MGH dermatologists treating more patients with Zoom dysmorphia

BOSTON — Dr. Mathew Avram is as busy as he’s ever been. “It accelerated a hundred times over the last 6 to 12 months,” he said.

Dr. Avram is director of Mass General’s Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center. He said Zoom dysmorphia is the number one reason they’re seeing new patients. Zoom dysmorphia, coined by Dr. Arianne Shadi Kourosh of Mass General, describes people who are noticing imperfections in their skin that they hadn’t previously, thanks to Zoom and other virtual platforms, and want to cosmetically improve it.

“This is a whole new paradigm. When we interact with people in the office we’re usually looking at someone or looking back at you. Now it’s almost as if you have a mirror of yourself when you’re communicating with other people. You see your appearance as you’re speaking to them. This has never existed before,” he said.

That has prompted Erin Sheehan to get work done. In her case, Botox injections during her lunch break. Sheehan is a nurse who spends hours each day on Zoom calls, sometimes up to seven hours per day.

“I hope to just get a little refresh on how I look and how I feel and maybe feel a little more comfortable staring at myself on Zoom until we’re able to meet in person again and go back to the real world,” she said.

To improve your look on Zoom calls, Dr. Avram recommends having the camera angle come straight on you. Otherwise, it could extenuate your face

sagging and make your eyes look sunken. He also said the light should come straight on you.

“If you have a light above you, that’s going to have the tendency to create shadowing. That’s going to make you look more tired, it’s going to make you look less refreshed and a little bit more aged,” he said. Dr. Avram also recommends using a computer since we often have a tendency to move a cell phone around which changes your angle.

Insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures. Dr. Avrum said they typically run from a few hundred dollars for a less invasive procedure up to about $4,000 for a more complex one.