Monday, February 18, 2013

Korean Beauty Secrets: #3 Plastic Surgery

Part 3: Plastic Surgery 


In recent years Plastic Surgery has become a HUGE phenomenon in Korea and nowadays you will have a pretty hard time finding someone of legal age, especially female, who hasn't had at least 1 procedure done. The graph below from the Economist shows the top ranking Countries in the World for Surgery. It is even more surprising that Korea ranked #1 when you consider how tiny it is in comparison to some of the other Countries on the list such as Brazil and the USA.

Despite Korea's small size, one can understand why surgery is becoming so popular when advertisements for it are plastered all over billboards, trains, tv and popular sites like naver, chosun etc are covered in adverts for surgery to change your face, make certain parts of you bigger/sex tips, and making other parts of you smaller/weight loss. 

Your complexion is just as important, if not more important than your height and body proportions; even if you are short, you can make up for it with a pretty face. The way you look can massively affect the initial impression you make on people and sometimes Koreans will even go as far as to determine your personality based solely on your looks. Koreans are also pretty straight forward and will have no problem or see nothing wrong with saying straight out if they think someone is unattractive or overweight.

Having a pretty face can get you a long way in Korean society. Firstly you can get better jobs and walk straight into a job more easily if you are attractive. Korea still has rather limp discrimination laws so no one is going to get into trouble for hiring someone on the grounds of being hot. The second reasoning is your marriage prospects open up quite significantly, especially if you're a girl. Your social status is tied to your spouse's so people will do anything to be attractive to a larger amount of potential fiancés. 

Yet people still deny she has had work done... 

When considering your future career path, plastic surgeon or dermatologist is a popular choice for many not only because they are the most high paying jobs but they also have low working hours. Because of the large amount of Clinics now open, there is a lot of competition between Surgeons desperate to get people to go to their clinic instead of the one next door. This has caused prices to drop and drop and technology for surgery to develop rapidly.

With the cost of procedures dropping lower and lower, more and more people started getting it, to the point where eye/nose surgery is now common as getting braces. To many Koreans braces and surgery are now viewed as the same thing: both alter your appearance through artificial means. 
Even males and older people nowadays are getting plastic surgery and pretty much all of the male idols on TV will have had at least one procedure, and you can often see ahjummas on the subway with double eyelids. 

At least someone can make a joke about it

The face can be divided into two elements: skin and features. Your facial features includes your eyes, mouth, nose, ears and even bone structure (jaw and cheek bones). And the second feature, your skin, focuses on the condition of your skin, wrinkles, acne etc. 

Here are the common procedures: Double eyelids, lengthening of the eye horizontally and enlarging the under eye bags. For those of you who don't know what that is, check out the photo below:

Western shaped thin, but sharp noses with a high bridge are "in" in Korea. It is probably one of the more important features on your face because of a popular belief that having a big nose is a sign of clumsiness and stupidity. Most procedures include having your nose made thinner whilst adding an implant to make the bridge higher and nose seem more pointed rather than the typical flat Asian nose. 


Your jawline determines the size and shape of your face and in Korea, the smaller your face is the more attractive you are. This procedure is very expensive ($20,000+) and very painful in comparison to getting your nose or eyes fixed, but is still very popular as you can alter the shape and size of your entire head in just 1 procedure! Not only is a small face considered attractive, a pointed jaw (commonly known in Korea as the V-Line) is very lusted after so this procedure is great for not only making your face seem smaller but for giving you a pointed chin rather than a rounder face.

Actress Park Minyoung before and after getting her jaw shaved

Having good skin is very important. You could have the best body proportions and the most attractive face in the entire country, but with bad acne you are nothing more than an Orc. In the West it is only really girls that use a billion facial products, ranging from cleanser, toner, moisturiser, eye cream, anti-aging cream, foundation, etc. However, I was shocked the first time I saw that over here it's pretty standard for GUYS to use all of those products too! 

Of course you can use all of these products to make your skin at least appear better, as this article is about cosmetic procedures I will at least mention the procedure that goes with Skin: Chemical peel. This procedure is basically where you cover your face in a chemical solution until the top layer(s) of skin eventually "peels" away, leaving you with an un-scared, smoother and less wrinkled layer. 

Final Notes:

  • Glue and circle lenses do a lot for enlarging your eyes if you cant afford surgery
  • Gangnam-gu has the best but also the most expensive surgeons
  • Go to your local GP if you suffer from bad acne, they can normally do a lot to help you

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