes that 2020 has been the year of the “zoom meeting”. “I feel that the Zoom meeting has really given people and patients a more objective view of what their face actually looks like. Most of us spend 5-10 minutes in the morning looking at the mirror as we get ready. However, most of us are now spending 7-8 hours looking at ourselves as we go through the day with online meetings”. He acknowledges how this has increased self analysis of appearances. Dr. Athré mentions how patients are more educated due to increased online research, “it is an interesting paradigm shift.” With 2020 being the year of online consumption “we are more aware of beauty trends and have increased accessibility to searching for potential cosmetic procedures simultaneously.” Dr. Athré confirms an uptick of clients: “I have noticed an increased amount of interest, and an overall increase in the number of patients.

Dr. Benjamin P. Caughlin – Chicago, Il – is a facial plastic surgeon with his practice Many Faces of Chicago. He focuses on safety, results, and enjoyment. He has been called “the facemaker” and “the buccal fat King of the world.” 

Dr. Caughlin says that buccal fat pad and cheek sculpting is their most popular procedure “followed by neck and jawline liposuction to help define the jawline.” He continues saying: “threads are making a big comeback due to their new engineering, relatively low price, and minimal downtime. I have been using threads to help lift the cheeks and brows for a while now but have recently been using them to snatch the jawline which people are essentially knocking down the door.” When asked about his opinion on social media affecting client trends he highlights the importance of balance: “for better or worse it is likely the number one driver of these trends. In one way it can be a good thing because it gets out there the fact that many people are doing these things to change their face. On the other hand, I think it has the potential to add stress to people’s already stressful lives these days.”

The shift to this “new normal” has had an astounding impact on client trends within the cosmetic procedure industry. The “Zoom Effect” has become the new “Selfie Effect”. Additionally enhanced online presence and time at home have opened up more influence and opportunities for self-care. It seems like these new norms put in place will continue informing clients trends with a lasting impact. 

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