Dr. Amrendra Kumar director of DERMACLINIX completed his MBBS from PMCH Patna followed by MD (2008 – 2011) in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology from one of the finest and tertiary care hospitals of the country, at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi. He worked as a Senior Resident at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh in the Department of Dermatology and Venereology (2011). He is an expert in Hair transplantation, especially with the FUE method. He has a rare distinction of doing mega sessions and Giga sessions with the FUE method and specialized in body hair transplantation.
The demand for elective cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery is at an all-time high despite the pandemic forcing everyone to stay home. Injectables, lunch hour treatments, and other cosmetic nip and tuck procedures are topping the charts.
The moment we opened the doors again, people were lining up for liposuction, chemical peels, cellulite treatment; the most demanded treatments are lip fillers, facelifts, and skin resurfacing.
But why is cosmetic surgery booming amid lockdown?
The simple reason is, most of us have been staring at our faces for the last two years. Yes, we’re now used to sitting in long video calls all through the day, watching our colleagues gesturing, smiling, and frowning. But we’re also tempted to closely watch ourselves by pinning our own videos to the calls. And let’s admit it, we’re more distracted by the sight of our own faces than by the vendor shouting down the street. People had the chance to scrutinize their faces for long durations during the lockdown and even compare it closely with those who they admired. Is my nose too big? Do my eyebrows need thickening? Is my skin showing signs of aging? Doubts and insecurities are driving people to consult cosmetic surgeons, who are now calling it the ‘Zoom boom’ in their businesses. Also, that most of these surgeries do not require hospitalization is an added incentive – and the post-operative bruising or swelling can be easily concealed with makeup or by simply remaining off the camera for a couple of days.
What is ‘Zoom Boom’ in cosmetic surgery?
It starts with people critically analyzing their appearances during Zoom and other video calls (hence the name ‘Zoom boom’) and concluding that their faces/bodies need cosmetic treatments to look more attractive. It’s the same phenomenon across the world – those of my ilk, cosmetic doctors, and plastic surgeons from the US, the UK, Australia, South Korea, and Japan are reporting a surge in people booking appointments for surgical and non-surgical treatments following the lockdown.
The Lockdown Face Correction is now an actual line of treatment – that includes correcting frown lines, plumping up lips, adjusting the nose, and smoothening crow’s feet. Whether it is rational for us humans to be so obsessed with our appearance is another matter altogether. Still, for the moment, everyone wants to look good in videos, Blogs, and virtual chat rooms.
The changing trend in cosmetic surgery in India
India has been no stranger to Lockdown Face syndrome and plastic surgery treatments have seen a 40 percent rise during the pandemic. Data also points out that working professionals between 25 and 45 years of age are the prime customers. And the numbers are only growing.
Cosmetic surgery is a developing field of medicine in India. Until the late 1990s, and then too, barring a few famous faces, not many opted for corrective plastic surgery just to look good. Even the few cases were those coming to India from foreign shores for medical tourism. But the trend is changing now – during the pandemic, the most requested procedures by the millennials include body contouring and facial rejuvenation procedures.
What is effecting this change? One is the youth’s dependence on social media to validate their ‘beauty’ via likes and comments; and two, the wealth of information about cosmetic surgery available on the internet. So the millennial generation is now more aware of the many procedures available in our country and can compare them with what’s available abroad. The pandemic has also changed people’s priorities – and looking after oneself, pampering, and self-care have become the done thing. And as everyone focuses on their physical and mental well-being, looking good becomes important, too.
But it is also true that quick-buck cosmetic institutes boasting ‘amazing results’ also abound in our country. So one must be careful in choosing the right doctor and filtering out myths and misinformation about cosmetic surgery procedures with research-validated and evidential information. One must also consider the ‘before’ and ‘after’ dos and don’ts carefully.
Five things to consider before & after having cosmetic surgery
So, before you even think of going under the scalpel or opting for other corrective procedures, consider the following:
Set your mind to have realistic expectations: Understand it’s a corrective physical procedure, not a life-transformational one. So, while you may end up looking better and good, if you’re looking to up your wilting love-life or get a better job, cosmetic surgery is not the answer.
Check the doctor’s qualifications: Go to a reputed doctor, go for second opinions if needed. Do your research about the doctor and the procedure you are about to undergo. Be informed. Plus, don’t cut corners when it comes to expenses – go for the best.
Be aware of the risks: Don’t brush aside the risk factors – plastic surgery is an elective procedure, but it isn’t bereft of risks. Find out if the procedure you want requires general anaesthesia, the possible surgical complications, and most importantly, failure to achieve the desired results.
Give recovery time: Understand that you won’t look like an actress overnight. Be patient. Every surgery needs recovery time – cosmetic ones do too! Wait for the bruising and swelling to go away and for your skin to adapt to the new look. Talk to your doc about post-procedure expectations (ask for before and after pics).
Look for hidden ‘stack’ procedures: Sometimes, cosmetic surgery institutes selling ‘packages’ can mislead people. For example, a ‘mommy makeover’ might include a breast lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, and more. It might be advertised as ‘cheap’ but comes with greater risks and more downtime.
And now, a quick look at what all to look out for after the surgery:
Follow the doctor’s instructions to the T: This is the most important post-operation directive to avoid potential side effects.
Get your family’s support: For at least a week after surgery, you will have to take it easy. So, get your support system in place –best to avoid cooking, heat, etc., till the initial soreness or bruising wears off.
Take off from work: Don’t think of concealing it all together from colleagues and go right back to work. It’s best not to use cosmetics over bruised skin and give it a couple of days to heal.
Eat healthy: At the end of the day, what you put inside your body matters more than what you treat the skin with. So, prep ahead – draw up nutritious, high-calorie diet plans that require minimal cooking time to help speed your recovery.
Avoid exposure to the sun: You don’t want to add sun damage to your sore skin. So protect with doctor-approved sun block and appropriate clothing to avoid UV exposure. Drink water, keep your body hydrated.
To conclude, India is definitely poised on a trend-shift in the way cosmetic surgery is perceived. With the millennial embracing corrective cosmetic surgery as a tool to look good, the numbers will only rise. But caution, need and access to good evidence-validated treatments is a must on both sides to ensure fair practices and beneficial outcomes for everyone involved.