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New Yorkers are facing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and it isn’t pretty — prompting them to flock to plastic surgeons to get ready for a summer of fewer masks, more socializing and a return to the office.
“Double the demand is a reasonable statement,” Upper East Side plastic surgeon Dr. Melissa Doft said of her increased bookings in $25,000 facelifts, $12,000 breast augmentations and $15,000 nose jobs.
Dr. Evan Rieder, a dermatologist and psychiatrist added, “They’re coming back [from the Hamptons, Florida and the Berkshires] for procedures they wanted to do but were too scared to come in for” at the height of COVID-19.
The Manhattan doctor said “injectables, Botox, soft-tissue fillers” are the most popular procedures at the moment — with patients especially focused on their soon-to-be-revealed lower faces.
“People have lost their jobs, homes and confidence” over the past year, Rieder said. “Internal stress can manifest, especially on the skin.”
It is much better to return to the world of travel and socializing looking good, including with “new boobies,” East Harmle resident Alexis Williams said.
She told The Post she had $15,000 breast-augmentation surgery as a 30th birthday present to herself last month.
“I’m a whole new woman,” the marketing exec said after the procedure at Rowe Plastic Surgery on the Upper East Side in Manhattan.
“I am very excited after being inside for so long — it makes you appreciate everything: being able to go to the gym … being around people. I am a socialite, it’s a rebirth with a new look,” she said.
“I’m ready to show these things off. I don’t care.”
A “vampire facial” — in which patients’ blood plasma is reinjected using micro-needles to tighten the skin — was the perfect pre-summer pick-me-up for one West Village woman in her early 30s.
The Manhattan woman told The Post that her $1,400 government stimulus check paid for most of the $2,000 procedure.
“People are going to see my face for the first time in like 18 months. Faces are the new cleavage after so much mystery,” she said.
“The only reason I could do this was the stimulus, honestly,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used.
“I know there are better uses of my money, but I just couldn’t go into summer looking like, well, looking like I’d lived through a plague.”
Sharon G., 52, of Huntington, LI, came into the city last month for a mini-facelift, liposuction and breast implants — at a total price tag of $29,000.
“I have been hiding my face with a mask,” she said. “For me, this is self-esteem, truly done for myself and how I feel.
“It makes such a difference in how I feel in the world.”
Another patient — a 36-year-old Murray Hill resident — had a tummy-tuck two weeks ago, after a second baby.
“I need to get my confidence back,” the Manhattan woman explained.
“After spending a year inside, I needed to feel better about myself. Being depressed, gaining weight — not seeing my family in California is a downer. I want to look good, to feel good about myself.”
With summer looming just as masks may be lowering — at least for some gatherings among the safely vaccinated — it’s now last call for discreet operations, plastic surgeons said.
Timing is everything, noted Manhattan Dr. Lara Devgan, who said most of her patients feel “restaurant ready” about two weeks after facial plastic surgeries — and prepared for anything after four to six weeks.
“So the next two months are an ideal window for recovery in time for socializing this summer,” Devgan said.
She said she is seeing many more requests for facelifts, neck lifts and “facial optimization–” a combination of subtle surgery and injectable facial contouring.
“Real life happens face-to-face, not behind a filtered selfie, and I think all of us are thinking about how we want to feel when we see other people again,” she said.
“We’ve watched our hairs turn gray, our anxiety levels rise, and our facial furrows deepen — the combination of that, plus unflattering Zoom angles and the desire to recapture what we lost, is also fueling this trend,” she added.
Dr. Haideh Hirmand, another city-based plastic surgeon enjoying an increase in business, said, “With the vaccines now, we see even more of an uptick and urgency to get procedures done.
“Patients are calling saying, ‘I don’t look great, and I haven’t done anything in a long time — I’m used to always having my mask on,’ ” she said.
One of her Baby Boomer patients, who is going through a divorce, recently burst into tears during an eyelift, Hirmand said, crying, “Oh my God, how do people age? This is so hard! How do people reconcile losing what they see in the mirror?”
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