The recent uptick in cosmetic procedures has taken many people, including experts in the field, by surprise.

When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, many aesthetic offices shut down for a time, and some felt it was necessary to cancel elective procedures and surgeries. It left many in the aesthetic industry wondering when they would recover.

With facial masks being the new normal, you’d think people would say, “Let’s take a break from Botox and forget the fillers!” After all, the majority of our face is hidden in public. However, just the opposite effect is happening…

Cosmetic Surgery On the Rise

More people than ever are heading to their plastic surgeon’s and dermatologist’s office for a tweak here and there. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), an estimated 18.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2019. And while it’s still too early to know how many have been performed in 2020, ASPS reports 64% of plastic surgeons had seen an increase in their patient consultations.

Dr. Matt Avram, a board-certified dermatologist in Boston, Massachusetts, says he contributes the rise in aesthetic procedures to online business meetings such as Zoom, and more time on social media.

And on the West Coast, Dr. Arisa Ortiz, a board-certified dermatologist in San Diego, California, says she has seen a rush of cosmetic patients wanting procedures.

Dr. Arisa Ortiz

“Many patients have more time because they are staying home and not traveling; they are having procedures done that they were previously putting off,” says Ortiz.

How Our Online Presence Affects How We See Ourselves

What is it about looking at ourselves on camera that makes us long for self-improvement? Is it the lousy lighting or maybe the computer camera’s severe angle that emphasizes the neck, jawline, and wrinkles?

If you’ve ever had to prepare for an online meeting, you know it’s not as easy as you think to look good on-camera. And if you’re like most of us, you’ve probably spent an embarrassing amount of time carrying your computer around the house looking for the most flattering light. When you finally get the perfect lighting, the angles are all wrong, and you end up stacking your computer on top of anything and everything on hand. (A downward camera angle is much more forgiving, in case you didn’t know.)

When you repeatedly see yourself on camera, you also begin noticing more about your facial features. “When did my jawline start sagging?” asks Erica, a sales representative in South Florida, who’s been working from home since the pandemic began. Erica says she’s on Zoom almost daily, and while she’s used to the way she looks now, at first, Erica was shocked at how much she’d aged. “I see wrinkles and sagging around my neck and jaw, and I never realized before that I have jowls!”

Dr. Ortiz

“That is the number one complaint I hear daily,” says Ortiz. “Patients are staring at themselves on Zoom and want to improve their appearance. They are noticing things on camera that they haven’t noticed in the past. Facial skin tightening is a common procedure sought out as a result of this Zoom Boom.”

Emphasis On The Face

Working more from home and spending more time on social media sites like FaceTime to catch up with friends and family is the new normal. Avram says he has seen a significant increase in facial procedures this Fall. “People are focused on facial treatments more than ever,” says Avram. The term “Zoom Boom” has definitely caught on.

Erica, the sales rep, has subsequently made an appointment for non-invasive skin tightening before the end of the year. She says it’s the perfect time to do something. “By the time the pandemic is over, I’ll look ten years younger!” jokes Erica.

Avram says he hears every day from patients who are unhappy with their facial appearance after being on Zoom and social media. “In particular,” Avram says, “they are noticing lines and skin laxity.”

Most Popular Facial Procedures

  • This past June, ASPS reported that Botox injections were the most requested cosmetic treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Botox, otherwise known as neurotoxin injections, will temporarily prevent the appearance of lines and wrinkles by paralyzing your facial muscles, typically on the forehead and around your crow’s feet. Other brand names for neurotoxins include Dysport, Xeomin, and the newest FDA-approved product called, Jeuveau.
  • In addition to wrinkles, other popular procedures include non-surgical full face treatments. Any area where you notice sagging, drooping, or crepey skin could be good areas for wrinkles reduction with energy-based devices. One of the newest devices is called Sofwave, which uses ultrasound technology to stimulate collagen under the skin.


The American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS) says, fortunately, these non-invasive procedures can post-pone the need for a surgical facelift for many patients. ASLMS points out that using injectables combined with an energy-based treatment will provide patients “a more immediate and satisfying result.”

At-Home Recovery

One reason for the increase in facial procedures is that it’s easier to stay home and recover without anyone noticing. Wearing masks and social distancing have paved the road for recovering both in private and in public. We can put on our masks in public, and no one will ever know we just had something done.

Dr. Ortiz

“Even though patients are wearing masks, which cover their face the majority of the time, they still have procedures done. This is a testament to the fact that patients have procedures done to make themselves feel better, not for anyone else,” explains Dr. Ortiz.


  • "ASPS Predicts New Industry Trends Amidst COVID-19 Reopenings", June 25, 2020, American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • "Skin Tightening", MARCH 3, 2016, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery

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