Will Web Conferencing Usher in a New Era of Plastic Surgery?
If you've been following plastic surgery trends, you may have already heard of Snapchat Dysmorphia, the condition that causes people to compare their actual appearance to the appearance they achieve using filters on social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram. But now, a new trend has emerged from the use of technology, and this time it's hitting a little closer to home.
This spring, as millions of Americans were sent home from their offices to work in quarantine due to COVID-19, collaboration via web-conference apps like Zoom became the new normal. Unfortunately, some people didn't like what they saw. Zoom is one of many different web-conferencing apps that let multiple people video chat and collaborate online together. But unfortunately, while these video-conferencing apps are useful for business, they aren't always great for self-esteem. That's because many cameras are fuzzy, low quality, or even have that "fisheye" look that makes users' faces look warped. Plus, because of the perspective of the camera, facial features like the nose often look bigger on web conference than they do in real life.
"Essentially, people are looking at their appearance on webcam conferences and they're not happy with what they're seeing," says Dr. Ryan Mitchell, a plastic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada.
But why are people so concerned with what their co-workers see? After all, in many cases they saw many of these same people far more frequently before the quarantine began.
"While it's true that many people are seeing the same teams they worked in-office with, what they weren't seeing before is their own face during a meeting," Mitchell says. "It's essentially like looking in a mirror for your entire meeting.
"If you have lots of daily Zoom meetings or long meetings, it can be hard to not focus on your own appearance while you're on-screen."
So, what can you do if you find yourself scrutinizing your own face while you're supposed to be team building? In many places, not much. With many areas still on mandatory quarantine, undergoing plastic surgery procedures or even getting Botox or fillers is not possible, but Mitchell says it gives patients time to really think about what they want to change.
"Take this time to really understand what it is that you like and don't like about your appearance, and take some notes," he says. "When surgeons' offices start to reopen, if you're still interested in making some changes, you'll be better equipped to articulate what it is you like and what it is you don't like, and you can go from there."
As for how to get through your meetings without being too tough on your own appearance, Mitchell says to remember that we're all in this together.
"Most people are probably not fixated on your flaws when you present online," he says. "They are either hopefully listening to you present information, or unfortunately they are probably scrutinizing their own appearance."