Zoom Dysmorphia is Catching up in Real Life

When the whole world came to a halt when the pandemic hit, everyone turned to video conferencing applications like Zoom. It offered the convenience of meeting with friends and colleagues without the need to leave the house or getting all dressed up (maybe even omitting pants entirely). But staring at one’s on-screen reflection day after day for the past year has adverse consequences.  

Zoom Dysmorphia is Catching up in Real Life
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What is Zoom Dysmorphia?

A study found that the increasing amount of time spent in front of webcams is causing Zoom Dysmorphia. It’s a term coined by dermatologists for body dissatisfaction linked to video conferencing. This phenomenon has affected one’s self-image and spiked people’s desire to get cosmetic procedures during the pandemic.

“During real-life conversations, we do not see our faces speaking and displaying emotions, and we certainly do not compare our faces side-by-side to others like we do on video calls,” the authors stated. “In addition, cameras can distort video quality and create an inaccurate representation of true appearance.”

Signs you have Zoom Dysmorphia

While body insecurities are not uncommon, especially in the age of photo editing apps and filtered selfies, people are now more conscious about their self-image. Here are some signs you have a case of zoom dysmorphia.

  • Anxiously preparing to turn on your video because of body image issues.
  • Fixating on your physical appearances like wrinkles, acne, dark spots, or weight gain.
  • Obsessing over the perfect lighting and camera angles to show your “best side.”
  • Getting distracted during video conferences by your “flaws” instead of focusing on the meeting.
  • Rigorously comparing your image with the other faces on the call.

Dermatologist Shadi Kourosh likens front-facing cameras to a funhouse mirror on the basis that it distorts images. To combat zoom dysmorphia, she suggests being conscious of your appearance-based behaviors and remind yourself that you’re more than your physical appearance. Don’t believe the wide nose and squinted eyes broadcasted on-screen translate to reality.

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