go to content
World

This Is What 6 Faces Look Like After Being Photoshopped By South Korean Plastic Surgeons

TL;DR: our jaws.

Posted on

South Korea is the world leader in cosmetic surgeries. South Korea has had the most cosmetics operations among its population compared to any other country since 2009. And last year, nearly 50,000 overseas visitors travelled to the country for cosmetic surgery. That's a 17 percent increase from the previous year!

Turns out, with that many foreigners traveling to South Korea to go under the knife, there are services that help them do it. One of those is My Seoul Secret, which works as a liaison for westerners trying to navigate the world of South Korean plastic surgery. And not only do they help you once you get to Seoul, they do consultations. So, in order to get a better idea of exactly what it’s like going under the knife there, and why so many people are flocking to the country, six brave members of the BuzzFeed London office sent photographs of themselves over for assessment. Here’s what two practicing surgeons said they would do to our faces.

Views on plastic surgery:

"So I'm really not into plastic surgery — even if I had all the money in the world I just don't think it's something I would do, mainly because the thought of someone cutting me open scares the life out of me, and also because I like my face. I mean, yeah, I could have clearer skin, but that can easily be 'fixed' with makeup."

"She has attractive eyes, but she could see a noticeable enhancement in her facial balance and harmony. Her hairline can be brought down through a hair transplant to make the upper third of her face more proportionate to the lower two thirds.

"A rhinoplasty to lengthen her nose and bring in her alar wings [the sides of the nose] can also improve the aesthetics of her mid-face. Careful concern should be placed to keep her natural ethnic beauty markers. Lower blepharoplasty [eyelid surgery] or fillers can help to treat her tear trough depression, and a brow lift can treat the puffiness of the upper eyelid.

"Facial contouring treatments and orthognathic [jaw] procedures such as anterior segmental osteotomy (ASO) of the mandible along with orthodontics may be an option. This can improve her facial skeletal balance and proportions."

Recommended treatments:

• Acne scar treatment (laser treatment is possible, but peels are safer)

• ASO orthognathic jaw surgery (protruded mouth surgery)

• Jaw reduction and facial contouring

• Jawline or submental facial liposuction

• Rhinoplasty (lateral osteotomy for narrowing the bridge, tip with septal cartilage, alar reduction), short nose correction

• Lower blepharoplasty, under-eye fat graft

• Brow lift

Tolani's reaction:

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

"They're giving me a hair transplant? I wear a weave so maybe...yeah. I feel like a lot of what they say I would probably do with makeup. They want to give me a jaw reduction? Look how thin they've made my nose...I like my nose. To be honest the skin thing I'd probably do with makeup, the under-eye thing with highlighter. But what they said about the jaw I'm not into...but maybe I am.

"Honestly, I don't care. I'm not concerned with it. I'm totally fine with it. I thought they might do a lot more to it. I think the only thing is the nose — it looks like they've contoured it. It looks like a me that eats better, that works out a lot more, that makes an effort with my face. I am into the under-eye and clearer skin, but I could do it with makeup."

Views on plastic surgery:

"I think plastic surgery is good in small doses — it's kind of ridiculous when you see someone who's had it done frequently and badly, but I do think there are some circumstances where people do it as a way to help their self-esteem, and as a confidence builder.

"I've always wanted to have my nose done, and it's something that's bothered me for a long time. I wouldn't want anything crazy, just a small thing to fix something that's always bugged me."

"She has very nice eyes and a petite face. However, her appearance can be enhanced with rhinoplasty to lift her tip, reduce her columellar or nostril show from the side-profile view. She has hollow tear troughs, which can be corrected through fillers or lower-eyelid blepharoplasty (recommended when she ages more), but the discoloration might only be improved through makeup or ongoing skin treatments (depends on the cause of discoloration). A fat graft to the forehead can create a more rounder shape, and cheek implant or fat graft can create a more dimensional face."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning

• Rhinoplasty and tip correction

• Forehead fat graft

• Hairline correction and scalp pigmentation tattoo

• Filler treatment for tear troughs

• Mid-face cheek augmentation (implant or fat graft)

• Lip augmentation via fillers

Laura's reaction:

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

"They've done exactly what I would do — my nose. I hate my nose. I feel like they've made my lips bigger, which is strange. I think they've done a great job on my nose and if I could go and get it done I would.

