For the aesthetically insecure, the self-loathing, or just the masses of us who don’t like something about our faces, this time of universal mask-wearing offers a silver lining: Strangers can’t see the bumps on our nose, our lopsided smiles, or the mole we got teased about in second grade.
The downside: About the only thing left to look at is our eyes. And we spend a lot more time scrunching them up, wrinkles and all, as we try to squint friendly vibes to passers-by who don’t know we’re smiling.
And thus the year of Covid is also the year of more plastic surgery around the eyes, according to Navin Singh, a DC-area plastic surgeon. He’s seen a 15-to-20 percent increase in patients asking for eyelid lifts or Botox around the eyes. “That’s obviously what’s exposed and has become the focus for a lot of patients,” he says. “They’re being more expressive with their eyes to communicate.”
Singh was initially surprised by the volume—he thought the pandemic would make people more hesitant to spend money, a la the 2008 financial crisis. “I thought we would see the bottom fall out of cosmetic surgery,” he says, “but not only has it been constant, it’s been an uptick.”
Not only are more folks requesting Botox around the eyes, but they’re also asking for higher and more frequent doses, says Singh. That’s in contrast to procedures targeted to the lower, mask-covered portion of the face, such as lip plumpers and facial fillers, which Singh says have been in less demand than usual.
Justin Cohen, a DC plastic surgeon, has seen a general uptick in requests for work, and that includes eye-specific procedures. Part of that can be attributed to the “Zoom gloom,” he says: “[Patients will say] ‘I‘ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and I’ve been doing all these Zoom calls and all I see is the tiredness in my eyes. And then when I go and meet someone, I have a mask on, so it’s further highlighted.’ “
And if your eyes were something that bothered you before, they’ll definitely bother you now, says Cohen: “Everything that people are not liking about their eyes is now further highlighted by the fact that that’s all they’re presenting.”
It also doesn’t hurt that people may be working from home, and may have a slower schedule that allows time to recover from a surgery like an eyelid lift. “For some of these individuals, they’ve been on a treadmill this whole time, never had downtime, with work obligations and travel obligations or social obligations,” says Singh. “Well, right now is a good time for downtime.”