5 Things you Didn’t Know About Plastic Surgery in South Korea

BY ELYSHA LAI & EUGENIA LIEW

Say hello to the 21st Century where cosmetic treatments are so common that millennials are getting botox and filler jabs during their lunch breaks. Here are some truths you probably didn’t know about the aesthetics scene in the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World.

Your favourite K-Pop stars are stunningly beautiful, but you didn’t think that those perfectly sculpted noses and jaw lines were natural, did you? Widely known as the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World, South Korea is the most cosmetically enhanced country in the world. It is estimated that between one fifth and one third of the women in South Korea have gone under the knife. While plastic surgery used to be taboo, modern society has become a lot more accepting of it as a means to pursue physical perfection.

Want to find out more about the aesthetics scene in Korea? Read on for five fun facts!

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  1. Gangnam is the Beverly Hills of Korea.
    They are alike in that Gangnam is the most popular district for plastic surgery. There are plastic surgery advertisements pasted all over the subway station and streets, and the district alone has over 500 clinics and hospitals!
  1. Many Korean girls pay to have bigger eye bags
    Not dark eye circles, but little undereye “pouches” called aegyo sal! The term directly translates to “eye smiles”. The puffiness gives women the prized “baby face” appearance.
  1. They are also obsessed with “small faces”.
    Another part of the Korean definition of beauty is having a small face. The girls like taking photos from a top-down angle, and tend to stand farther away in their photos to give an illusion of a narrower and slimmer face. Hence, the jaw reduction surgery is one of the most popular procedures in the country.
  1. A Korean clinic got FINED for putting 2,000 jaw bone fragments on display!
    Jaw reduction surgery is so popular that in 2014, a plastic surgeon (whose clinic is in Gangnam) decided that it was good idea to put 2,000 bone fragments (that came from hundreds of jaw reduction surgery patients) in a see-through display at his clinic. Of course, his marketing plan backfired: He was fined 3 million won for not properly disposing of his patients’ “leftovers”, which were classified as biohazards.
  1. Plastic surgery is a significant component of the country’s tourism industry.
    Seoul has a made a name for itself, and it seems to be selling quite well! Around 10 percent of South Korea’s tourism come from the medical sector.

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