July 28, 2012


Venice has its fabled canals and Istanbul with its amazing Grand Bazaar. Seoul, on the other hand, is known for its Beauty Belt. The city isn’t just the capital of South Korea, it is also swiftly gaining a reputation as the beauty and plastic surgery capital of the world. The Beauty Belt, which boasts hundreds of cosmetic clinics, is essentially a marketplace for plastic surgery. Procedures performed here range from a basic nip and tuck to far more invasive and serious surgeries like the double-jaw surgery, which involves rearranging the jaw line to create the coveted ‘V’ shaped face.
Located in the posh Gangnangu district of Seoul’s southern region, the Beauty Belt is basically a one-stop zone for customers interested in artificial physical transformation. With over 400 beauty clinics, the Belt has increased medical tourism to South Korea over the last few years and sparked an influx of foreigners, especially Chinese from China, who are eager to enjoy the cutting edge technology.
In a country that boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it isn’t enough to look beautiful, one has to appear flawless. Beauty, in other words, is a NATIONAL OBSESSION.
Park Min Young - admitted that she got eyelid surgery and a nose job. I'm thinking jaw-contouring as well
In South Korea, beauty is believed to open many doors, especially for women. Young girls dream of the day when they can get their eyes and their nose done, and appear more attractive. Some of them admit that a pretty face is key to clinching a good job or landing the spouse of choice. While these ideas might seem strange to outsiders, it should not come as a surprise as many cultures around the world place a premium on external beauty. Venezuelans are equally famous for such attitudes and are said to visit beauty surgeons more often than they visit a dentist.

The most requested procedure is probably the double eyelid surgery. Many Asians are born with single eyelids that can often look "hooded." A quick slice and sew up can drastically change the appearance of someone's entire face. This procedure has become so common that most Koreans don't even consider it a plastic surgery, it's more like getting braces. It isn’t unusual to spot women, just out of the clinic, going shopping while wearing masks or sunglasses. Many teenagers are even offered cosmetic surgery from their parents as a reward for doing well in their exams.
Yuri from SNSD, she definitely got eyelid surgery
Park Bom from 2NE1, sad to say but she looks prettier before got her eyelids done. I always wonder how she looks like in person because on camera she constantly looks swollen. She's obviously getting all kinds of injections and.. implants in her eyelids?

Another popular surgery is a fat injection under the eyes. Under eye bags are considered cute in Korea because they cause what are known as "eye smiles," crescent shaped eyes when smiling. This is so ironic because many American surgeons perform just the opposite, blepharoplasty, a procedure to remove eye bags. 
Tiffany from SNSD with her eye smiles

Also popular is "jaw contouring" surgery. Sounds really scary right? Basically the surgeon will shave down the jaw bone for a slimmer face. Anyway, I find it funny when guys say they hate "fake" or "plastic" girls because honestly, how many of them would actually turn down a date with a gorgeous Korean pop star or actress?
They got jaw-contouring & eyelid surgery

Botox. This isn't included as a surgery, but you can bet that almost every Korean celebrity gets it. Models, actors, and pop stars have been known to get Botox as early as 14 years old as a "preventative" measure. Park Min Young admitted to getting Botox injections in her cheeks for her role as Kim Nana in City Hunter in order to have a plumper face.
Park Min Young for Giorgio Armani. Flawless
The current boom in the cosmetic and beauty industry of South Korea shows no signs of stopping but there are costs and consequences. Unfortunately, many of these are not positive. For instance, more and more women are starting to look alike, having copied the features of a celebrity or a starlet.
Despite a tendency to glorify the benefits of plastic surgery, it is becoming increasingly apparent to South Koreans that there is a dark side. At the end of 2011, news of a woman who had hung herself after a surgery went wrong, swept across a horrified nation.
Fascinating facts & surprising statistics
- South Korea is believed to have the world’s highest per capita rate of plastic surgery in pursuit of beauty.
- A 2010 survey in Seoul revealed that 31.5% of residents who are 15 years or older agreed to undergo surgery to improve their looks. It shows a 10% increase compared to the same survey that was conducted in 2007.
- A survey by a market research firm showed that one in every five women between 19 and 49 years of age has had plastic surgery.
- The average South Korean woman’s daily beauty routine includes about 18 different creams, sprays and lotions.
- The number of doctors training to becoming plastic surgeons in South Korea has doubled over the last 10 years.
- Plastic surgery is the biggest and fastest-growing tourism sector in South Korea. About 150,000 medical tourists are expected this year, which is an increase from 120,000 in 2011 and 82,000 in 2010. Words: Shantini S


  1. Good post. This is just in a word: sad. I Loooooove K-dramas, but I thought it was just me when I started thinking that nearly everyone has had some sort of procedure done. Men AND women. Many of them look pretty natural, but some, just like a lot of our American actresses, go extremely overboard and have robotic faces. Someone of half Japanese descent mentioned to me that Koreans are the most 'American,' or I guess White looking out of all the Asian races, but now that I think about it, it's probably because of all the surgeries and 'quick' fixes.
    I liked 'City Hunter' but I thought that Park Min Young's face looked weird and plump as Kim Nana. These are just twenty-something kids and they feel the need for procedures like that? SMH. This entire world places too much emphasis on outer beauty. But that fades. It's unfortunate that many people nowadays can't distinguish the secret person of the heart, the inner qualities that really make a person shine most beautiful.

    1. Thank you! I really like your last words, the inner qualities that really make a person shine most beautiful :)