The Zoom Boom: How Time On Camera Is Driving An Increase In Cosmetic Procedures

More time on camera has us swapping filters for fillers.


We’ve all noticed the rise of the Instagram face. You know, the one that makes every Insta model or baddie kind of blend into one person. The same small pointy nose, filled lips and high cheekbones have dominated surgical beauty trends over the past couple of years, but now attaining them is usually as easy as finding the right Instagram filter. However, this year, with many of us forced to work from home, more and more of us seem to be turning back to surgery to tweak our appearances. 

Cosmetic surgery clinics have recently reported that the amount of appointments booked after the first lockdown have doubled, with many of these being booked by first time users. The Cadogan Clinic in London experienced a 100% increase in appointments in August and September, and the Harley Academy saw double the amount of bookings in time for December. However, with no Christmas parties on the horizon and social events looking scarce for the near future, it seems a new culprit is behind the boom. 

What is it that’s made us so self conscious this year? The answer, most likely, is Zoom. The video conferencing software has given colleagues and acquaintances an unfiltered view into our homes, and our faces. Sure, we can turn our camera off or change our background, but realistically Zoom and similar programmes such as Google Meets and Microsoft Teams have become a bit of an invasion of privacy. Think: the director who was caught slating a Euphoria star’s apartment after failing to turn his mic off. 

When we’re on these platforms, talking to our colleagues, we worry about how we appear. We’re forced to wake up a little earlier, to put makeup on or style our hair, things we wouldn't always do if we were spending the day at home. But when we were in the office, face to face with our colleagues, did we really care this much? Or have we become hyper conscious of our reflection, sitting in a tiny rectangle on the screen that shows us exactly what we look like when we should be concentrating on our meetings?

The ‘Zoom Boom’ was noticed after the first lockdown, with many patients going under the knife or needle for tiny tweaks to insecurities amplified by time spent on camera. Common treatments included fat freezing for double chins and filler for redefining facial features, sought by many who weren’t used to spending so much time looking at themselves through unflattering camera angles. 

The recent uplift in surgery numbers has some concerned with the effect of the pandemic on people’s mental health, especially for those with Body Dysmorphic Disorders. Dr Chi-Chi Obuaya, a consultant psychiatrist at the Nightingale Hospital  has noticed an increasing number of patients requesting phone consultations, after finding video calls have reinforced negative body image beliefs. 

However, with little sign of returning to work full time for at least a few months, it seems that heightened cortisol levels deepening fine lines and a lack of vitamin D brightening our skin is something we’ll be living with for a little bit longer. The ‘Zoom Boom’ shows no sign of slowing down yet. 

Next up, why being sensitive isn't a bad thing.