2 COVER STORY
SATURDAY-SUNDAY NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER1 2013 The Korea-Herald
‘Petit’ surgery promises ‘natural’ look
By Park Han-na
A South Korean actress recently returned to the small screen with a new weekend drama after a two-year hiatus. When the first episode aired, discussion immediately erupted online about whether she had plastic surgery.
Her agency denied the accusation and said her face was swollen because of fatigue while filming.
One online user, however, retorted: “She could say she didn’t go under the knife as fillers are not counted as plastic surgery these days.”
It’s not just celebrities. On Mondays, office workers and students often come back from the weekend with subtly changed faces, which naturally sparks suspicion.
Youn Choon-shik, a dermatologist at Yemiwon Aesthetic Clinic in Gangnam, southern Seoul, defines the latest trend in the Korean cosmetic surgery market as a preference for “natural looks.”
“Patients now prefer natural looks rather than noticeable changes,” Youn said.
In a country where one in five women has undergone cosmetic surgery, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more people are opting for “petit” surgery. It refers to simple nonsurgical procedures using injectable fillers or Botulinum toxin type A, better known as Botox.
In 2011, 145,000 Botulinum toxin procedures were performed, making it the most popular in Korea, according to the ISAPS.
The figure far exceeded the total number of Korea’s three most popular cosmetic operations — lipoplasty, breast augmentation and rhinoplasty — conducted in the same year which totaled 117,000 procedures. Hyaluronic acid, the most popular type of dermal filler, ranked second on the list with 90,000 procedures.
These “injectables” have been half-jokingly called the “fountain of youth” for the elderly, but now the range of patients includes the very young as well.
“For younger patients it can improve facial deformities and for the older generation it can offer rejuvenation,” said plastic surgeon Seo Young-tae at ID Hospital.
The facial fillers have strengths that both doctors and patients recognize. They are more affordable than other cosmetic surgeries, and offer instant results and quick recovery.
“I didn’t worry about aftereffects too much because it was just one injection taking only five minutes,” said Min Sung-a, a graduate student who had Botox injected into her jaw muscles to slim down her face, long a concern of hers.
“There wasn’t a huge change in my face shape but some friends told me that I looked like I’d lost weight. It made me feel good.”
Botox is a toxin-based drug that can paralyze the muscle. It is not only used to rejuvenate wrinkled faces but also to reduce the size of the muscles in the calf and jaw.
Fillers, on the other hand, restore volume to hollow areas such as tear trough and smile lines.
Kim Hee-joo, a 31-year-old office worker, received injectable fillers to lift her nose tip and boost her confidence.
“My job requires me to have frequent meetings and negotiations with many people. Confidence in appearance is not all but it certainly helps me to deal with other people,” Kim said.
The hospital where she had her consultation recommended liposuction for her chin and a nose job, which would have cost 3.5 million won ($3,300). Instead, she decided to opt for nose filler for 300,000 won.
“I wanted to see how my nose would look if I got a nose job. So I had the filler injection which seemed a lot safer than real surgery,” Kim said.
Youn emphasized the temporary nature of the fillers: “They are not permanent. It’s like you can control and modify clay, unlike cement, which you have to break when it gets solidified.”
Some fillers can be dissolved with another injection and those made from hyaluronic acid are absorbed into the body over time.
But this also means a greater risk of overdosing and more money spent on revisiting the hospital every six months to a year. The prices for dermal filler treatments vary from 50,000 won to over 500,000 won, based on where they are injected and the dosage.
Both Min and Kim were told by their surgeons to get another injection in a few months to maintain the effect.
Thanks to a boom in non-invasive cosmetic procedures, South Korea’s filler and Botox market, including both imported and domestically produced products, was worth an estimated 104 billion won in 2012, up from 65.9 billion won in 2010, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Domestic firms such as Huons, Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co. and LG Life Sciences developed their own Botox and filler, targeting the growing international demand.
Doctors also have had to keep up with new injection techniques. In September, a seminar hosted by the Korean Society of Surgeons, an association with over 2,000 registered medical professionals, expanded programs related to “petit” surgery.
“We decided to reflect the trend of cosmetic procedures in which surgeons show interest to stay competitive,” said Lee Dong-yoon, head of the association.
Under the current law, Botox and fillers can be injected by any doctor with a medical license.
Not surprisingly, as the market has got bigger, the number of cases of negative side effects reported has surged as well. According to data released by nongovernmental organization Consumer Korea, 233 reports of negative side effects related to Botox were filed in the first half of this year. The majority of reports involved inflammation and skin damage. In one severe case, one patient even reported partial loss of vision.
The side effects often hit patients who receive the treatment at hair salons and skin care clinics with no license to administer such injectables. They also sometimes use unproved products that could pose serious risks.
“The most important thing is that you have to find well-trained specialists. You need to look into the doctor’s specialty and how much experience he has. Price is the next thing to think about,” Youn said.
Young seek faces of the stars
Korean teens drawn to plastic surgery to look like celebrities
By Yoon Min-sik
Just a decade ago, a celebrity openly talking about his or her plastic surgery was a rare thing. In recent years, however, it’s become not so uncommon for stars to “bravely” confess their experience under the knife.
Popular female singers such as Goo Ha-ra of K-pop girl group KARA and Baek Ji-young have talked about their surgeries on TV. Hwang Kwang-hee of boyband ZE:A has even embraced the gimmick of being a “seonghyeong-dol” — (a combination of the Korean words for plastic surgery and idol), making jokes about his numerous surgeries.
With the media no longer making a fuss about plastic surgery, more teenagers are starting to develop positive sentiments toward cosmetic surgeries and, unsurprisingly, many are tempted to go under the knife themselves.