"If I'm honest I really like this. I never have photos on profile because I hate my nose. I've always wanted the tip a bit thinner. And looking at this it feels like a much better version of me and I want it done. I don't think I'd bother with the lips and fat grafts, but I've looked into tip correction before. I don't feel bad; I know this is something I've always wanted and now seeing this, I know what it could look like. Shit, she's got a good nose."

Views on plastic surgery:

"On one hand, I think that anything that makes people feel better about themselves is good. And when you consider the role plastic surgeries play in the trans community or how they help people with physical deformities, I think it's pretty cool. On the other hand, I think the line between easing body dysmorphia and exacerbating it is very fine and you really need a responsible surgeon.

"Would I ever get plastic surgery myself? I'm not totally sure. There's plenty of stuff I hate about the way I look, but I know I'm too indecisive to ever get a tattoo and plastic surgery to me just feels like an even greater undertaking."

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"He’s handsome. Why does he need surgery? He could have some minor treatments such as correcting the small hump on his nose with a filler. Also he can contour his jawline with Botox and/or liposuction treatments below the chin."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning and CO2 laser spot removal

• Nose hump and retracted left nostril correction via filler injections

• Contouring jaw and neckline via Botox or laser assisted lipolysis

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"He’s handsome. Why does he need surgery? He could have some minor treatments such as correcting the small hump on his nose with a filler. Also he can contour his jawline with Botox and/or liposuction treatments below the chin."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning and CO2 laser spot removal

• Nose hump and retracted left nostril correction via filler injections

• Contouring jaw and neckline via Botox or laser assisted lipolysis

← Slide →
Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"He’s handsome. Why does he need surgery? He could have some minor treatments such as correcting the small hump on his nose with a filler. Also he can contour his jawline with Botox and/or liposuction treatments below the chin."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning and CO2 laser spot removal

• Nose hump and retracted left nostril correction via filler injections

• Contouring jaw and neckline via Botox or laser assisted lipolysis

Ryan's reaction:

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

"Yeah that does look a lot better — I broke my nose in 2009 at Warped Tour, and this is how it used to look. I don't like how they've made my head small. If I can guess why I've had so little changed — I guess a lot of their standards are based on Western ideals, and I'm an over-6-foot white man so...

"I've noticed the chin thing. But it's a weird thing to look at. I would like a much better nose. My dad makes fun of the nostrils...so yeah, they've nailed everything I think about my face."

Views on plastic surgery:

"I had cosmetic surgery on my ears as a kid after developing keloids from piercing. Prior to surgery I spent years with my face covered up and scared of judgment, so since then I've always seen cosmetic surgery as something that can really benefit and change lives.

"As I've grown a bit older and developed body-image issues, I can't pretend like there haven't been times I've looked at aspects I don't like and thought 'there's a quick fix for this.'

"Saying that, my body has survived 23 years of me, and removing a lot of that in a two-hour invasive surgical procedure seems quite extreme."

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"She has youthful volume and complexion. However, her nose is seems a bit short and she has noticeable facial asymmetry on the right side. Facial contouring or bone surgery will help treat this area. Her forehead seems a bit flat from the side view, but it’s difficult to tell because her hair is obstructing the view.

"Rhinoplasty is recommended to lengthen the projection and rotation of her tip as well as an increase her nose bridge height. She may also benefit from submental liposuction below the chin area and a fat graft to the mid-face or cheek area, and possibly forehead."

Recommended treatments:

• Rhinoplasty, short nose correction and increase bridge height

• Facial contouring procedure to correct asymmetry, cheek and square jaw correction and protruding mouth correction

• Fat graft to the cheek and forehead

• Laser-assisted lipolysis for face and neck

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"She has youthful volume and complexion. However, her nose is seems a bit short and she has noticeable facial asymmetry on the right side. Facial contouring or bone surgery will help treat this area. Her forehead seems a bit flat from the side view, but it’s difficult to tell because her hair is obstructing the view.

"Rhinoplasty is recommended to lengthen the projection and rotation of her tip as well as an increase her nose bridge height. She may also benefit from submental liposuction below the chin area and a fat graft to the mid-face or cheek area, and possibly forehead."

Recommended treatments:

• Rhinoplasty, short nose correction and increase bridge height

• Facial contouring procedure to correct asymmetry, cheek and square jaw correction and protruding mouth correction

• Fat graft to the cheek and forehead

• Laser-assisted lipolysis for face and neck

← Slide →
Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"She has youthful volume and complexion. However, her nose is seems a bit short and she has noticeable facial asymmetry on the right side. Facial contouring or bone surgery will help treat this area. Her forehead seems a bit flat from the side view, but it’s difficult to tell because her hair is obstructing the view.

