Medical tourism: Are South Korea’s cheap botox clinics a beauty bargain or the next ‘Turkey teeth’?

Inside South Korea’s viral beauty clinics – the place botox prices solely €20.
Despite its hostile border, South Korea has by no means struggled to lure in guests, attracting a whopping 17 million vacationers yearly.ADVERTISEMENTIt’s straightforward to know why. The nation has one thing for fairly actually all people: whether or not you’re a part of the Ok-pop cult, a spicy road meals fanatic, historical past geek, or merely an admirer of the conventional (and extremely Instagrammable) hanok structure.But, rising on the skyline of Seoul is a new development that has vacationers flocking en masse: botox.Tapping into the nation’s personal obsession with perfection and picture, the beauty process has turn into ubiquitous in South Korea’s capital, the place clinics supply it at all-time low costs.So what’s it like to go to considered one of these cheap botox clinics and are they protected?Beauty requirements in South KoreaThe societal strain to look excellent is tangible on the streets of Seoul, which will be form of intimidating as a vacationer.Everyone is dressed to impress in high-end designer manufacturers and groomed to meticulous element, whereas in some way giving off an air of nonchalance.But South Korea’s image-focused tradition goes a lot deeper than a luxurious wardrobe. The nation boasts the highest price of cosmetic surgery per capita, with experiences stating round one in three South Korean ladies have gone below the knife in some unspecified time in the future of their life.Demand for beauty surgical procedure and injectables has turn into so insatiable the value has turn into extraordinarily aggressive – with some clinics providing botox as little as 29,000 received (round €20).South Korea’s no-frills botox obsessionGangnam – house of the eponymous and grating tune – has turn into the coronary heart of South Korea’s beauty tourism.The neighbourhood is now a concrete jungle of pores and skin clinics and dermatologists that supply a slew of facials, injectables and beauty surgical procedure procedures for costs which are virtually too good to be true.Muse and Lienjang Plastic Surgery are two clinics often visited and endorsed by social media influencers. They have each racked up a formidable following from sharing sufferers’ earlier than and after images, in addition to their newest promotions.ADVERTISEMENTBut these clinics will not be the fluffy form of spa-like experiences present in Europe or the US. There’s no royal-drying gown and classical music when you wait in your remedy. In truth, clinics like Muse and Lienjang function extra like a militant fast-food chain.What’s it like inside a Seoul botox clinic?You self-check in on an iPad and wait till your quantity seems on the TV display screen above you.If you need a espresso you can also make it your self – you’re not going to be served peppermint tea whereas kicking again on the chaise longue.It’s form of nostalgic, actually. It jogs my memory of being eight years previous and ready for my Argos assortment quantity to be referred to as out so I may get my curler skates.ADVERTISEMENTYou can e book an English session, however availability is proscribed they usually go fast. Here, you’ll be requested what sort of procedures you need, the potential unintended effects, and the whole value.Brevity is essential in these conferences. You’ll be instructed to count on swelling and discomfort then have a chip and pin machine shoved in your face.After that you just’re despatched upstairs the place you wash your face with the merchandise offered and put your belongings into a locker.When your title known as you’ll be taken into what appears a little bit like a morgue: a perpetual hall of 20-something-year-olds all dying from the concern of not wanting excellent sufficient.Again, this isn’t a sensual, stress-free atmosphere. You go in, get your remedy, then go away.ADVERTISEMENTSo, in order for you the outcomes and don’t take care of all the thrills, you may like South Korea’s method to beauty tourism. If you’re after a extra lavish and pampered expertise, I’d counsel you go elsewhere.‘I’m hooked’: South Korean botox tourismRaouia Naji is a medical physician from Tunisia who lately visited Lienjang Clinic in Gangnam.The 27-year-old had brow botox, below eye fillers and a microneedle pores and skin booster.In Europe, these procedures would usually rack as much as €1,000 or extra. But in South Korea, they’re obtainable for as little as €158.In an interview with Euronews Travel, Dr Naji explains how she usually sees earlier than and after movies of South Korean clinics pop up on her Instagram and TikTok pages.“At first, my sister tried skincare procedures earlier than her wedding ceremony at the identical place and had such a good expertise, so I used to be tempted too,” she provides.After ready a couple of weeks for the outcomes to totally kick in, Dr Naji says she was “very completely satisfied” with the finish product.