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With more folks spending time inside, working from home and literally under wraps (i.e., masks), now is the time for many for some sneaky beauty procedures that would normally require taking time off work, hiding from your social circle and going dark on social media. But now, all your redness, swelling, and post-op symptoms can go undetected—sans burning your vacation days.

In fact, derms and plastic surgeons across the city are seeing skyrocketing increases in invasive and non-invasive cosmetic treatments since the start of the pandemic, thanks to the “Zoom boom” or “Zoom effect”.

What the heck is the Zoom effect, you ask? Basically, Zoom and other digital web conferencing platforms have led people to seek out ways to lift and tighten their faces after seeing themselves so often screens. (Note: If your computer camera is positioned lower and pointing up, it actually makes things look worse than they are—invest in a laptop stand, and you won’t regret it.)

Laura Altman, a physician assistant at Tribeca Medspa, explains that since her clients are no longer spending money on travel, dinners out or fancy clothing, this disposable income allows them to spend on beauty procedures—not to mention the added benefit of flexible downtime while WFH. “Our clients are spending more per visit and we continue to see about the same number of new clients every month along with current clients who visit us for more treatments,” says Altman.

Here are some of the most popular beauty treatments New Yorkers have been taking advantage of while WFH, plus some things to consider in case you’re curious about giving them a go yourself.

RELATED: 9 Beauty Trends That Will Be Huge in 2021

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1. Lower face treatments

“Patients are looking specifically for ways to address laxity or sagging in their midface, jawline and necks,” says Dr. Norman Rowe, a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Rowe Plastic Surgery on the Upper East Side.

In fact, requests for jawline filler are up as much as 2,133 percent at BeautyFix Medspa, a clinic with locations in Flatiron and on the Upper East Side. This non-surgical facial contouring enhances the jawline to give the lower face and neck a more defined and slimmer appearance by helping create a V-shape structure, BeautyFix CEO Mark Greenspan tells us. Jawline fillers are usually completed with one 30-minute treatment with no recovery time necessary.

2. Botox

Dr. Alexander Blinski of NYC’s Plump cosmetics and injectables bar has seen about a 25 percent increase in patients with general concerns about facial structure, aging and wrinkles over the last 12 months.

“Consultations related to Botox have been requested in all the major treatment areas. The most common areas for Botox treatment remain horizontal forehead lines, 11 lines, and crow’s feet. We have seen a slightly greater number of patients consulted for TMJ Botox (TMJ is a medical jaw issue from grinding the teeth at night) likely due to increases in stress, and beauty trends of giving the face more angularity and a higher cheekbone,” Dr. Blinski tells us.

Intrigued? Side effects from injectables include minor swelling and bruising. (Psst: Read up on our beginner’s guide to botox here.)

at home chemical peel
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3. At-Home Chemical Peels

Many of us are paying more attention to our skin now that we are home and having to put our best face forward on close-up, face-to-face work calls.

“In fact, reports show that more women in the US are using facial skincare products today compared to one year ago, and that lifestyle changes including the effects of COVID-19 have in many ways altered skin care routines in a positive way,” says master esthetician and CEO of Repechage, Lydia Sarfati.

At-home peels feature professional-grade ingredients and step-by-step instructions to boost a dull complexion and address specific skin concerns such as aging, discoloration and blemishes without having to go in to see an esthetician or dermatologist. These peels use low percent acids (like this one from PCA SKIN) and require no downtime for healing.

4. Lasers for Acne

According to new survey data by healthcare marketplace RealSelf, 36 percent of respondents noted they’ve seen an increase in the number of pimples since the pandemic started. And those who have had an increase in breakouts noted their chin was the most likely spot, followed by the jawline and cheeks.

Some acne breakouts are a result of wearing masks and the occlusion it causes (dubbed maskne), and other forms of acne are a result of hormonal stress or stress in general. “Patients who have had acne scars are using this period to have laser treatments to finally address the treatment of their acne scars, now that they have the downtime,” NYC-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green tells us.

One such treatment is eMatrix, a laser that works by stimulating collagen formation and healthy cells. eMatrix reduces the appearance of acne scars, enlarged pores and mild to moderate wrinkles in addition brightening the skin and improving skin texture. Downtime is approximately 48 hours with mild roughness remaining for three to five days. Results continue over three to five months after the final treatment and can be maintained annually (Dr. Green suggests patients receive three to five treatments).

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5. Hair loss therapy

Dr. Green has seen an 25 percent increase in new patient’s addressing hair loss, he tells us, noting that the stress of COVID-19 is a contributing factor.

There are multiple ways to treat hair loss, but Dr. Green’s preferred method is PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), a treatment that uses your own blood to promote healing and stimulate the hair follicle to begin a new growth cycle while making hair stronger and thicker. Side effects of PRP may include some tenderness on the scalp after injections and a slight headache or pressure in the treated area. Depending on the severity, Dr. Green recommends four consecutive monthly treatments of PRP injections followed by maintenance treatments every four to six months.

6. Microneedling

Places like Tribeca Medspa have seen a 50 percent increase in microneedling with stem cells compared to last year. This treatment is designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skin imperfections, with stem cells added to stimulate the regeneration and healing of the skin.

“Typically, patients would experience mild redness and swelling for a day followed by possible mild dryness for a few days, at most. Bruising can happen but tends to heal quickly as it is generally fairly superficial,” says Tribeca Medspa clinical lead medical aesthetician Holly Montgomery.

RELATED: We Ask a Derm: What Is the Best Derma Roller to Use at Home?

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