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COVID-19 and Cosmetics: How the Pandemic is Reshaping Cosmetic Surgery

The beauty and cosmetology industries have survived the world’s darkest economic periods, including the 2008 recession. Despite hard times, people turn to things of beauty to lift their spirits, so much so that Leonard Lauder, the chairman of cosmetics firm Estée Lauder, coined the term “Lipstick Index” to describe the rise in lipstick sales — a small token of luxury and empowerment — during economic distress.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a different kind of economic downturn. Quarantine limits mobility, so people can’t simply leave their homes to go to clinics for beauty treatments.

In the face of these challenges, however, people resolutely aim for the best versions of themselves. Cosmetic surgeons say that they have seen more clients now than before COVID-19. It goes to show that people never stop investing in themselves.

Despite the hardships we endure, we are determined to always put our best foot forward. This sets the tone for the future of cosmetic surgeries in a post-pandemic world. These procedures, which uplift the spirit, will not only survive, but will also thrive.

The Perks of Stay-at-Home Orders

Many of our colleagues who work in plastic surgery and cosmetic enhancement say that, because of stay-at-home orders, they see more new clients now than they did before; patients can privately recover without having to show the effects of a procedure.

Before the pandemic, one of the biggest concerns amongst patients (including our own) was recovery. After all, no one wants to show up at work with the swelling and redness that may come with cosmetic surgery.

woman getting a facial treatment

However, the outbreak forced millions of Americans to work from home. About one-third of Americans now work remotely. Plus, quarantine protocols have discouraged non-essential travel. This means there are fewer nights out and brunch dates with friends, and it also means that work is limited to Zoom meetings, email conversations, and chat messaging.

In social isolation, patients see fewer people, and this is the perfect opportunity to get a procedure done.

A survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reflects this openness to cosmetic procedures. According to the study, 49 percent of respondents who haven’t undergone any plastic surgery procedure claim that they’re open to having one in the future.

Some procedures are more popular than others, however. Fifty-five percent of plastic surgeons across the US say Botox injections were the most sought-after treatment during the stay-at-home order. Other popular procedures include brow lifts, eyelid lifts, and neck lifts.

Recovering from Home

The usual side effects of cosmetic procedures are noticeable in broad daylight. But when you’re in the safety of your own home, you are able to go through the recovery process without having to show them to anyone.

What about online meetings? Well, participants always have the option to turn off their cameras. They can also call from their phone and say their cameras aren’t working.

Mask protocols in public spaces make it easier to hide the signs of recovery. With half your face hidden behind the fabric, no one would see the marks of a cosmetic procedure.

Thus, you emerge from social isolation fresher, younger, and more beautiful.

Cosmetic Surgery Around the World

It’s not just American cosmetic surgeons who are seeing more patients during the outbreak. Patients all over the world are taking advantage of stay-at-home policies for their private recoveries.

South Korea

The BBC reports that doctors in South Korea also welcome more local clients. There, patients feel safe and comfortable despite COVID-19, so much so that some clinics welcome more patients today than they did last year.

They’re also entertaining a lot more online inquiries from foreign patients, who are preparing for a trip once travel restrictions have been lifted.


Japan also saw a huge spike in patients seeking cosmetic treatments. Before the pandemic, reservations increased by the end of January because of the start of a two-month university break before the next academic year begins.

Japan’s Association of Aesthetic Medicine had to warn people to table these procedures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Why are there more people looking for cosmetic procedures in South Korea and Japan? Their reasons are similar to those here in America: staying at home and wearing masks can easily hide swelling, bruising, and other effects of facial procedures.

Confidence in the Face of Uncertainty

It may seem confusing to some that people still opt for cosmetic procedures during an outbreak. But we understand it completely.woman touching her face

Since the beginning, cosmetic procedures have instilled a newfound sense of confidence in patients. When they leave our clinic, they feel more assured of themselves — they feel better about their appearance. During times like these, it is important that people feel good about themselves.

What’s more, before the pandemic, people didn’t see their own faces during face-to-face conversations with co-workers, friends, and family. Now, whenever they call someone, their own face stares back at them. This could trigger self-esteem issues; these small insecurities can impact your work performance and personal life.

It’s perfectly all right to want to feel presentable and well-groomed. It motivates you to be more productive, makes you feel proud of your work, and compels you to elevate your performance at work.

Post-COVID-19 Outlook

Cosmetic procedures are more popular than ever, but the fever isn’t going anywhere, even when the outbreak abates. InStyle even says that some cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons are booked well into the fall of 2020.

That said, medical professionals do not let their guard down when it comes to reopening their clinics.

Our clinic, for example, strictly follows the guidelines set by the ASPS, especially:

  • Reviewing patient flow plans to adhere to social distancing
  • Reassessing cleaning protocols and sterilization of our clinic
  • Training our staff to uphold sanitation measures

Moreover, consultations for these procedures will largely be virtual after the pandemic.

Telemedicine has increased dramatically since the lockdown. The ASPS says that 64 percent of cosmetic surgeons have held more telemedicine consultations compared to pre-pandemic figures. And with more patients and medical institutions embracing telehealth, we can safely assume that these numbers would soar even after social isolation has been lifted.

The pandemic has changed the way many medical institutions operate, including cosmetic surgery clinics. During these uncertain times, people are looking for things that will make them feel more secure about themselves. Since cosmetic procedures have a huge impact on a person’s self-image, it’s one of the things people turn to as a way to brave the difficult times ahead.

To learn more about our cosmetic procedures, get in touch with us today.

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