Global epidemics alter the normal lifestyle of people. For instance, the coronavirus infection has limited physical interactions in schools, markets, and workplaces. As a result, many people have adopted the internet and various social media platforms as the primary platform for interaction and sharing information. According to previous research, many people, especially women who interact with others in streets and other social gatherings, are sensitive on how they look and may spend significant costs to ensure their skins are healthy and adorable. On the other hand, individuals with little physical interaction tend to care less about their looks and skin health. In addition, the high internet usage has contributed to the rise of various trends in various lifestyle habits, which are evident in many nations. Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the current perception of skincare and corona-phobia trends in the world. In the article, “Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on population-level interest in Skincare,” Symum et al. conducted a trends-based Infodemiology study using Google evidence in November 2020 to examine the trends in skincare during the coronavirus pandemic. (1) While Google was used during the establishment of skincare trends during the coronavirus pandemic, the findings are prone to errors due to poor sampling and biased data collection.
Symum et al. (2020) conducted a study using Google trends to investigate whether there were major changes for skincare in population interest due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The authors obtained everyday COVID-19 data of reported cases in the pandemic’s web tracker from 23 countries globally between January and August 2020. Google trends information for each specific country from January 2015 to August 2020 was collected with “skincare” as the search term. A quasi-experimental time series analysis was administered to determine the extensive effects of COVID-19 skincare-associated search inquiries globally. The analysis required identifying the ideal autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) for each country and relative search volume (RSV). Various periods were then tested concurrently to assess the extent of the interruption. The results revealed that since the declaration of COVID-19 as a worldwide pandemic, 17 of the 23 countries showed an increase in RSV than ARIMA for skincare. Additionally, there was a connection between lockdown and the total COVID cases and people’s interests in skincare. The authors stated that the findings were crucial because they would enable health officials to understand the changes in the interests of individuals concerning skincare. In turn, health officials could advance educative information and preventive measures for skin disorders. To conclude, the authors suggested conducting further research to determine the cause of increasing public interest in skincare treatment.
Due to the rise of the COVID 19 pandemic, the daily living patterns of people have gradually changed. For instance, the restrictions on physical interactions have led to the adoption of social media and the internet as the new communication and interaction channels. According to Su et al., most people maintain good skin and look to impress others during physical interactions. As such, Symum et al. conducted this study to investigate the perception and population interest in skin maintenance during the coronavirus epidemic. (2) While the outcomes of this study revealed the current trends in the population’s interest in skincare, there were limitations relating to the sample selection and assessment. The authors conducted a Google trends-based Infodemiology study to investigate the changes in public interest in skincare. However, the inclusion design was prone to selection bias. For instance, only 23 countries were involved in this study, despite the global impact of the coronavirus disease. Besides, the participation in the current trend of investigating the changes in skincare was limited to computer literate individuals and had access to the internet. Although the authors claim that most people have access to the internet, there should be no discrimination against the minority study population. (3) As such, the researchers could have considered the input of individuals with no internet access during the experiment. The estimation of public interest was based on the Google search engine. Nevertheless, Google trends are associated with several assessments and estimation errors. For instance, the Google search engine ignores typing and spelling errors, resulting in bias estimation of public interest. According to Saha and Battle, typographical errors lead to significant changes in the study trend hence establishing unreliable results. (4) In addition, bypassing slight spelling errors during the establishment of changes in the skincare trends could exclude participants from the study, especially those with less computer knowledge. Some researchers may argue that the inclusion criteria in this study were wide enough to represent the general population. According to the current trends in internet access, more than 60% of the general population have internet devices that help them to access social media platforms and other websites. (5) Therefore, a higher percentage of the study population could efficiently access the internet, hence accurately estimating the skincare trends. However, Villanti et al. refute by claiming that a significant number of people prefer other search engines other than the Google; hence the findings could not be generalized. (6) To sum up, the assessment of such changes by Symum et al. faced notable limitations such as bias, participatory and typographical errors; hence more studies should be conducted to evaluate the skincare trends using other search engines such as Yandex and Baidu.
In conclusion, the skincare trend during the coronavirus pandemic has experienced significant changes. Due to the limited social interactions, many people have changed their focus and perception of their skin conditions. However, it is important to be careful when generalizing the current skincare trends due to notable shortcomings in this study. For instance, the data obtained from Google represents individuals with active internet access only; hence the skincare trends may vary on internet non-users. Besides, the errors experienced during the study, such as typographical errors, could likely affect the real trend patterns, resulting in inaccurate findings. Since the internet has become the primary interaction platform, the health sector should use technological advances to advocate for proper skin care and other healthy practices during the coronavirus pandemic to minimize adverse post-COVID 19 effects. Besides, individuals should freely express their perception of the various lifestyle habits through social media to allow the government to take necessary actions that can enhance the livelihood of its citizens.
- Symum H, Islam MF, Hiya H, Ali KM. Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on population-level interest in Skincare. Evidence from a google trends-based Infodemiology study. medRxiv. 2020 Jan 1.
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