Like much of the world:, during the COVID-19 pandemic, beauty and cosmetic services in Australia were closed down to control the spread of the virus.
However, many beauty services are used for stress relief or to enhance confidence so the mental effect of these restrictions is unknown. A study was performed to try to understand the relationship between an individual’s focus on appearance and distress because of the closure of beauty services across the country. To perform this study, an online survey was completed by 216 participants who lived in Australia.
These participants varied between having high and low levels of dysmorphic concern to see whether the restrictions would affect various groups of people differently.
The questions in the survey were mainly appearance focussed during the pandemic and the participants feelings towards the closure of beauty services nationwide. The results of the study show that individuals with low body dysmorphic tendencies had less appearance-focussed behaviours during the pandemic, whereas individuals with high body dysmorphic tendencies had an unchanged focus on appearance. Additionally, the participants who lived alone and were younger had higher concern for their looks and had greater stress over the beauty services being closed.
These individuals also had an increased desire to obtain beauty treatments in the future. Although this study revealed some of the attitudes towards the closure of the beauty services in Australia throughout the pandemic, more research is needed to understand the long term mental health priorities during the pandemic.
The restrictions did provide a break from a pressure to look a certain way for people with lower body dysmorphic tendencies but a focus on appearance carried on with individuals with a higher body dysmorphic concern.
*Source Credit https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eat.23385
By Hannah Spalding