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101 East

The cost of beauty

101 East delves into Korea's plastic surgery craze and uncovers the real price of pursuing physical perfection.

Last updated: 22 Aug 2014 14:03
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Filmmaker: Nick Ahlmark

Seoul, South Korea's capital, is at the heart of a growing obsession to look perfect.

In the Apgujeong district of Seoul, the streets are lined with endless rows of plastic surgery clinics. Business is booming. In South Korea, v-shaped jaws, double eyelids and dimpled smiles are all the rage and people from across the nation, and the world, are flocking to the clinics for plastic surgery, supporting an industry worth $5bn a year.

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More than 4,000 clinics provide cosmetic surgery in Seoul, with an estimated 650,000 people a year going under the knife.

But the surgeries performed by some of the clinics do not always live up to patients' expectations and the quest for beauty and profits is putting lives at risk.

So Yi Yoon has suffered many medical problems since having plastic surgery, including not being able to close one of her eyes. She now works two jobs to pay off her debts and is suffering from depression.

On this edition of 101 East, we look at what is driving the growth of this booming business and at what price to individuals and the wider Korean society?

Is being plastic all that fantastic? What is the price of #beauty? Talk to us @AJ101East. #CosmeticSurgery

101 East airs each week at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2230; Friday: 0930; Saturday: 0330; Sunday: 1630.   

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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