According to the Aesthetic Society, more than 1.6 billion dollars were spent on injectables last year. While we might only be a little more than halfway into 2020, those striking stats, mixed with the current state of affairs, tells the inevitable tale: A whole lot of people are missing their Botox—and aesthetic treatments in general—right about now.
Denver dermatologist Joel Cohen, MD has seen it first-hand and it’s something he’s started referring to as a “lost-quarantine” condition.
“For instance, with Botox, there have been many studies that show people’s self-perception, self-esteem, quality-of-life index, and feeling like they can convey their inner, positive emotions more appropriately are all improved when they receive these treatments regularly,” he says. “And, as we all know, there’s been a recent uptick in video conferencing, where frowning can certainly be seen.”
Similarly, Dr. Cohen says, a no-downtime laser not only makes the skin look better, but also feel better—and some lasers even fall into the double-duty category of acting as both a cosmetic treatment a medical one.
“One example is a nonablative fractional laser/thulium laser. It doesn’t really have any significant downtime, but helps with photo-damage, pigment, roughness and luminosity. Plus, it is actually FDA-cleared for pre-cancer actinic keratoses as well,” he says. “Photodynamic therapy is another example. It’s a medical treatment for actinic keratoses, but it also provides cosmetic benefits by improving some roughness and skin’s radiance.”
“Overall, these aesthetic procedures make us feel better about ourselves,” Dr. Cohen says. “And that’s something that’s really important right now.”
In addition to missing their injectables and laser treatments, patients at Reno, NV plastic surgeon Tiffany McCormack, MD’s office have been missing their facials and chemical peels.
“These are often ‘maintenance procedures’ after bigger laser treatments, facelifts, etc.,” she explains. “Patients are feeling as though they are falling behind in their maintenance and most understand that correction is more difficult than prevention.”
What’s more, Dr. McCormack points out, the correction department may be working overtime post-COVID as people are seemingly spending a lot more time outdoors—either because it’s summer, we’re working from home or due to the fact that there are a limited amount of social activities that are safe to do indoors right now—in the sun at the moment.
Something else we’re also spending more time on of late: examining our skin.
“Quarantine time has given us time to pay more attention to our skin,” says Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill. “We see lines, blemishes, spots, furrows—and that’s not only on our faces, but on our chest, arms, legs and abdomen as well.”
Richmond, VA plastic surgeon Ruth L. Hillelson, MD also saw a shift in skin and skin-care queries—specifically when it came to cleansing, sunscreen and general questions about what she sells at her office (she manufacturers her own line, Iridesse)—during the quarantine, adding that, once it was safe in her state, for some of her regulars, she was their “one trip out per week.”
“I was seeing patients for a lot of skin care, Botox, lasers and Thermage,” she says. “We all needed to feel better, and, certainly when you look better, you feel better.”
Like Dr. McCormack’s and Dr. Hillelson’s patients, a lot of Dr. Longwill’s patients were on a regular maintenance schedule pre-pandemic. “We all long for a routine. Botox every three months, filler several times a year and monthly facials. This routine has been disrupted. Now, when we can leave our house, we want to look better for ourselves—anything that is a pick-me-up from this situation that we really don’t know when it will end.”
Specific pick-me-ups that top patients’ wish lists: “They’re asking for anything that helps them look refreshed and alive and gives a ‘lift’ and a glow. To accomplish this, I’d recommend a combination of strategically placed Botox and various types of dermal fillers to give a lift, BBL laser to reduce rosacea, blood vessels, redness, pigmentation, and melasma and, to top it off, various facials to hydrate skin and pamper the patients,” she suggests. “And, I’ve been hearing more ‘Doctor, please help me tighten or lose all of these quarantine pounds!’ They’re also specifically asking for CoolSculpting and CoolTone and it’s a combo I’ve found to help with fat reduction and muscle tightening.”
“We don’t know how long this pandemic will last,” Dr. Longwill admits. “But we all want to be healthy and safe and, as we do that, it’s nice to have a little self-care to keep us going.”