Zoom fatigue is a part of our everyday vernacular now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our lives into the digital realm, and it’s had an unforeseen impact on our self-esteem. Staring at our own faces all day — during work meetings, online friend gatherings and on social media — has taken a toll on our self-image.
But there’s a temporary solution on the market that doesn’t require going under the knife: fillers and injectables. Most commonly associated with the Kardashian-Jenner family thanks to their trademark pouts, the world of fillers is a lot broader than what we see in celebrity culture. They are aimed at restoring lost volume, smoothing out lines and wrinkles, and enhancing facial contours.
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Psychologists are finding clients becoming more preoccupied with their looks because of Zoom, often fixing their appearances, camera lighting and angles, or comparing themselves to others during a call. Prolonged preoccupation with our appearances can actually cause our senses of how we look to become completely distorted. The rate of individuals seeking these kinds of surgeries has steadily gone up since the mid-1990s, thanks, in part, to the effects of Instagram and Snapchat filters distorting what is considered beautiful.
With everyone spending so much time on camera on various online platforms, people may be seeing things perhaps they hadn’t noticed before
Fortunately, there are many ways to “try out” face alterations in ways that don’t necessarily change, but enhance natural beauty. This is where cosmetic and medical dermatologists come into play — dermatologists like Dr. Katie Beleznay, who is a clinical instructor in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Dermatology.
She and her colleagues have noticed what they call a “Zoom Boom” in people seeking cosmetic procedures.
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“With everyone spending so much time on camera on various online platforms, people may be seeing things perhaps they hadn’t noticed before,” she says, “The increased focus on our faces via online platforms likely has contributed to greater interest in certain procedures.”
Strapped with more than a decade of medical training in dermatology, with specific knowledge in filler injection techniques and potential complications, Beleznay clarifies what a potential client can expect when getting fillers.
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Are you a good candidate for fillers?
The best candidates for fillers, Beleznay says, are those who are experiencing loss of volume in their face, either through age or genetics. Others may consider filler for enhancement (like lip injections), or facial symmetry and shape. A proper assessment is definitely required to make sure you’re a good candidate for the procedure.
There are those individuals that Beleznay recommends to wait on a procedure. She advises pregnant women to wait until after birth to get fillers, given a lack of research on the potential impact. Similarly, anyone who’s had procedures that could stimulate an immune response, like dental work, should wait a couple of weeks before getting fillers.
Related: Why Covid-19 could end Botox.
What to expect at your consultation
Your dermatologist will likely start out by asking you about your main concerns and wishes.
“For some, they want to look less tired, for others it’s dealing with frown lines or sagging skin,” Beleznay says. “We explore these concerns and review different treatment options to help them achieve their goals.”
At a consult, you’ll make a comprehensive, individualized plan and review with your dermatologist the priorities and treatments to consider down the road. Expect to be asked about your history with cosmetic treatments and fillers, and how you felt about them.
Some people return to work or other activities immediately while others prefer to give it a few days in case of bruising
Preparing for your appointment
“In the days leading up to treatment and for a few days afterwards, it is best to avoid alcohol and taking aspirin, ibuprofen or blood thinners if not necessary for medical reasons,” she says. “Your blood’s ability to clot can be compromised and your risk of bruising increases.”
With some procedures, you may also need to skip your daily exercise routine for a day or two, if it follows soon after the procedure.
She also recommends avoiding supplements like vitamin E and fish oil, as they can also increase bruising, but advises making a list of questions to bring to your provider at your consultation.
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What to expect after your appointment
Downtime with fillers is relatively minimal, Beleznay says, but swelling or bruising, and some soreness, is to be expected.
“Some people return to work or other activities immediately while others prefer to give it a few days in case of bruising and swelling,” she says. “This risk can be higher in certain locations like when we treat the under eye hollows or lips.”
Are there any risks involved?
As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved when getting fillers. Risks with getting fillers, she says, can be serious, including skin necrosis and, very rarely, blindness. While complications can happen to anyone, there are differences in skill levels and experience that can influence outcomes. With certain injections, such as around eyes, there have also been some reports of droopy eyelids due to potential leaking out to surrounding muscle tissue, though this remains uncommon.
“Ultimately, it’s important to see an expert who is trained in both injection technique and anatomy,” Beleznay says, adding, “[that the expert] knows how to treat and manage complications should they arise, and, of course, is someone you trust.”
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