How Has Lockdown Impacted Body Image?

There’s no doubt that issues such as negative body image and body dysmorphia have changed and been exacerbated in the social media age, with studies revealing that social media engagement with attractive peers increases negative state body image.


This issue has arguably been exacerbated further through the coronavirus pandemic, with more than half of the adults on these shores feeling worse about their body image throughout the lockdown period.


But what have various studies found, and exactly how have coronavirus lockdowns impacted on body image in the UK?


Body Image Worsens Across the Board – What Do the Numbers Say?


The most recent study was commissioned by the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, and canvassed the opinion of 8,000 people nationwide.


As we’ve already touched on, a little over 50% of adults (53%) have reported feeling worse about their bodies during the lockdown, while 58% of respondents aged under 18 have also said that they have more negative feelings about their appearance.


While this is partially due to isolation and the impact that this can have on issues such as anxiety and depression, there are other universal factors worthy of consideration.


For example, widespread anti-obesity campaigns have had an indirect impact on people’s perception of their bodies, especially when combined with associated social media comments and the anonymous nature of posts on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


The Impact of Remote Communication and Zoom Meetings


Another key factor is the rapid increase in Zoom usage and video communication throughout the pandemic, which has coincided with soaring demand for cosmetic treatment since the pandemic began in earnest last March.


Save Face, which represents practitioners, said that there had been a significant jump in email and web enquiries in England and Wales, while phone calls pertaining to neck and face work have leapt from 500 to 800 a year (a 57% increase) during the period.


This is why the phenomenon has been dubbed the “Zoom Boom” within the cosmetic surgery space, as people are spending an increased amount of time staring at their face and identifying perceived flaws that simply wouldn’t have registered previously.


How to Deal With These Issues


Of course, some people found time in lockdown to prioritise their physical health and improve their body image organically, whereas others sought out free consultations through a licensed cosmetic surgeon.


However, in many instances body dysmorphia is underpinned by feelings of depression and anxiety, creating a scenario where you’ll need to tackle these underlying problems before seeking out quick, physical fixes.


Regardless, the key is to recognise the problem and strive to understand its triggers, before seeking out relevant and viable solutions.

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