Botox injections became the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedure in 2020, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported.
The procedure treats wrinkles by paralyzing or relaxing the muscle around them.
The increase in demand could be linked to the amount of time people spent on Zoom staring at their reflection during the pandemic, Dr. Smita Ramanadham said.
People who want to reduce the look of aging caused by stress could be responsible for a post-pandemic Botox boom, according to a new report.
The study, from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, found that Botox injections became the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedure in 2020, with 4.4 million procedures performed last year.
Dr. Smita Ramanadham, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New Jersey, told Insider the rise of Botox during the pandemic could be linked to the amount of stress and time spent viewing our reflection on video calls over the past year.
"Working from home and hours of Zoom calls are now part of our everyday lives," Ramanadham said.
"For the first time, we are seeing ourselves in a different and new light. We are seeing the stress of the past year on our faces and we want to do something about it."
What is Botox?
Botox, or botulinum toxin A, is a toxin derived from a bacteria that causes botulism, an extreme form of food poisoning, Insider previously reported.
The toxin got its start as a chemical weapon during World War I and wasn't used for cosmetic procedures until the 1960s, when it was marketed to treat crossed eyes, according to The New York Times.
The Botox injections we now know of as a treatment to reduce wrinkles and fine lines came about in the late 1990s, though the jabs weren't officially approved for commercial use by the FDA until 2002.
The chemical paralyzes or relaxes the muscles around wrinkles, according to the Mayo Clinic, making the skin in the area look more youthful while reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles like crows feet and smile lines.
Why has Botox gotten so popular during the pandemic?
Ramanadham told Insider the uptick in Botox injections during the pandemic has to do with a few factors.
Less travel and less spending at places like bars and restaurants during lockdown left people with more disposable income to spend on procedures. Also, the relative ease of getting Botox injections done by a qualified professional could increase the jab's popularity, Ramanadham said.
A few injections can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines instantly, which can give a little boost of self-confidence to people who are disconnected from friends and family, she added.
"It can truly improve one's confidence and make them feel better about themselves in such a stressful period of our lives," she said.
How do you know if Botox is right for you?
While Botox is accessible, Ramanadham says it's important to consider a few things, starting with the risks that come with the procedure.
"With Botox treatments being so widespread, it's important to remember that Botox still remains a medical treatment with risks and you shouldn't put your trust in just anyone," Ramanadham told Insider.
According to Ramanadham, one of the most common risks is dropping eyes or eyelid ptosis. When Botox is placed in the wrong area by an untrained hand, it can seep into the wrong muscle and paralyze the brow or eyelid, making it droop.
The only way to fix ptosis is with time, which can take weeks to months, so be sure to vet your doctor before considering the procedure.
The other factor to consider is whether or not your wrinkles actually bother you.
"While there are many off-label uses for Botox, the most common concerns we see are forehead wrinkles, '11' lines, and crow's feet. These wrinkles may be so long-standing that they form permanent lines within the skin itself," Ramanadham said.
"While aging and wrinkles are natural and normal, these lines may bother you, and that is when you should seek further action."
Read the original article on Insider