Do YOU suffer from ‘Zoom dysmorphia’? More than 50% of dermatologists reported a rise in cosmetic consultations amid the Covid-19 pandemic linked to the unflattering effects of front-facing cameras

  • Harvard researchers surveyed 100 dermatologists amid the pandemic
  • More than 50% reported a rise in consultations linked to video calls
  • Based on the findings, the team is urging people who regularly participate in video calls to consider using an external, high-resolution camera

While video calls were once rare occurrences, they’ve become daily events for many people working from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, researchers have warned that many people are suffering from ‘Zoom dysmorphia’ as a result of looking at themselves in their computer’s front-facing camera.

Dr Shadi Kourosh, a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, has revealed that more than 50 per cent of dermatologists have reported a rise in cosmetic consultations linked to this effect.

Based on the findings, the researchers are urging people who regularly participate in video calls to consider using an external, high-resolution camera and a ring light, which they say will improve how you appear on camera.

Researchers have warned that many people are suffering from ‘Zoom dysmorphia’ as a result of looking at themselves in their computer’s front-facing camera (stock image)

ZOOM ALTERNATIVES

  • GoToMeeting 
  • Google Hangouts Meet 
  • Zoho Meetings 
  • Join.me 
  • Cisco Webex Meetings 
  • BlueJeans 
  • TeamViewer 
  • Riot 
  • Jitsi Meet 
  • Hibox Discord

In the study, the researchers looked at the rise in cosmetic consultations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Kourosh said: ‘Society quickly transitioned to a remote way of working and socialising during the COVID-19 pandemic, communicating largely through video calls during a stressful and isolating time.

‘As reliance on video calls increased, we started seeing the consequences of how prolonged time staring back at yourself significantly impacted our patients in a phenomenon we call Zoom dysmorphia.’

In the study, the researchers surveyed more than 100 dermatologists to determine how remote working has affected patient self-perception.

The results revealed that more than 50 per cent reported a rise in cosmetic consultations, despite being in a pandemic.

‘What was alarming about our research results was that 86% dermatologists surveyed who were fielding these cosmetic concerns reported that their patients referenced video conferencing as the reason for seeking cosmetic consultation,’ Dr Kourosh said.

While video calls were once rare occurrences, they’ve become daily events for many people working from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic

‘The increased time on-camera, coupled with the unflattering effects of front-facing cameras, triggered a concerning and subconscious response unique to the times we’re living in. 

‘In addition, many people were also spending more time on social media viewing highly edited photos of others — triggering unhealthy comparisons to their own images on front-facing cameras, which we know is distorted and not a true reflection.’

The researchers also point to previous studies which found that 77 per cent of people join video meetings on laptops or computers, 31 per cent on smartphones and 13 per cent on tablets.

Dr Kourosh added: ‘Unfortunately, this is the lens in which people are viewing themselves today, and it’s not accurate and can eventually become unhealthy.

‘Technology has certainly helped us navigate this pandemic in many ways, but it’s also important to be aware of its limitations and potential to impact how we feel about ourselves.’

Based on the findings, Dr Kourosh has given her top tips to improve your Zoom meetings. 

She advises using a high-resolution camera, adjusting your camera’s position or by turning off your video on calls when it is not required. 

And if you are concerned about your appearance, it’s best to see a board-certified dermatologist, according to Dr Kourosh. 

TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR ZOOM MEETINGS 

Based on the findings, Dr Kourosh has given her top tips to improve your Zoom meetings:

Assess your technology

Consider using an external, high-resolution camera for quality video and adding a ring light to control how you illuminate your face, which will also improve how you appear on camera.

Adjust your camera

Try positioning the screen a further distance away from your face and keep the camera at eye level, which can help to minimize the distortion of the camera and improve appearance.

Protect your mental health

Find opportunities to reduce the amount of time spent looking into a front-facing camera by turning off your video on calls when it is not required. It can also be helpful to limit social media engagement. 

Since photo editing is so pervasive on social media, it’s unhealthy to compare your own distorted images from front-facing cameras to edited and augmented photos posted online. 

It may also help to talk with a mental health professional, who can help a person take a healthier approach to their appearance and offer strategies for redirecting ones focus away from perceived physical flaws.

See a board-certified dermatologist

If you’re concerned about your appearance, see a board-certified dermatologist, who can help identify whether a problem truly needs aesthetic intervention and if so, can recommend appropriate products or treatments to help you look and feel your best.

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