SÃO PAULO—With face masks obligatory across many Brazilian cities, the wealthy are relying ever more on Botox to get the perfect, wrinkle-free forehead. Beauty clinics say demand for the cosmetic treatment has as much as doubled here since the pandemic began.
“People now look each other in the eye more, in the eyes and the forehead—just where their wrinkles are,” said Aline Medici, who owns a franchise of 21 beauty clinics across Brazil, Ad Clinic, with her husband. Over the past few months, they struck deals to open another nine clinics, even as the country plunged into recession.
While face masks have brought scrutiny to the forehead and region around the eyes, the traditional areas for Botox injections, dermatologists also attribute the boom to videoconferencing. After months of staring at themselves during Zoom calls, Brazilians—many only in their early 30s—have emerged from lockdown convinced they need cosmetic help.
“I couldn’t bear looking at my face any longer,” said Deliza Costa, a 32-year-old sales executive, who had Botox injected in June. “It seemed like I was frowning the whole time. I ended up paying more attention to my face than the call.”
Brazil was a world leader in cosmetic treatments even before the pandemic. With a fraction of the per capita income of rich nations, Brazil performed more plastic surgeries than any other country in the world in 2019, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. For nonsurgical procedures such as Botox, it ranked third, behind the U.S. and Japan.
While data on Botox injections this year in Brazil isn’t yet available, dermatologists and beauty clinics in major cities such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro say they are carrying out around 20% to 100% more treatments a month than they did before the pandemic. It is partly due to pent up demand, they say, after many establishments closed down in March and April. However, they are also seeing an influx of Botox first timers. Many of them are men.
“I’ve never done so much Botox as I have during the pandemic, and I’ve never seen so many men coming in,” said Eliandre Palermo, head of the São Paulo branch of Brazil’s Society of Dermatology, who has her own clinic in the city. The number of new clients increased by 60% during the pandemic, she said.
Many men were cajoled into getting Botox by their wives after spending months cooped up together during lockdowns, dermatologists said.
“I was worried my friends would make fun of me,” said Luis Ferreira, a 32-year-old pharmaceutical representative, who got a Botox treatment in July. He said he had never spent so much time with his girlfriend before the pandemic and had learned a lot about cosmetic