"Rhinoplasty is recommended to lengthen the projection and rotation of her tip as well as an increase her nose bridge height. She may also benefit from submental liposuction below the chin area and a fat graft to the mid-face or cheek area, and possibly forehead."

Recommended treatments:

• Rhinoplasty, short nose correction and increase bridge height

• Facial contouring procedure to correct asymmetry, cheek and square jaw correction and protruding mouth correction

• Fat graft to the cheek and forehead

• Laser-assisted lipolysis for face and neck

Rachael's reaction:

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

"Oh wow — that is a very strong jaw reduction right there. They've changed my nose — my nose is my favourite part of my face, so screw you. Looking at this, it seems like they've really tried to change my face, and I like my chubby face and small nose. It's not my face, it's not me. I can see what they're trying to achieve, it's pretty, but it's not my face. It hasn't changed my mind about anything."

Views on cosmetic surgery:

"At 29, I'd never describe myself as 'old,' but it's a weird age where you suddenly realise no one's ever going to call you a whippersnapper ever again, that your metabolism has drastically slowed, and you don't like all the cool things the young people like anymore. With all this happening, it does make you think things along the lines of, My jawline used to be a lot stronger, maybe if they pulled some skin back it would look more defined again, or Maybe someone could do something to the bit under my eyes to sort these bags out.

"As things stand, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't actually resort to surgery — possibly in part due to the different expectations placed on men and women by society — but I'm definitely more likely to be receptive to the idea than I was five years ago."

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"This patient has good facial proportions, and an ideal nose, but he can look more youthful. He seems to have some signs of ageing and the lower third of his face has a wide base and can be harmonized."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning for evening pigmentation and brightness of skin, CO2 laser mole and sun spot removal, Korean skin scaling treatment (peel + facial + exfoliation + moisturizing and light therapy) — 3 to 5 sessions may be required.

• Facial contouring — square jaw reduction. Three options: most invasive, mandible bone resection (cutting and removal); facial liposuction (possibility); Botox injections to reduce masseter muscle (temporary, 6 to 12 months)

• Under-eye hollows and dark circles. Under-eye filler injections (one-year effect)

• Upper eyelid blepharoplasty or fat graft

• Neckline liposuction to show more contoured chin and jawline

• Nasiolabial fold (smile line) correction fillers or fat graft

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"This patient has good facial proportions, and an ideal nose, but he can look more youthful. He seems to have some signs of ageing and the lower third of his face has a wide base and can be harmonized."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning for evening pigmentation and brightness of skin, CO2 laser mole and sun spot removal, Korean skin scaling treatment (peel + facial + exfoliation + moisturizing and light therapy) — 3 to 5 sessions may be required.

• Facial contouring — square jaw reduction. Three options: most invasive, mandible bone resection (cutting and removal); facial liposuction (possibility); Botox injections to reduce masseter muscle (temporary, 6 to 12 months)

• Under-eye hollows and dark circles. Under-eye filler injections (one-year effect)

• Upper eyelid blepharoplasty or fat graft

• Neckline liposuction to show more contoured chin and jawline

• Nasiolabial fold (smile line) correction fillers or fat graft

← Slide →
Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"This patient has good facial proportions, and an ideal nose, but he can look more youthful. He seems to have some signs of ageing and the lower third of his face has a wide base and can be harmonized."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning for evening pigmentation and brightness of skin, CO2 laser mole and sun spot removal, Korean skin scaling treatment (peel + facial + exfoliation + moisturizing and light therapy) — 3 to 5 sessions may be required.

• Facial contouring — square jaw reduction. Three options: most invasive, mandible bone resection (cutting and removal); facial liposuction (possibility); Botox injections to reduce masseter muscle (temporary, 6 to 12 months)

• Under-eye hollows and dark circles. Under-eye filler injections (one-year effect)

• Upper eyelid blepharoplasty or fat graft

• Neckline liposuction to show more contoured chin and jawline

• Nasiolabial fold (smile line) correction fillers or fat graft

Francis's reaction:

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

"Whoa, I've got a thin face here. They don't like my strong jaw — I kinda look like an elf. That's bizarre. The side of my face is smoother, I guess. And the bags under my eyes aren't so pronounced, which is fair as I'm constantly tired and if I got more than seven hours' sleep a night that would be sorted.

"I don't need to hear I can be more youthful when I'm almost 30.

"I think my jaw has never been this narrow; I don't think they could shave my jaw down to this and have it still function. It's interesting, but not me."

