Watch CBS News

'The Face Mask Phenomenon': Plastic Surgeons See Sizable Increase In Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — While most industries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, one is booming.

Plastic surgeons say they are seeing a sizable increase in patients and the pandemic is one of the reasons behind the surge.

"What people see right now are your eyes, with the masks on," said patient Renee James.

James wasn't happy with how her eyes looked and wearing a mask only highlighted her insecurity. So she decided to go under the knife.

"I have wanted this done for 30 years," she said.

James had her eyes done and a brow lift by Dr. Michael Niccole of Newport beach. He's seen a 25% increase in business since the pandemic hit and says he now has a 4-month waitlist for surgery.

"In the 40 years that I have been practicing, this has been the greatest increase in volume of patients in our practice," Niccole said.

More and more patients are focusing on their faces above the nose.

"I call it the face mask phenomenon and it's unbelievable," Niccole said.

Indigo Allandorf also had eye and nose work done by Niccole, motivated by her mask.

"So, where lips used to be the trend for the last five years, now it's eyebrows and eyelids because no one can see your lips," Allandorf said.

Another pandemic side effect has been being on Zoom all day long which motivated Deborah Arakelian to get a face and lip lift.

"You don't walk in and meet somebody. You don't walk in and shake their hand. You're looking in the camera and you're sending out an image from your collarbone to the top of your head," Arakelian said.

Her Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Doctor Leslie Stevens said he didn't expect business during the pandemic to be so robust.

"In mid-May, we all thought it was going to be a disaster, but it turned out to be a boom for our industry," Stevens said.

Stevens said working remotely has caused people to see themselves in a whole new light.

"Now you're sitting in front of a screen and you're seeing yourself and saying 'Oh my God, that's what I look like?'" and they're aware of things that may not have bothered them so much beforehand," Stevens said.

It's not just the well-to-do who are having plastic surgery during the pandemic. The doctors say a good number of their patients are using their savings or financing to have the procedures.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.