“I’m hooked and I don’t assume I’ll strive wherever else however South Korea as a result of they had been so light… I didn’t comprehend it was this cheap.“I need to take all of my mates there!”Is South Korean botox the next ‘Turkey tooth’?As beauty tourism continues to bloom in South Korea, so does concern. Are these procedures being performed safely? Should injectables be so accessible to younger folks? And are Europeans quickly going to be strolling round with frozen faces and drooping eyebrows?In the publish ‘Turkey tooth’ period, extra individuals are conscious of the potential downfalls of going overseas for a beauty makeover. But submitting your tooth to tiny nubs appears to be asking for bother, whereas botox is rapidly changing into seen as a normal process.I spoke to aesthetic surgeon Dr Glyn Estebanez of Prima Aesthetics in Chester, UK to seek out out whether or not botox tourism is as protected as marketed – or if vacationers are risking an excessive amount of to do away with these pesky crow’s toes.“Botulinum toxin is the most toxic neurotoxin and will subsequently be life threatening,” he tells me. “However, when administered in small doses like the ones which are used for botox, it’s thought of to be extraordinarily protected.”What are the dangers of getting botox?The primary dangers with having botox – or any anti-wrinkle injections – will not be from the drug itself, however from remedy that’s carried out by a practitioner who just isn’t certified or skilled, Dr Esetbanez explains.If botox isn’t administered appropriately, or in the appropriate place, problems can happen. These embody an infection, imaginative and prescient issues, respiration issues and momentary asymmetry of the face.However, Dr Esetbanez says problems like these are “uncommon if in the proper palms”.“You need to keep in mind that these procedures are ‘blind’,” he provides. “What I imply by that’s that they’re carried out below a affected person’s pores and skin and, while we are able to have a good thought of the facial anatomy, we’re nonetheless penetrating the pores and skin and muscle mass to position the botox or filler.“If that is positioned incorrectly by somebody with insufficient data it may result in pores and skin necrosis, blindness or paralysis of the muscle mass inflicting deformation of a affected person’s face.”With this in thoughts, it’s essential to vet your clinic and ensure your practitioner possesses the proper {qualifications} and coaching.The invisible aspect impact of botoxIt’s straightforward to know how suffocating the strain to look excellent is for South Koreans, and sadly, it’s a catch 22.I spoke to Dr Esetbanez about a aspect impact of botox that may occur wherever in the world – whether or not you’re in a sketchy salon in South London or a famend clinic in Los Angeles: notion blindness.“What I imply by that is the undeniable fact that we’re redefining our beauty perceptions all the time after remedy,” Dr Esetbanez tells Euronews Travel.“After a few weeks, that recent face turns into the regular face we see in the mirror daily. What can we do then? We’re going to give attention to one thing else and that’s going to trouble us.”This can put sufferers in a weak place.“Unscrupulous practitioners will chase and chase these items, and the affected person then strikes additional and additional away from the pure place to begin. We lose sight of the place we began and turn into centered on the particular person issues.”This can in a short time turn into a “excellent storm” if the practitioner can also be unable to understand the delicate tweaks that improve pure beauty, Dr Esetbanez warns.“Many practitioners sadly endure from notion blindness too, and subsequently give attention to vital transformations which in flip can result in a distortion of beauty.”Post-procedure: How to remain protected in case you get botox on holidayHygiene requirements in Seoul’s beauty surgical procedure clinics appear excessive, and the potential unintended effects of botox – once you’re in the proper palms – appear much less scary than these pearly new whites from Bodrum.But, is it a good thought to journey to any nation for a remedy that may trigger danger? I spoke to Shehzeen Ahmad, managing director at Dubai Cosmetic Surgery, who sees sufferers travelling from throughout the world for botox and different remedies.She advises avoiding locations the place there isn’t a “adherence or strict rules about sufferers’ security” – which is the widespread fault of the Turkey tooth nightmares you see on-line.“It is essential to make sure that you stay in the nation post-procedure to make sure there aren’t any problems,” Ahmad provides. “This timescale can differ from two days to at least one week.”Most clinics additionally advocate returning after a week or two to verify sufficient botox has been injected. They will usually promote cheap bundles the place the second dose is even cheaper.But if all of that is too complicated and conflicting, there may be a simple answer: simply sleep with a frownie patch.

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