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Which Skin Clinic Should I Go To in Seoul?

January 03, 2024

Which Skin Clinic Should I Go To in Seoul?

Wondering which skin clinic you should go to while visiting Seoul? On this episode Lauren is giving her recommendations about how to pick the right clinic for you. 

 

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Which Skin Clinic Should I Go To in Seoul?Consideration 1: Can you speak Korean or not?

This is important because if there is a language barrier it may impact the clinics you have available to choose from and even the pricing you are offered.

If you speak Korean or have a friend that does ask around for the best options or do some searches for the procedures you're interested in on Naver or social media in Korean.  

If you don't speak Korean, there's no issue. A lot of clinics in Seoul offer their customers services in a range of languages - Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Russian, English etc.

However, just be aware that if there is a foreign language concierge or translation service involved there may be additional fees. 

Which skin clinic should I go to in Seoul?

 

Which Skin Clinic Should I Go To in Seoul?Consideration 2: Location 

In general, I would avoid the clinics in tourist-heavy locations like Myeongdong and Hongdae. This is not because they are no good but rather because they get so much foot traffic the experience tends to be quite different.

Many of them have more of a "factory vibe" that feels as though they are trying to push as many people through the door as possible. You may not get much 1:1 time with the doctor or if you do, it often doesn't feel very tailored.

Clinics in these locations may also charge different (more expensive) prices to take into consideration the cost of renting premises in those locations, which tend to be more expensive.

 

 

Which Skin Clinic Should I Go To in Seoul? Consideration 3: What is the purpose of your visit?

It's important to know why you are going to a skin clinic and what type of treatments you will be having because this will determine the type of clinician you need.

For example - Are you having cosmetic work done or do you need a prescription for an ongoing skin issue? Are you just looking to have a nice facial?

There are three main options available to you in Seoul

1) A skin clinic (클리닉, 피부과) 

2) A dermatologist (피부과의원) 

3) An aesthetician (에스테틱) 

How to pick the right skin clinic in Korea

Option 1 - Skin Clinic 

If you want treatments like filler, botox or laser etc chances are you will be fine attending a regular skin clinic. The majority of people in Korea receive these kind of treatments from non-dermatologists.

There is no issue with going to a skin clinic for treatments like this.

The doctor doing your treatment will be a trained general practitioner but not necessarily a dermatologist. There is a difference in the training between doctors and dermatologists. 

 

Option 2 - Dermatologist

If you have an ongoing skin issue like rosacea or acne, then it is best to visit a proper dermatologist. There are much fewer dermatologists than there are skin clinics in general in Korea. 

Make sure the clinic has the designation "피부과의원" on the front of the clinic.

In addition, the Korean Dermatologist's Association provides information on dermatologists and hospitals with dermatologists nationwide through the "Finding Dermatologists" service on its website. If you use the dermatologist's search service, you can also find a nearby dermatologist's hospital online.

When is this distinction important?

  • Usually, if you’re suffering from an actual skin condition that requires treatment.
  • If your issue is purely cosmetic then it’s likely not so important.
  • If you have ongoing symptoms or issues that’s when it pay to know the difference.
  • NB. If you are in the National Health Insurance System in Korea you can also get a rebate for these visits, including at the bigger university hospitals. 

Option 3 - Aesthetician

If you just want a facial or a non-invasive treatment, you should be looking for an ‘Esthetic’ clinic. Depending on how long you are in town for they can even put a whole program together for you. In general, any treatments will involve:

  • Cleansing your face
  • Doing extractions for you (blackheads etc) 
  • A tailored facial 
  • A mask 

Aestheticians will sometimes use machinery as well to exfoliate and/or help your skincare products to absorb better but they are not the same kinds of machines used in skin clinics for more invasive treatments (ordinarily). 

 

Option 4 - Plastic Surgeon's Clinic 

If you are here for plastic surgery, some plastic surgeons do throw in free skin treatments for their own patients as a bonus. This is known as "service" (서비스) in Korean.

If you're going for surgery make sure you ask the clinic whether there are any treatments they can offer you at your follow-up appointments.

Plastic surgeons offices will likely be the most expensive places to do any treatments otherwise though. 

 

Consideration 4: Does the Korean Beauty ideal differ from YOUR beauty ideal?

Keep in mind that the Korean ideal of the perfect face may be quite different than where you are from, so keep this in mind before agreeing to do procedures that may alter the shape of your face. Common examples I can think of include aekyosal (애교살), jaw botox (사각턱 보톡스), reducing the volume of the cheekbones and mandible reduction (안면 윤곽 수술).

Which skin clinic should I go to in Seoul?

Lip filler trends are also different here than in other places, like Russia. If you are a fan of the Russian lip look and how they do filler then you may not love the way that Koreans are doing their filler at the moment. The current trend is quite pillowy for the upper lip and the centre of the bottom lip - almost as if the lips have just been bitten. By other beauty standards it can look a little bit exaggerated and unnatural. Make sure you are happy with the individual injector's look before you go in for a treatment. 

 

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend! 

 

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“Keep in mind that the Korean ideal of the perfect face may be quite different than where you are from, so keep this in mind before agreeing to do procedures”

Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show podcast 

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