South Korea’s Obsession With Plastic Surgery Leads To A $5 Billion Industry

South Korea’s obsession with plastic surgery has led to a $5 billion industry and a flood of foreign visitors seeking a nip and tuck.

Korea’s ever-increasing infatuation with looks has fostered the country’s surgical skills.

According to The Korea Herald, the plastic surgery industry attracts hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors seeking plastic surgery procedures each year. Last year, 267,000 foreigners visited Korea to receive medical treatment in the country, spending $468.8 million.

The obsession with looks in South Korea is now affecting the work force. According to the Korea Herald, 20 percent of all South Korean women are reported to have undergone plastic surgery at least once in their lives. Many of them hoping to land a job.

Ji-eun Park, a 26-year-old in Seoul, had a nose job and double-eyelid surgery in preparation for entering the workforce.

“I didn’t have any dramatic reasons for doing it. I don’t think I had been particularly unhappy with my looks. I just wanted to improve it, just like the way you would improve your CV.”

Park, who now works at a big firm, said she is satisfied with the results and her decision.

South Korea is often referred to as the world’s plastic surgery capital and ranks fourth among the countries that performed the most cosmetic surgical procedures last year.

Moon-won Lee says more and more firms base job hires on looks — something he deems unethical.

“There is a lot of evidence that the plastic surgery industry is unethically involved in the nation’s labor and job market. So many firms require applicants to include their photographs when submitting their resume, while plastic surgery clinics openly say ‘appearance can be your competitive edge in the job market’ in their public ads.”

The more than 410,000 unemployed young Koreans seemingly attribute their bad luck to their looks.

For foreigners who have flown to South Korea to undergo procedures, they are often so transformed that they are struggling to get through passport control on the way home, according to the Daily Mail.

According to Korean sites Onboa and Munhwa, some hospitals have resorted to handing out ‘plastic surgery certificates’ to patients to enable them to get home.

In 2009, 23 Chinese women are said to have struggled to return to China from South Korea after undergoing surgery.

[Image via Twitter/Creative Scoops]