A shift in our lifestyle due to pandemic made constant video calls, zoom meetings and webinar a part of our lives. There is an increased consciousness of facial appearance in this era of virtual meetings. Some may seek make-up techniques to improve appearances while others seek longer term solutions to improve facial flaws.
What can be done to improve appearance?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a radical shift in our lifestyles. Instead of working from the office, work has now moved from our physical workplaces into our homes. Constant video calls, zoom meetings and webinars have become the “new normal”. This sudden surge in video conferencing has also led to an increase in the consciousness and concern of one’s facial appearance in this era of virtual meetings. In this “new normal”, we spend more time looking at our own faces through the lens of our webcams. This self-examination may subsequently bring to our attention small details about our appearance that we never noticed. Indeed, not only has there been an increase in the use of facial tuning apps alongside video conferencing applications, there has also been an increase in the number of people who did not have any prior facial cosmetic treatments, now planning to pursue treatments based on concerns from their video conference appearance alone.
In the quest to appear better in these virtual meetings, various methods have been employed. Some may seek make-up techniques, some using make-up techniques with camera app filters, while others seek medical aesthetic treatments for a longer term solution.
So, what can we do to make ourselves always camera-ready?
1. Mind your skin
Our skin is one of the most important factors to our looking good in front of the camera.
Webcams tend to highlight even the slightest grease or acne mark, making it look ten times worse than it would have in the real environment. Simple habits such as cleansing before a zoom meeting and applying a tinted moisturizer or sunscreen can help to make our skin look matte and evenly toned. Avoid greasy or oily products as web cameras tend to accentuate any shine that you have on your face. Also, by looking after your skin well, you can avoid having a large zit on your face during a zoom meeting. If you have acne prone skin, make sure to manage your acne in consultation with a doctor. If you have dry devitalized skin, then your doctor may advise more intensive treatments such as skin boosters and polynucleotide injections.
2. Addressing facial lines
During a zoom call, facial lines tend to be accentuated the most because instead of being in a 3-dimensional world, we now appear 2-dimensional. Indeed, one of the most commonly requested procedures since the start of the pandemic is neuromodulators, i.e. Botox and fillers to address facial lines, or to achieve a younger, more youthful look. Wrinkles or lines such as forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet can often be addressed with a simple 15-minute Botox treatment. This helps relax facial muscles and give a smoother look and softened facial expressions within a few days and typically lasts for about three to six months. For people with deeper etched lines, more invasive treatments such as fillers, chemical peels or resurfacing lasers may be needed to smoothen out these lines. Fillers may also be used to smooth deeper lines such as laugh lines and marionette lines in the lower face and volumize cheeks and create a youthful jawline. Hyaluronic acid can help naturally plump the skin to give it a youthful fullness and firmness. In more severe cases however, a combination of treatments such as skin tightening and lifting procedures such as Ultherapy and fillers may be required.
Facial pigmentation can make our skin tone look uneven and create a distraction to our audience. In a world where we often look at our video reflection, we may become more aware of our appearance, and start scrutinizing our features from the neck up. The treatments for pigmentation can vary widely. These may include the use of sunscreens, depigmenting creams, pigment lasers and rarely, ablative lasers. These treatments all aim to reduce the difference in skin tone so that our skin has an even radiant glow.
4. Facial features
Facial features are a contentious matter. This is because webcams may distort and degrade the video quality and inaccurately represent one’s true appearance. Camera angle and focal distance makes a significant difference to the image that appears on screen. This is especially true for nose size and face shape. At shorter focal lengths, our faces often appear more rounded, with wider set eyes, broader nose and taller forehead. The lack of 3-dimensional perception also leads to shadow gradients appearing as a flat darkened area. These elements often require a consultation with a doctor to accurately ascertain if the perceived negative feature is indeed true, or just a trick of the camera. This is important so that we do not end up in a cycle of treatments and self-dissatisfaction. More often than not, if the concern is that of a facial feature, it is likely due to a trick of the camera rather than a true issue. However, if the facial issue is ascertained to be true, then treatments such as fillers, non surgical facelifts can provide a non- to minimally-invasive solution to improve the harmony of facial features.
One of the most common concerns is “looking tired”, especially so in the area around the eyes. Concentrating on the screen often makes us squint, causing the eyes to look older and smaller. As our eyelids become hooded, and our lower eyelids sag, it can also make us look worn out, sad and angry. Botox can be used as a non surgical treatment to “lift” the brows and eyes to give a more refreshed look while softening wrinkles around the eyes. If there is significant volume loss in the under eye, treatments such as tear trough fillers may be needed to restore our facial volumes while lasers and energy based devices such as Thermage can help tighten the skin around our eyes and reduce fine wrinkles.