The Real Push Behind Korean Skincare Trends

korean skincare

The Korean skincare world is bizarre, ever-changing and successful. Korean skincare trends, including snail creams and rubber masks, have even made their way outside of the Asian market.

Although experimenting with various Korean skincare trends will make your skin glow the way it deserves, many people are unaware of what’s consistently pushing the Korean skincare craze to be better, bigger, faster, stronger. Most of the time, Korean skincare trends are highlighted while the reasons behind the beauty obsession is gently put aside, masking the struggles behind the women who are heavily exposed to the industry.

South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world. Twenty percent of women have had some form of cosmetic work done, according to The Washington Post.

Images of women post-surgery have become the main selling point for this quickly developing industry. A portion of the women getting cosmetic work done are high school graduates. The perception that the post-surgery images plastered on subway cars and billboards in South Korea can so easily be achieved is one of the reasons for this ongoing plastic surgery boom.

Through her series “Beauty Room Recovery,” photographer Ji Yeo made it her mission to show the world that undergoing cosmetic surgery is actually a painful process. Ji Yeo took photos of women in recovery after undergoing surgery on their face and/or body in order to show the societal misinterpretation regarding the emotional and physical toll that cosmetic surgery can take on a patient.

As a young Korean woman who has had exposure to the glamorization of cosmetic surgery in South Korea, at one point, it was difficult to remain completely unfazed. Listening to my peers talking about the work they planned to get after our high school graduation and actually seeing the changes they chose to make made me self-conscious of my appearance for a while.

I have not and will not undergo plastic surgery. I am not against it, but I’m simply happy with what I have due to the positive words regarding self-image that I have read, written about and have been told.

It is important to note that the criticism surrounding the growing cosmetic surgery industry that is now imbedded in Korean culture has more to do with the unhealthy perception of the self, rather than the decision to make a physical alteration.

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Ji Hyun

Ji Hyun is a New York-based writer. She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts as a Dramatic Writing major with a concentrate in television writing. She continues to explore her love for sitcoms and Korean culture.