Combating the Zoom Effect With Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedures

For the past 12 months our lives have consisted of Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, and an overabundance of visual screen time. While modern technology has made it possible to stay connected, especially during these unprecedented times, it has also created something referred to as the “Zoom effect.”

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And no, we’re not talking about an app or an effect that can be added to TikTok videos in an effort to make the face stand out in a close-up shot. The “Zoom Effect” refers to the dissatisfaction people have with certain aspects of their facial features because of the extended time spent looking at themselves on screen. Things like wrinkles, eye bags, sallow skin, and double chins have all become common complaints. In essence, virtual connections have forced us to critically analyze ourselves way more than we should.

“FaceTime and Zoom have a way of magnifying what you’re looking at,” explains Dr. B. Aviva Preminger, one of New York City’s top plastic surgeons.

As a result, many specialists, including Dr. Preminger, have seen a rise in demand for aesthetic procedures.

“I have seen an increase in new patients who maybe thought they wouldn’t consider doing this before but are now looking at themselves all day, along with an influx of patients of mine who are being vigilant about staying on top of their treatments,” points out Dr. Preminger.

We sat down with the in-demand surgeon to learn about some of the non-invasive procedures in high-demand along with how she is helping patients regain their confidence as they continue to navigate their lives through the virtual lens.

With so much focus on the face, especially the eyes and forehead, how can you help patients achieve a softer look?

I’m doing a lot of Botox, eyelids, fillers, and laser resurfacing. These are all areas that are really being seen and because people are working from home, they have the downtime needed for any type of recovery and there is less worry about sun exposure. Any time we do any kind of skin resurfacing treatment, whether it’s laser or a peel, you want to let the skin recover and keep it out of the sun. Peels and lasers are different technologies but they often work in the same way–to take off the top layer of the skin, which allows for tightening, removal of pigmentation, and to treat fine lines.

I have a new laser in my office called the Deka, which is a fractionated C02 laser. It allows for something called a “cool peel.” Unlike a traditional laser procedure, there is hardly any redness and a lot less downtime. It gives the patient a fully ablative treatment without the heat damage of the surrounding tissue.

When we focus on the eyelids we do something called a blepharoplasty. Some people have upper eyelids that bother them, some have upper and lower [issues]. Often it’s a combination of extra skin that causes the puffiness underneath the eye. I can remove the fat that’s pooching out, and fillers can also be used to fill in an indentation or tear trough in the dark circle area.

As we age, sometimes the position of the brow will start to fall, and what helps many people is doing a lift on the brow and removing the extra tissue on the upper eyelid; it really rejuvenates the upper eyelid area. This can be done through the same upper eyelid incision as the blepharoplasty so it leaves no extra scars.

When can fillers vs. Botox be used on the face?

Botox is a neurotoxin that gets injected to paralyze the muscles and stop motion. The lines we have in our foreheads, the crow’s feet around the eyes, and those 11 lines between the eyes—they’re where we would use Botox.

Filler is a substance used to fill in a crease; in most cases it’s made of hyaluronic acid, which is a substance we have in our bodies but lose as we age. What we’re filling in is with a naturally occurring substance and how effective it’s going to be is dependent on how much of it is used.

Filler works well on areas like the tear trough, the lower eyelid, the nasal labial folds, the smile lines, marionette lines, really any kind of areas with lines that people want filled in.

As we age our faces tend to lose volume. If you look at old photos you’ll notice your face was fuller; even if you weren’t heavy, the face was full. So the other restoring thing filler works really well for is adding more facial volume. It’s not just about filling in but rejuvenating what has been lost.

What are the pros and cons to fillers and Botox?

The good and the bad thing about them is they’re not permanent. It’s good in the sense you can try something, and if you don’t like it, it’ll go away. The downside of it is that it is a continued investment. What I generally tell people is that it’s an investment in themselves.

How long will each typically last?

Botox usually lasts approximately three to six months. As soon as the lines start to come back, some people are in my office, while others do it twice a year. Nothing happens if you wait other than the fact that you go back to your previous state.

When it comes to fillers, some are thicker than others and tend to last longer than fillers that are thinner. Different types of fillers are used in different areas; for example, you’ll want a thinner filler in the lower eyelid. Thinner fillers typically last six to 12 months, and the thicker ones, 12 to 18 months.

There’s been some talk in the news about fillers and the COVID-19 vaccine. Should patients be concerned?

There were some incidents of patients who had fillers in the past and now, after receiving the Moderna vaccine, had a bit of swelling. But it was a very small number with minimal severity and no long-term complications. Anyone who has a history with dermal filler shouldn’t refrain from getting vaccinated, and they should not be afraid of getting fillers if they had, or plan on getting the vaccine according to both the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Academy of Dermatology.

Has skin care become a big issue as a result of wearing a mask?

Skincare has become a really important part of what we’re doing because wearing these masks are causing breakouts and skin irritation. It’s another area people are paying close attention to. They can’t afford to just let these things go now. Don’t neglect an area of the face even if it’s covered up sometimes. Doing so can actually make mask breakouts worse!

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