Whether it’s for work or to stay in touch with friends and family, nearly everyone is spending more time looking at their faces on devices over the past 18 months. As cameras and video conferencing software gets more and more advanced, consumers are left with often unforgiving portrayals of themselves. As a result there has been a significant boom in cosmetic dermatology procedures over the past year.

Advanced Dermatology recently surveyed 1,450 Americans who regularly spend time on video calls, to better understand how they are affected and what catches their attention on calls. The resulting report shed a light on how this new activity is making Americans feel about themselves.

The impact of seeing ourselves under the harsh scrutiny of Zoom in undeniable:

  • 85% say that seeing themselves on video calls has made them more self-conscious about their appearance
  • 73% say they’re less happy with their appearance than they were before the pandemic

When asked what features they felt most self-conscious about, bags under the eyes, forehead and teeth ranked highest. Zooming our from particular features, broader ‘looks’ also are captured on video calls, which people find problematic. Sometimes rather than fixating on how their nose or hair looks, people are left feeling like they look more ‘tired’ or ‘angry.’

Of those surveyed, 83 percent admit they stare at themselves a lot on video calls. People usually fixate on their own eyes, hair and forehead more than anything else.


But that’s not the only thing we’re staring at. Those who participate in virtual meetings for work are putting their coworkers under the microscope as well. Seventy-eight percent of people have compared their own faces to coworkers’ faces during a virtual meeting, and three in four workers admit they stare at people more in virtual meetings than they would in person, since the dynamic is different and no one can tell.


Despite all the jokes about people not wearing pants to virtual meetings, data shows that people are quite aware of the scrutiny they may be under on these calls. Most people don’t just show up casually, without consideration for how they look. Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed check their appearance before joining any video call and 60 percent use the ‘touch-up’ feature to enhance their appearance when it’s available. On top of that, 76 percent say they’re thinking more carefully about grooming and outfits on video calls now than they were at the beginning of the pandemic.


True to its name, the Zoom Boom is a real phenomenon and many people are making bigger investments in their appearance as a result of the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 59 percent say they’ve bought products or changed skincare routines because of what they have seen on video calls, and 61 percent say they are more interested in cosmetic procedures based on what they’ve seen on video calls.

For more detail, link to the full report.

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