“I think it’s better (for celebrities) to honestly admit that they had plastic surgeries, rather than to lie,” said a 17-year-old high school student. She said that plastic surgery is for “satisfaction with oneself” and should not be frowned upon.
“We’re too young to actually do it, but we all talk about plastic surgery and looks. A lot of my classmates even put on makeup during class,” said a 14-year-old middle school student surnamed Lee. “One of my friends said she will force her parents to allow her to get plastic surgery this winter,” she said.
Kim Dong-ha of BEFOR Plastic Surgical Clinic said that celebrities having a plastic surgery procedure is one of the key motivations that encourages minors to go in for surgery.
“Students look at (celebrities after they’ve had) surgery and think, ‘Wow, they’ve become pretty.’ This gives them the urge to undergo surgery too,” he said.
The threshold for the age at which teenagers experience plastic surgery seems to have lowered significantly in the past few years.
Local plastic surgery clinic ID Hospital said that from January 2011 to May 2013, the proportion of teenagers among the total number of patients grew from 6.6 percent to 10.9 percent. And it is not always kids who tug the hands of their parents, either.
“Some parents try to persuade their children to have plastic surgery, but the kids refuse it,” Kim said. He said not many parents object to their children getting plastic surgery, as long as it is not too risky or expensive.
Another surgeon, Kim Jee-wook of Spropose Plastic Surgery, said those parents are looking to boost their children’s confidence. “From the parents’ perspective, a child’s complex can affect school grades and relationships with classmates. So if it (plastic surgery) helps with children’s morale, parents can react positively toward it,” he said. Kim added that about 20 percent of people who visit his hospital for surgical consultations are minors.
Experts say that Korean society’s emphasis on appearances is driving teens to take steps to look like their idols.
“With the development of media and social network services, more people are focused on superficial aspects — such as appearances — than actual human relationships,” said Kim Tae-hoon, a psychiatrist at Sarang Samtue Mental Psychiatric Clinic. 사랑샘터 정신과 김태훈 원장은 “미디어와 SNS가 발달하면서 더 많은 사람들이 실질적인 인간 관계보다 외모와 같은 피상적인 면에 더 관심을 가지게 됩니다.”고 언급하였습니다. Such emphasis on looks is stronger in cyberspace. 사이버 공간에서 외모에 더 많이 치중하게 된다. Many of the profile photos on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are digitally altered and modified to highlight the users’ positive features. 트위터나 페이북과 같은 SNS 공간에서 수많은 프로필 사진들이 디지털화로 변화하고 보다 더 긍정적인 특징을 나타내도록 중점을 주게 됩니다.
Kim said that although many of his young patients have complained about problems caused by their looks, he is opposed to the idea that plastic surgery can help students with low self-esteem. “Many students who have a complex about their looks are not really that ugly. In those cases, I found that the students or their parents are immature,” he said. Kim added that those parents tend to subliminally think that women “cannot survive unless they are pretty.”
김원장은 정신과에 내원하는 수많은 청소년들이 자신의 외모에 대해서 자신없어 하지만 성형 외과 수술이 그들의 낮아진 자존감을 회복하는데 꼭 도움이 되지 않는다고 주장하였다. 김원장은 “ 자신의 외모에 콤플렉스를 가지는 수많은 학생들이 실제로 외모가 떨어지는 것은 아닙니다. 이런 경우 대부분 미성숙한 청소년이나 그들의 부모가 아이가 외모가 떨어진다고 생각합니다.”고 언급하였다. 그는 추가적으로 “그러한 부모들은 여자들이 예쁘지 못하면 사회경쟁에서 살아남기 힘들다고 무의식적으로 생각하는 성향을 가지고 있습니다.”며 추가적으로 언급하였다..
Chun Sang-chin, professor of sociology at Sogang University, attributed the mounting interest in one’s looks to intensified competition within the society. He said the elements of competition are now seen in relationships between friends and even spouses, which have traditionally belonged in the realm of intimacy.
Chun’s interpretation is in line with the typical Korean concept that “looks can give you a competitive edge.” But why does such competition start so early?
“People are seeking to become competent as early as possible. The teenage years used to be a ‘moratorium’ period (for such social competition), but not anymore,” he said.
As more teenagers rush to alter their looks, even plastic surgeons are voicing their concerns about the potential dangers of going under the knife too young.
“For (plastic surgery procedures on) your eyes, you have to be at least in your second or third year in middle school. And for nose jobs, high school at least,” said Kim Jee-wook of Spropose Plastic Surgery, adding that he would not recommend that youngsters surgically alter their skeletal structure.
He said the best age to go for surgery would be after the Korean age of 20 — or 19, as age is determined in the West.
In light of underage plastic surgery becoming a social issue, Saenuri lawmaker Lee Jae-young in January proposed a bill that would ban plastic surgery for those under the age of 19.
The still-pending bill touched off controversy about whether the state has a say in a person’s decision to alter his or her looks. Opponents of the bill say that if the country bans plastic surgery and does not address the problem of people placing too much emphasis on appearance, the law is only going to instigate illegal practices.
Plastic surgeons concur that legislation is not an ideal way to deal with the issue of underage plastic surgery.
Rather, students and their parents must take precautions and ask themselves: do I really need this surgery? After all, even though plastic surgeons can change a person’s face, make them thinner, or even make them look younger, they are not miracle workers.
“Plastic surgery is not magic. People must not expect for it to change them completely,” said Kim Dong-ha of BEFOR Plastic Surgical Clinic.
출처 2013년 11.30-12.01 코리아 헤럴드