source: The Washington Post
Cosmetic surgery and skin clinics in South Korea recorded a 10 percent jump in sales in the first 10 months of 2020 from the previous year, according to a survey by the Hana Institute of Finance in Seoul.
That boost came without the normal medical tourists from overseas who flock to South Korea, a center in Asia for cosmetic surgery and one of the world’s best-known locales for aesthetic procedures.
The demand these days is nearly all local.
Rhee said many have taken advantage of the coverage offered by masks to get cosmetic work done.
“We have seen a jump in nose jobs and wrinkle treatment among older people,” he said.
What else is hot? Eyelift or eye bag removal, he said. Body contouring and liposuction, too.
“Because,” he said, “people are not working out as much while staying at home.”
Some South Koreans — mainly women, but an increasing number of men as well — have become more self-conscious about lines or bags around their eyes because that’s the only part of their face visible in a masked world.
There is also the Zoom effect — noted by some clinics in the United States and elsewhere — in which the chats with co-workers double as digital mirrors for people to stress over perceived wrinkles and lines. The result: a spike in Botox treatments.
Rhee’s patients include people like Kim, a woman in her 30s, who spoke on the condition that she is identified only by her surname out of privacy concerns. She had extra time and money on her hands after her vacation abroad was canceled last year.
“I’ve been considering it for the past five years, and the pandemic year turned out to be perfect timing,” she said.
Kim had what’s known in South Korea as “aristocrat surgery,” the removal of laugh lines she believes made her look older.
“My doctor told me it usually takes a week for post-surgical recovery, but I could actually go to work the day after the operation, as I was wearing a mask at the office the whole day,” she said. “My laugh lines were recovering underneath the mask as I was working.”
South Korea has the fifth-highest number of plastic surgeons in the world, with more than 2,500 in 2019, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. That’s fewer than the 6,900 in the United States and the more than 6,000 in Brazil, but higher on a per capita basis.
Lee Eun-hee, a professor of consumer studies at Inha University in Incheon, said it reflects the country’s obsession with physical appearance.