The Great Deflation: Plastic Surgeons On What's Happening to Famous Faces

The Great Deflation: Plastic Surgeons On What's Happening to Famous Faces

Celebrities are just like us in one way: They, too, have had their routines disrupted by covid-19. Some appear to only leave their homes to take a walk or go to the grocery store. Others cannot be bothered to do their everyday makeup; some throw on a bit of glam for social media posts in an attempt to maintain relevancy. Many have avoided the public altogether, save for paparazzi shots—and without access to their usual aesthetic enhancements, naturally, their appearances begin to change.

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On April 21, the paps snapped a shot of a pale and clean-faced Kylie Jenner delivering snacks to a friend. No questionable artificial caramel tan. No noticeable lip fillers. No (it seems) meticulously microbladed eyebrows. It’s rare to see someone whose entire career is based on her physical presence, as she is, beneath the ornamentation.

What about other celebs whose sculptural faces require botox and fillers for upkeep? Have they resigned themselves to going natural like Kylie? Or maybe they’re secretly receiving elective procedures at home or in clinics, regardless of statewide mandates about essential businesses.

To unravel this mystery, Jezebel spoke with four surgeons, most of whom agreed that in lieu of injectables, at-home skincare is becoming the new focus of face maintenance. Because botox requires upkeep every three to four months, it’s possible that some celebrities will emerge with looser faces than previously seen. Fillers require updates every six to 12 months, so it’s unlikely that all of white Hollywood will return to its thin-lipped glory—unless, of course, they were due for an update before self-isolation became a requirement. Some may be receiving treatment at home, which may very well be unethical. And, like all non-essential industries, plastic surgeons have had to get creative to continue to provide their services.

Interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.


Dr. Leonard Hochstein, Hochstein MedSpa:

[The plastic surgery] business has now become virtual. Although I am continuing to see my postoperative patients, I am doing virtual consultations over the phone. This is not new since we have so many out of town patients, so the only transition is that we are handling our local requests the same way.

I am quite sure [some celebrities] are having people go to their homes or having facilities open just for them. I expect they will be maintaining themselves just the same: their hair, nails, and injectables will be kept up to date.

I am not [conducting home visits]. Once you deviate from the normal routine, mistakes happen. Consistency is always the best way of caring for patients. It’s impossible to bring an entire facility to someone’s home and you never know what might happen. You never want to be without all of your tools.

Dr. Christine Chiu, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery:

This pandemic is unprecedented and is affecting us all in ways that were unimaginable just a few months ago. In Beverly Hills, all elective procedures and surgical facilities have been suspended until further notice since March 17. The rest of Los Angeles soon followed.

This mandate required all plastic and cosmetic surgery offices to close, with only medically necessary office visits allowed. Initially, when non-essential businesses closed, we were able to offer select (determined on a case-by-case basis) patients with mobile services via the aesthetic nurse who is well-versed in protective protocols. I was also seeing patients on a case-by-case basis who required medical attention. As social distancing requirements tightened, we have eliminated all mobile visits and have transitioned to telemedicine via Skype or Zoom meetings. In addition to skincare, detox kits, Latisse (for those who have a prescription) which can be shipped to patients, we also offer advanced peeling kits that can be done at-home with the guidance of our nurse and myself.

Worrying about being due for your Botox or fillers is fine, and we will take care of that soon enough. We are in the midst of an unprecedented battle with a contagion that attacks our lungs and immune system, so we need to focus on more than skin deep.

Currently, we are helping patients self-manage their physical aging process by making available at-home treatments and medical grade skincare. Arguably more important is helping provide resources for management of their internal wellbeing such as strengthening their immune system and keeping spirits lifted. Part of good mental health during this time is making plans and getting excited for all the aesthetic procedures they can enjoy post-covid-19!

Dr. Anthony Youn, America’s Holistic Plastic Surgeon:

I closed my office on March 17, once it became clear what we were dealing with. Although some doctors continued to perform cosmetic procedures the rest of that week, most doctors were shut down by that Friday. The only ones currently performing cosmetic procedures today are considered unethical, as the resources are better saved for covid patients.

In general, [celebrities] aren’t [maintaining their fillers and botox]. The good thing is that these treatments have good longevity. Filler can last 1-2 years, and Botox 3-4 months. Although some may find these treatments beginning to wear off, I think we will see much more of this over the next month or two. Good skincare at home can really keep the skin looking youthful, though, in the meantime. Once the Botox wears off, the wrinkles will start to return and eventually the faces start to deflate. There are some simple alternatives to in-office treatments: substitute adhesive silicone wrinkle pads for your Botox, substitute lip plumping gloss for your lip filler, substitute dermal rollers for microneedling, substitute brightening creams for IPL.

I do not know of any doctors conducting home visits for cosmetic treatments, as it would be against the stay-at-home orders in most states. The states that do not have a stay-at-home order aren’t those states where cosmetic procedures are quite as popular, as well. Using PPE in today’s health care climate as a way to do at-home visits for cosmetic treatments would be considered unethical in my book. Any doctors doing that today should be ashamed of themselves.

Dr. Marc Mani, Beverly Hills:

The aesthetic industry in general has changed, as elective procedures are not possible or prudent now. Many plastic surgeons are doing a lot of online education, conferences, spending time educating and learning from other surgeons because we love what we do so much and won’t let this get in the way of advancing it. I had to postpone a lot of major procedures, but I have a full schedule of virtual consults I’m doing right now, getting things ready for when we do come back.

The nice thing about aesthetic surgery is that it’s visual—I can get almost as much information from photos and a video consult as I can in person—and then when it’s possible, I will follow up with an in-person consult to make final plans. I am only seeing patients in my office who have acute problems, nothing cosmetic and no home visits now.

I’ve been in touch with some of my high-profile patients and they are fine just sitting tight and focusing on what’s important right now. All those things can be picked right up in short order when it’s safe. Until then, it’s all about skin care and lighting for the social media appearances. I can only hope some [celebrities] with too many fillers will look more natural [when social distancing ends.] Sometimes when you let them wear off, it’s better to start fresh with something natural like judicious fat transfer or a permanent stem-cell infusion. The best thing to do at home now is good skin maintenance. Celebrities and regular people alike will keep aging during this period, and maybe everyone will become less self-conscious about their appearance in a good way. Then when we’re back we’ll keep them fresh and natural.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

Somewhat on topic, somewhat not: It seems that at least from the land of publicized plastic surgeons, it seems to be a male dominated field, despite the fact that traditionally (this has increasingly changed) those that desire elective plastic surgery have been women.

Is there a reason plastics seems to attract mostly men? Or why high profile, celebrity plastic surgeons seem mostly to be men?

It’s oddly difficult to find a statistic for the gender breakdown of practitioners through google. It is mostly about procedures.