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Melissa Hu, MD

Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

It's natural to take steps to look your best
  • Dr. Melissa Hu

Cosmetic Surgery in Quarantine

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Around the country and around the world people are seeking cosmetic surgery in the midst of a pandemic. It may seem counterintuitive, but a closer examination reveals why this has become such a popular trend.


As people are asked to quarantine, work from home, attend virtual classes, many people’s social lives have moved online. Images of beautiful people on Facebook and Instagram become the new reality and point of self-comparison. Selfies are the primary mode of communication during this time, and people are more closely examining photos of themselves on social media platforms. ZOOM meetings for work have become a distracting mirror as people see themselves in motion, at various angles, and in side-by-side comparisons with colleagues. The increasing amount of “face time” during the pandemic has been a big driver for cosmetic surgery, particularly involving the face - facelifts, eyelid lifts, rhinoplasty.


Not only is there more time to self-examine, there is also more time to rest and recover from surgery at home. Prior to the pandemic, the trend was for minimally invasive procedures with little to no down time. However, sometimes this requires serial treatments or multiple visits. The idea of several outings into closed public spaces now carries a risk we did not face before. Furthermore, surgery often provides more dramatic changes with less long term up-keep. If this can be done during quarantine without colleagues, friends and even family members knowing, is there ever a better time?


Though this may not apply to everyone, for individuals fortunate enough to continue working during the pandemic, some people are seeing an increase in their spending cash. The amount of money saved on going out to restaurants, bars, shopping, travel and vacation have provided people some savings. Cosmetic surgeries have become an avenue for people to spend their extra money in a different way to feel good about themselves.


The doom and gloom of the pandemic along with various other social and government unease is affecting people all across the country. We see this not only in the protests on the streets, but in the unsaid increase in domestic violence, drug abuse, anxiety and depression at the private level. In the midst of all this, people are trying to find ways to feel better about life. For those who are healthy, cosmetic surgery may be used as a way to fill this void of happiness. What better way to feel better, than caring for yourself and making yourself look better?

Many people seeking cosmetic surgery during the pandemic have expressed some element of guilt trying to improve their appearance during a time many others are struggling. However, the changes from surgery will likely outlast the pandemic, and for the reasons described above, cosmetic surgery during these unique times makes quite a lot of sense on a societal, time, financing and personal level.

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