South Korea makes headlines across Asia and the West for its alleged obsession with cosmetic enhancements. When the entire population is taken into account, Korea has the highest rate of cosmetic plastic surgery in the world. And according to plastic surgery statistics, for every 1000 Koreans, 16 have had cosmetic improvement of some sort.
In Seoul itself, cosmetic surgery and beauty treatment clinics are everywhere. The district of Gangnam in downtown Seoul is acclaimed as the beauty belt of Korea, whereby cosmetic clinics flood the streets lining side-by-side and stacked sky-high.
In modern-day Korea, cosmetic plastic surgery is not only limited to the female gender. A 2010 survey conducted by a Korean employment website found that 44% of male college students were contemplating aesthetic surgery.
Korean pop idols and celebrities have long been renowned for their subtle transformations over time despite many refuting the mere notion of plastic surgery. Nowadays, celebrities are finding it more difficult to deny having gone under the knife; especially when the media reveals past photos and comparing them to images taken during elementary or high school days.
In recent times though, several famous Korean entertainers have confessed to dabbling with surgical procedures. Leading the way is KARA’s Goo Hara who openly admitted to having some minor adjustments to enhance her face with double eyelids and fillers injected into her nose. The actress, Park Min Young, has also come clean with admissions to having done plastic surgery whilst in junior high school: double eyelid surgery as well as nose surgery to correct a crooked nose.
The recent re-unification of the 1990s boy band Shinhwa saw 3 of its members confessing to having had plastic surgery on KBS2 TV’s “Win Win” show. All three spoke of the pressure of having to look impeccable in the entertainment industry, and succumbing to peer- group pressure.
Another popular boy band Super Junior also has one of its members admitting to plastic surgery. In 2011, the singer by the name of Shindong had double eyelid surgery and was reportedly thrilled with his new improved look.
Kim Hyun Joong, a popular Korean singer-actor also admitted during an appearance on a Korean comedy talk show that he had undergone rhinoplasty after injuring his nose. One half of the duo from the group Fly to the Sky – Hwanhee – was criticized by the media for his face altering image. He later broached the subject by confessing to having plastic surgery to improve his image.
The onset of famous Korean entertainers openly admitting that they have undergone some form of surgical procedure has encouraged more and more individuals to have plastic surgery. Nowadays, star-struck fans accept the fact that some stars were shaped with the help from plastic surgeons. And with the rise in Asian tourists admiring the beauty standards of Korean celebrities, many travel to Korea for cosmetic surgery determined to have their image crafted to the standards of their Korean idols.