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Facial Procedures Boom During COVID-19


The pandemic has ushered in an unexpected rise in facial procedures, for the eyes and other areas of the face covered by a mask.

The pandemic Zoom era has ushered in an unexpected rise in cosmetic procedures for the face, while mandatory mask-wearing has put an additional focus on eye rejuvenation, say experts.
“With elective surgeries and procedures resuming in most states, facial plastic surgeons are seeing more eye-related consultations for patients in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and older,” says Mary Lynn Moran, MD, president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). “Many patients of any age hope to correct dark circles or under-eye bags as examples, and now have more time to recover while working at home due to COVID-19.”

Dark circles, crow’s feet, bags, and swelling can make the eyes look tired, or years older than a patient’s actual age, and the AAFPRS reports that the recent boom in eye-related patient concerns can be treated with a multitude of options, both surgical and nonsurgical, including:

  • Fillers for dark circles
  • Botulinum toxin to lift the eyelid
  • Non-ablative fractional laser for collagen growth
  • Microdermabrasion to smooth crow’s feet.
  • Chemical peels to boost collagen
  • Autologous fat transfer

Despite the pervasiveness of mask wearing, however, it’s not just about the eyes.

“Once our moratorium on surgery was lifted by the state of Tennessee, we have seen an explosion in demand for surgery for facelifts, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, otoplasty...all of the facial plastic procedures,” says Phillip R. Langsdon, MD, facial plastic surgeon, Immediate Past President, AAFPRS.

Joe Niamtu, III, DMD, has found the same in his practice. Patients aren’t only focusing on procedures for above the mask, as he initially expected.

“I was thinking, ok, everybody’s wearing masks, so lip fillers and facelifts aren’t going to be popular because all you see is the eyes,” Dr. Niamtu told Aesthetic Authority in a recent video interview. “My blepharoplasty practice is going to boom, and the others are going to fall. It didn’t happen that way at all, it’s across the board busy.”

Dr. Langsdon suggests the reason may be that many patients are taking advantage of working from home. They’re able to recover without taking time off or missing meetings.

“Many more people are coming in for rhinoplasty and facelift [procedures],” says Dr. Langsdon. “I think the big driver on the overall increase in facial aesthetic surgical demand is that people may be taking advantage of the time away from peers at work or friends in social activities so they can recover without anyone being aware [of] temporary surgical healing.”

No matter the reasons, the steady stream of patients seeking out facial procedures is unexpected but welcome during the COVID-19 pandemic for many aesthetic practices.

“As much as some people are really hurting through all this, and I don’t want to underplay that, I feel very fortunate that our specialty is able to stay strong,” says Dr. Niamtu. “There’s a lot of people that have expendable income because they canceled their trip to the Bahamas, they canceled their high school reunion… so people have money that they’re not spending on other things so they’re taking [it] and investing in their aesthetics.”

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