Covid: 'Zoom boom' sees rise in cosmetic treatment calls

By Natasha Livingstone
BBC News

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Cosmetic surgery inquiries are benefitting from a "Zoom boom" during the Covid pandemic, says the industry

Demand for cosmetic treatment has shot up since lockdown in March, according to those in the industry.

Save Face, which represents practitioners, said there had been a jump in email and web inquiries from Wales.

Phone inquiries for neck and face work have leapt from 500 a year to almost 800 - up 57%.

It's been dubbed the "Zoom boom" in the sector because people are using video calls more for work and socialising.

Catherine Dudley-Bacon decided to get treatment to "feel more confident".

Image source, Catherine Dudley-Bacon
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Make-up artist Catherine Dudley-Bacon said video calls made her more aware of her own appearance

The makeup artist from Cardiff now holds video consultations with her clients because of Covid restrictions.

After spending years in the industry focusing on other people's looks, she said she has become more aware of her own appearance after seeing her face every day on Zoom.

"Sometimes as you get older, your lips thin out so I usually like to have filler in the lips, but I prefer the more natural look for myself and the Botox to smooth out the skin," she said.

"People have lost their confidence, unemployment has risen.

"When you feel you look great, I think it oozes in you as a person and if it makes you feel nice, why not have it done?

"When I've had family quiz nights and I've not got a full face of makeup on you are like 'Woah, ok, I am seeing myself on Zoom' and you feel more confident when you have had that work done."

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The industry says it has been "stunned" by the increase in calls for treatments during the pandemic

Annie Cartwright, a practitioner at Skin and Face Clinics in Cardiff, said she was very surprised at the rise in calls for treatments, particularly from first-time clients.

"I guess I thought during the middle of a global pandemic people would have other health issues on their mind - but actually we were really surprised at the number of enquiries we got," she said.

"People mentioned this Zoom phenomenon - being on video calls and conferencing and suddenly realising they looked a certain way.

"Some of these people are not of the selfie generation so they tend to be older professionals and they're not used to seeing themselves on screens and they don't live this virtual life on social media. I think that coupled with poor camera angles and lighting prompted them to make enquires."

Save Face said the rise in enquiries has meant business has been booming for the industry. Waiting lists for some clinics run into December and beyond.

Director Ashton Collins said: "We were stunned actually. We were setting ourselves up for a really quiet few months of not having that many engagements with patients or practitioners.

"Waiting lists are humongous and - like with the last recession - this is one of the industry sectors that is almost recession-proof. The demand is greater than ever."

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