Views on cosmetic surgery:

"I've always felt with plastic surgery that it depends on the person and their situation. Sometimes it seems empowering and other times it feel self-destructive.

"At the moment I feel pretty indifferent about my own face — it's just a face. I love defining features on other people. I like acne scars and bony noses and random patches of facial hair. My own face is just kind of plain, but that doesn't mean I'd carve a knife into it to make it more special.

"When I was born I had a birthmark that spread out from under my upper lip to my cheek. The doctors removed it when I was an infant, so they couldn't ask me if it worried me or if it made me feel self-conscious. I often think about that. If I still had it now instead of the little scar that's neatly tucked away, would I have had it removed? I like to think I wouldn't, but then I guess you never know."

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"Her baseline facial features are good and she’s close to having very balanced facial aesthetics, but she has bit of a long face, mid-cheek area depression, and visible laugh lines. She doesn’t need surgery, but if she wanted to have an ideal or more beautiful face, I would recommend mid-face augmentation along with filler injections for her laugh lines and Botox injections to slim down the sides of her jawline.

"If she wanted an aggressive or dramatic treatment to bring her face into balance she could have facial contouring procedures: long-curved ostectomy (reducing bone thickness on the sides of her jawline), especially the left side."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning and CO2 laser blemish and spot removal, three to five sessions

• Skin-scaling treatment program

• Correction of mid-face (cheek area) depression via cheek implant or fat graft

• Filler injections in nasolabial folds (laugh lines)

• Botox injections along jawline to slim jawline (less invasive and temporary)

• Facial contouring (more invasive) reducing bone thickness on the side of the jaws

• Lip augmentation (fillers) and Botox injection to lift corners

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"Her baseline facial features are good and she’s close to having very balanced facial aesthetics, but she has bit of a long face, mid-cheek area depression, and visible laugh lines. She doesn’t need surgery, but if she wanted to have an ideal or more beautiful face, I would recommend mid-face augmentation along with filler injections for her laugh lines and Botox injections to slim down the sides of her jawline.

"If she wanted an aggressive or dramatic treatment to bring her face into balance she could have facial contouring procedures: long-curved ostectomy (reducing bone thickness on the sides of her jawline), especially the left side."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning and CO2 laser blemish and spot removal, three to five sessions

• Skin-scaling treatment program

• Correction of mid-face (cheek area) depression via cheek implant or fat graft

• Filler injections in nasolabial folds (laugh lines)

• Botox injections along jawline to slim jawline (less invasive and temporary)

• Facial contouring (more invasive) reducing bone thickness on the side of the jaws

• Lip augmentation (fillers) and Botox injection to lift corners

← Slide →
Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed / My Seoul Secret

"Her baseline facial features are good and she’s close to having very balanced facial aesthetics, but she has bit of a long face, mid-cheek area depression, and visible laugh lines. She doesn’t need surgery, but if she wanted to have an ideal or more beautiful face, I would recommend mid-face augmentation along with filler injections for her laugh lines and Botox injections to slim down the sides of her jawline.

"If she wanted an aggressive or dramatic treatment to bring her face into balance she could have facial contouring procedures: long-curved ostectomy (reducing bone thickness on the sides of her jawline), especially the left side."

Recommended treatments:

• Laser skin toning and CO2 laser blemish and spot removal, three to five sessions

• Skin-scaling treatment program

• Correction of mid-face (cheek area) depression via cheek implant or fat graft

• Filler injections in nasolabial folds (laugh lines)

• Botox injections along jawline to slim jawline (less invasive and temporary)

• Facial contouring (more invasive) reducing bone thickness on the side of the jaws

• Lip augmentation (fillers) and Botox injection to lift corners

Maggy's reaction:

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

"I look like my sister here! I have a naturally drooping mouth and they've made me smile here, so that's nice. They've left my eyebrows alone, which is weird as I think I have shit eyebrows, and generally made my skin look nicer.

"I feel relieved I don't need surgery. This photo seems like me if I didn't drink so much, which is nice. This is good, but I still wouldn't get surgery or move to South Korea anytime soon as they don't seem to think I'm very attractive over there. I'd rather drink."

You can watch a video version of this piece below.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Many thanks to Dr. Choi of TL Plastic Surgery, Dr. Ko of Naturalism Plastic Surgery, and My Seoul Secret for their time and help with this article.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

Laura Gallant is a staff photographer at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Laura Gallant at Laura.Gallant@BuzzFeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.