Commentary – 1. Is Plastic surgery in South Korea a growing wave? 2. What is the aesthetic trend in Singapore?
Woohoo, this was one massive undertaking in the making. Many thanks to my kickass friends, awesome patients and simply the best clinical team (Noemi, Catherine, Jackie, Lee Lee) who have helped with this project. I am pleased to say, it is finally ready. Praise the Lord =)
Here’s the background: So I have always been curious about things. Guess I am still a child at heart lol. So driven by this curiosity to understand what drives people to beautify themselves, and what aesthetic treatments Singaporeans are doing, under the guidance and expertise of Jebhealth founder Jimmy Boey, we conducted a survey on what drives people to seek aesthetic treatments.
Additionally we were invited to give a commentary on the South Korean Plastic Surgery wave by an International Cosmetic Surgery Journal. Here are excerpts.
Key findings in our survey: (of which > 500 were polled over a 6 month period, and a third responded) We singaporeans are not exactly the most vocal lot lol
Regarding millennials – aka strawberry generation
- 90 % of millennials say looking their best is important for success. To many of them, the question is not what treatment to start. The question is when to start treatment.
- 80 % admit to using apps to modify their appearance before posting on social media. ( We suspect its a lot more lol)
- The key challenge for millennials is cost.
As for our matured audience
- 70% of patients polled say beauty treatments are part and parcel of their daily lifestyle and they are all for preventive self care. (And we certainly expect this socially acceptable trend to grow)
- Key motivation for majority of patients is to look – *less tired* *less saggy* *less angry*
- 60% of patients ( who do not do botox, fillers, threadlifts) mention they would consider injectibles in time to come.
What influences the choice of clinic?
- Word of mouth is still by far the most reliable factor
- Internet – with google reviews being fairly dependable
- Social media – ( No wonder we see so many sponsored posts we see on Instagram and Facebook these days haha)
What are the top 3 concerns patients have regarding choice of treatment?
- Trust – Ultimately it all boils down to how much trust they have for their physician.
- Cost – Money matters are always a concern.
- Safety and efficacy – This is closely related to the trust aspect.
Why do you believe cosmetic procedures are so popular in South Korea?
It is a culture and trend, and commonly, families and friends are supportive of it. The Korean society does not frown upon cosmetic procedures. It is almost a way of life, for those who can afford to give themselves a look good and feel great factor and a subsequent leg up in university and the working world. South Korea has a highly competitive environment, and with photos used in university and job applications, it is a common belief that when 2 candidates are of simliar calibre, the prettier one gets the nod. Personally, I feel there is a prevailing passion for beauty, and consumers seek to be bold and beautiful. In the long run, this helps some of them fulfil their highest, truest, purest expression of themselves, making Asia more beautiful, one face at a time.
A number of sources have cited the male-dominated media as reinforcing their own ideals of what a woman should look like and a culture that judges people on their looks more than their character. From your experience, how true are these claims? Koreans are famed for their high work ethic. Industries which rely on looks do benefit from media influence, and to a certain extent, this has translated into a standardised, widely accepted Korean beauty look. Korean entertainment has boomed, with the successful K wave. The rest of Asia is watching, with Taiwan, China and Indonesia quick to follow suit, and patients requesting for the much famed Korean look. Hence, I feel that the definition of the ideal Asian Beauty is pretty much reinforced by Korean media’s influence.
In South Korea, what are the preferred physical attributes for the ‘ideal woman’ and how do these relate to Western ideals?
Generally, an idealized Korean beauty can be gleaned from Korean beauty paegeants. Some people have gone further to suggest this has led to a growth of a factory clone look for Korean beauty. Common traits are skin that is dewy and glowing, and a face contour that is heart shaped, with a long slender nose, lifted nose tip, V line chin, and rosy apple cheeks.
Many reports attribute the popularity of eyelid surgery to South Korea’s idealisation of Western norms. From your experience, how true do you find this to be? Westerners have double eyelids and almond shaped eyes. Asians tend to have smaller eyes. Asian double eyelid surgery is used to enhance the size and shape of eyes, creating beautiful eyes with a subtle crease. Patient profile in Asian double eyelid surgery falls in the younger age group, seeking to enhance their eyes and create a lifted, fresher look in line with Asian cultural norms and not strictly Western ideals. Western double eyelid surgery on the otherhand is used to reduce droopy eyelids, commonly via surgical fat removal.
What is the aesthetic trend in Singapore in 2019?
In line with our ageing population, growing affluence and increased awareness of projecting one’s best self forward ( be it at work, at play, social media, etc). Hence more and more people are turning to procedures to look and feel their very best.
What are societal influence to beauty AND are there risks?
- Many of us think of beauty in a certain way because we are exposed to such content by social media, the internet and even our family and friends. ‘ We must have korean dewy skin’ , ‘clean and clear skin’, ‘ glowing and radiant skin’
- Beauty is subjective. It should not be based on what others say about you. Your self-esteem/self-respect/self-worth shouldn’t be determined by how other people view you on Instagram, how many likes you have on Facebook etc.
- There is one person who knows you better than anyone else. You, and only you.
- With the rise of social media, it is not uncommon for colourful displays of our very best selves online. Coupled with the Korean Wave, this has fueled a generation that places heavier emphasis on appearance.
- However this wave has led to growing incidence of low self esteem, depression and other mental health issues,most notably amongst our millennials. With growing concern for mental well being, just how much emphasis do we
- place self worth and self identity with our appearance? And, why are people motivated to beautify themselves?
So what are the findings of our survey?
Our survey shows majority of Singaporeans desire healthy skin. For more findings, stay tuned.
So thats all for part 1. Tune in to Part 2 where we reveal findings of our survey and discuss common myths =). Have a bold and beautiful weekend folks!
Dr Daniel Chang
Thanks for your kind words Linda 😊
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