During COVID-19 pandemic that occurred globally throughout 2020, has had a negative impact on various areas of life. However, this pandemic has had the opposite effect on the cosmetic or plastic surgery field in South Korea.
Well-known as the ‘capital’ of plastic surgery in the world, the value of this industry actually grew by 9.2 percent or reached 10.7 billion US dollars or approximately Rp.148.6 trillion compared to the previous one.
The largest online plastic surgery platform in South Korea, Gangnam Unni, predicts the value of this business will reach 11.8 billion US dollars or approximately Rp164 trillion in 2021.
Gangnam Unni’s data shows that the number of users experienced a 63 percent increase last year to around 2.6 million people compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, those who consulted increased to 1 million sessions or double compared to the previous year.
This condition is called because many South Koreans are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, where people have to wear masks and do everything from home. To do plastic surgery without worrying about being the center of attention in public places.
This was as stated by Ryu Han Na, a student who underwent plastic surgery on the nose in mid-December 2019. Want to have a good nose, he decided to do plastic surgery, because he can do recovery at home and wear masks in public places.
“I’ve always wanted to do a nose job. I thought it would be best to do it before people start removing masks and vaccines are available in 2021,” he said.
“There will be bruises and swelling from the surgery. But, because we all wear masks, I think it can help (hide them),” continued Ryu who spent 4.4 million Korean Won or approximately Rp. 56.4 million for plastic surgery.
Generally, South Korean people perform plastic surgery on the face, such as the nose and lips that can be hidden behind a mask. Although there are also other facial parts that are favorite for plastic surgery.
“Surgical and non-surgical demands on the eyes, eyebrows, bridge of the nose and forehead (the part not covered by the mask) are definitely increasing,” said Park Cheol-woo, WooAhIn Plastic Surgery Clinic surgeon, who is also in charge of Ryu’s plastic surgery. .
Interestingly, hospitals and plastic surgery clinics ranked third in the absorption of the COVID-19 Pandemic emergency assistance funds in South Korea in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.
Of the 14.2 trillion Korean Won or approximately Rp.182.4 trillion in emergency assistance funds from the government, 10.6 percent was spent on hospitals and pharmacies, although the type was not specified.
“I think it’s a kind of revenge, where customers express pent-up emotions by performing plastic surgery procedures,” said surgeon Shin Sang-ho who operates the Chrismas Plastic Surgery Clinic in Central Gangnam District.
Despite being successful in surviving with a focus on domestic customers rather than overseas amidst restrictions due to COVID-19 that occurred over the past year. The threat of a third wave of the coronavirus remains a concern for industry players.