Zoom Dysmorphia follows people into the real world


Last summer, when The clinic is temporarily reopening, and dermatologist Shadi Kourosh has noticed a worrying trend-a surge in appearance-related appointment requests. “It seems that at that time, other things will become the first consideration, but many people are really worried about feeling that they look much worse than usual,” she said.

Kourosh is an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. She quickly discovered that other people in her field and people in related fields such as plastic surgery have also noticed similar phenomena. When she and her colleagues asked patients what prompted their decision to seek treatment, many of them mentioned video conferencing. The pandemic brought them into a world full of Zoom phones and Teams meetings, staring at their faces on the screen all day, causing serious damage to their self-image.

In the Zoom era, people began to pay too much attention to the loose skin around the neck and jaw; the size and shape of the nose; along with the paleness of their skin. They want cosmetic interventions, from Botox and fillers to facelifts and rhinoplasty. Kourosh and colleagues surveyed doctors and surgeons to investigate whether video conferencing during the pandemic is a potential cause of physical deformity. They call it “Zoom deformity. “

Now, as the increase in vaccination seems to be driving the pandemic to abate, new research by the Harvard Kourosh team shows that the Zoom deformity has not disappeared. A survey of more than 7,000 people showed that the trauma of the coronavirus will accompany us for some time.

Kourosh said that even before Covid, plastic surgeons and dermatologists had seen more and more patients put forward “unrealistic and unnatural” requirements. the term”Snapchat malformation” Created in 2015 to describe more and more people who want to look like they have undergone facial changes in real life, all with big eyes and shiny skin.

Before that, patients may show up in the plastic surgeon’s office with photos of celebrities cut from magazines.Even before the rise of social media, psychologists discovered that those who look in the mirror Become more conscious.

But Zoom malformation is different. Unlike Snapchat, people realize that they are viewing themselves through filters, and video conferencing distorts our appearance in ways that we may not even realize, as Kourosh and her co-authors pointed out in their original paper .

She said that the front-facing cameras will distort your images like a “playground mirror”-they make your nose look bigger and your eyes look smaller. This effect can be exacerbated by being close to the camera, which is usually closer to you than the person standing in a real-life conversation. Looking down at the camera of a smartphone or laptop is the least flattering angle—anyone from the MySpace generation will tell you that the best camera position is when viewed from above, so selfie sticks are everywhere.

When our faces are relaxed, we are also accustomed to seeing our own reflection-your concentrated frown (or boring expression) at Zoom meetings and the image of yourself you are accustomed to seeing in the mirror. Kourosh writes: “The changes in self-perception and anxiety due to continuous video conferencing may lead to unnecessary cosmetic surgery, especially during the entire pandemic. More exposure to online platforms (including video conferencing, social media and filtering Maker) among the young people, Channi Silence and other colleagues.

The term “Zoom metamorphosis” was adopted by the international media, and Kourosh was overwhelmed by emails sent by friends and strangers, and resonated with it.In the upcoming new follow-up study International Journal of Female DermatologyThe research team found that 71% of the 7,000 people surveyed felt anxious or stressed about resuming face-to-face activities, and nearly 64% had sought mental health support.


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