The post-pandemic rush for a face-lift

The post-pandemic rush for a face-lift

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Plastic surgery offices in Charlotte are noticing a sudden uptick in calls in the week since the mask mandate’s exit.

The big picture: We spent the past year staring at ourselves (and our wrinkles) over Zoom, and that’s inspired a new wave of facial procedures like Botox and eyelid lifts, Charlotte Plastic Surgery’s Dr. Ashley Chandler tells me.

  • That interest in face-lifts and the like only accelerated when Governor Roy Cooper lifted all COVID-19 restrictions earlier this month.

Now, as many approach a return to the office, there’s a rush to get the work done. “A lot of people thought they had a long runway,” she says. “Now that runway has been shortened and very quickly.”

Zoom out: The pandemic has changed the industry as a whole, shifting customers’ focus from the body to the face.

  • For the first time since 2006, breast augmentation wasn’t the most popular procedure across the U.S., according to a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
  • Nose jobs, eyelid lifts and face-lifts were the top three most popular procedures in 2020, and that trend continues in 2021.

By the numbers: Surgical face procedures at Charlotte Plastic Surgery have increased from as many as five a month in 2020 to up to 25 a month in 2021.

  • Criswell & Criswell in Charlotte is hiring another receptionist to handle the surge in calls
  • Offices have seen not only a jump in facial procedures for women, but also for men.
  • The typical client at a medspa or plastic surgery office is also getting younger: Chandler’s clients are usually in their late 20s to early 40s.

Warmer weather usually ushers in a slower season for plastic surgery offices in Charlotte, but not this year. The pandemic has been a “really nice time for patients to be able to accomplish treatments and not have to worry about that downtime,” Carol Tyner, Criswell & Criswell’s practice director, tells me.

Another reason for the boom in injectables and plastic surgery is social media. Platforms like TikTok have helped “destigmatize” the procedures, Tyner says.

  • “People just seem to be way more open about it. … There’s a big push on social media for people to be more real than they have in the past,” she says. “A lot of that does come from TikTok.”

What’s next: Even as people return to the office, Chandler doesn’t see demand drying up. “COVID may have brought a permanent change,” she says.

One reason: Many people can have a procedure and work from home for multiple weeks without having to take time off. “They’ve seen you work from home for a whole year now so they know you can still get the work done.”

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