Cosmetic Surgery – A Booming Business In South Korea

“Image is nothing
Thirst is everything
Obey your thirst”

The foregoing slogan may certainly work for Sprite, a brand of the manufacturer Coca-Cola. However, for South Koreans especially those in the entertainment business, image is everything and to say otherwise would be considered anathema.

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Photo Credit:

Today, in South Korea men and women compete for going under the knife. The growth of plastic surgery clinics is said to be phenomenal. South Korea has now gained the reputation of being called the plastic surgery Mecca of the world.

Also, the proliferation and clusters of clinics within certain upscale areas within the country have had them designated as “the beauty belt.”

The fact is, the advance in technology has made plastic surgery affordable and safer, thus allowing easy access by more people. According to a survey by Trend Monitor, one in five women in Seoul had had some type of plastic surgery procedure.

The look of choice or what is considered to be the ideal look among South Koreans is light skin, small nose, wide eyes with double lids, and a small face with a v-shaped chin.

This clone like appearance created a stir in the Miss Korea 2013 beauty pageant recently where contestants were mocked in the media for their similarity in look.

Plastic surgery, a once frowned upon procedure has now become an established and accepted norm as people treat it like any other commodity.  It is widely promoted and advertised on billboards, TV shows, magazines, radio, online, and various other media outlets in South Korea.

In addition, the endorsement of the procedures by celebrities and professionals as well as its promotion within pop culture and films have aided in its acceptance and obsession by most South Koreans.

The procedure is also now encouraged by parents as they implore their children to have it done at an early age to guarantee them an accepted look and moreover gain them popularity among their peers.

The prevailing view that the procedure increases one’s chance of finding a life’s partner, getting a good job and assuring greater respect have also boosted the demand for plastic surgery among South Koreans.∅

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow