Has the Zoom boom made us more critical of our facial quirks, sags and bags? Should we even care?

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Illustration. (Getty Images)
Illustration. (Getty Images)
  • For many South Africans, video conferencing has become a daily, if not hourly, occurrence.
  • Workforces are staring at their computer screens and the more they do, the more they seem to be noticing asymmetries on their faces, something which has now been dubbed "Zoom face".
  • According to Dr Elfrieda Fourie, this has resulted in an unprecedented boom in certain aesthetic procedures. But is it necessary?

Raise your hand if you're also one of those people who spend most of the duration of Zoom/Teams meetings or FaceTime chats looking at themselves in the corner of the screen. 

Whether it's vanity or a fixation on how your front camera might be betraying you by distorting certain features of your face, we've all found ourselves doing it - often.

But once the meeting or friendly catch-up call is over and you've locked your black mirror momentarily, do you find yourself still fussing over the size of one nostril or a half-frown line when you check the bathroom mirror long after your virtual commitments? 

Maybe and, if so, only just enough to reach for your trusty Jade roller and gua sha before bed. 

If your facial lines, bumps, and bags concern you more than others, you're not alone.

Local aesthetics medical doctors have claimed that some South Africans are noticing more asymmetries, now dubbed Zoom face, as a result of time spent in front of screens. 

Dr Elfrieda Fourie, an aesthetics medical doctor who specialises in advanced medical aesthetic procedures, says this has resulted in an "unprecedented boom" in certain aesthetic procedures. 

While there has been an increase in aesthetic procedures across the board, the eye and forehead areas have received the most attention. 

So it would appear that those with deep pockets are paying to make their eyebags shallow. 

READ MORE | Will women look different after the pandemic? Does it matter?

"Our eyes and forehead areas are working overtime. When we are at home, we are squinting at the computer screen. When we are out, the rest of our face is covered by a mask and frown lines and crow's feet are on full display," says Fourie.  

Fourie notes that almost everyone has some degree of asymmetry on their face, but it's become seemingly more pronounced and accentuated because people are constantly studying and analysing their faces during virtual meetings.   

She explains that imperfections feel exaggerated and in high definition, because we are now "fixating on those sags and bags for a disproportionate amount of time.” 

This Joburg-based aesthetics medical doctor has also noticed a rise in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, related to headaches caused by jaw tension, clenching, and teeth grinding. This, she says, is undoubtedly linked to the increase in stress and anxiety which many people are riddled with.

"Injectables can assist with breaking the cycle of biofeedback and provide immediate relief," says Dr Fourie.

READ MORE | Overnight flat tummy? With these 3 sought-after body sculpting procedures, it's possible if you want

While aesthetic procedures can provide incredible results for those who wish to take that approach, there are easy hacks to achieve a good Zoom face instantly without treatment.

These are Fourie's tips:

Stack your computer on some books so that your face tilts upwards slightly.  

Invest in a ring light to eliminate bad lighting that causes shadows which highlight eye bags.

Shop this 'Glow Up' 26cm Ring Light, currently R499.99 at Typo 

zoom boom

No ring light? Sit facing a window so that you are illuminated by soft, natural lighting. 

If you're not ready for a close-up chat, sit at least an arm's length in front of the camera. 

Has an increase in screen time made you more conscious of your face's quirks and asymmetries? Tell us here.

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