'Zoom dysmorphia' causing more people to consider cosmetic procedures
TORONTO -- Whether it's for work, or to stay connected to family and friends, odds are you've spent a fair amount of time on video conferencing during the pandemic.
"I'm on Zoom calls every day of the week" venture capitalist Yuri Navarro told CTV News Toronto. "I'm doing at minimum three to as many as ten a day."
Navarro, like many people, has worked from home since last year, and in that year he's spent a lot of time staring at himself on screen.
"You definitely do start to pick up on little things," Navarro said. "Like I try not to focus too much on that kind of stuff, but at the end of the day you can't help but notice when you have bags under your eyes."
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and other video conferencing platforms, have become the norm for everything from work meetings, to school classes, to social gatherings.
A study published in the International Journal of Women's Dermatology said that 86.4 per cent of dermatology providers surveyed had noted patients citing video conferencing calls as a reason to seek care.
Dr. Michael Brandt, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in the Greater Toronto Area, said he's noticed the same trend.
"I think inherently it means that people are becoming a bit more hyper focussed on their appearance from spending a really long time looking at themselves on Zoom," Brandt told CTV News Toronto.
Brandt says about 30 per cent of his consultations over the past year have dealt with issues arising from people staring at themselves on screen.
"We're seeing individuals, you know men, who have thought about a hair transplant for a long time and now looking at themselves everyday, they're like you know what, maybe I do want to take that next step.”
Dr. Brandt says from wanting major cosmetic procedures, to Botox, to fixing minor blemishes, people's perception of themselves on camera may actually be skewed.
"Every camera is a little bit different, some of them have a bit of a fish-eye component where things that are closer to the camera appear larger, like your nose or a mole in a particular area can look much bigger than it actually is. And there there's all sorts of issues relative to lighting that can play in to how you might appear on camera."
Dr. Brandt says every consultation with a patient starts with a question about why they want to make changes to their appearance.
"Quite frequently, I will tell people, you don't need a treatment today, you look fantastic and we can always see you at another time for an issue that is a bit more substantive,” he said.
Brandt believes most people are missing real world face-to-face connections, and encourages people to spend more time with family and friends in safe socially distanced settings.
And he said for those who find themselves fixated on the way they look during video conferences, simply turn off the camera.