By Justyna Gil & Jeet Dhindsa
It’s estimated that sales for so-called do-it-yourself (DIY) plastic surgery products have increased by 40% in Korea over the past five years. These gadgets, which are especially popular amongst Korean teens, are often advertised as non-invasive alternatives to mimic the effects of cosmetic surgery. But do they actually work and are they safe?
Here’s a look at six of the most popular DIY plastic surgery products in Korea with medical experts weighing in on their effectiveness and safety.
#1 Nose Clamps
- Use: Clamped along the septum and alar or wings of the nose.
- Claim: Straighter and slimmer nose by wearing the clamp for 20 minutes a day.
These plastic clamps are supposedly able to raise the tip of the nose as well as straighten and slim down its profile. The clamp, which can come in variety of shapes and sizes, is recommended to be worn for 20 minutes a day, and will gradually change the shape of the nose’s cartilage.
What the Experts Say:
Possible side effects: Scratching, cartilage deformation, stretching of nostrils, nasal inflammation
Unfortunately, continuous application of pressure through these clamps can warp nasal bones and cartilage. This is particularly dangerous for youths in their teens whose bodies are still maturing.
# 2 “Koppang” also known as the “NoseSecret”
- Use: Placed at the inside edge of each nostril.
- Claim: Make your nose look narrower and straighter, instantly.
This is a tiny plastic and bendable splint shaped like the letter “C” and is placed inside the nostril to push up the tip of the nose for an instant change and effect. Think of it like a push up bra for your honker.
What Experts Say:
Possible side-effects: scratches, infection, stretching of nostrils and nasal inflammation
“The inside of the nose is very sensitive, and contains mucous membranes and many blood vessels. Putting foreign substances into the nose can cause infections and inflame blood vessels,” explained Dr. Gyu-Yeong Choi of University Gangnam Sacred Heart Hospital.
#3 Double-eyelid Glasses
- Use: Wear glasses for five minutes and have wires push back the upper eyelid to create a crease.
- Claim: Create natural looking double eyelids.
Basically this tool is a simple eyeglass frame with two curved plastic wires in the place of lenses. Those plastic wires will supposedly create double-eyelids, as they press on the eyelids and cause them to fold back onto themselves.
Five minutes a day doesn’t sound so bad, but that means five minutes of no blinking since these wires force the eyes to remain open.
Blinking is semi-autonomic and an essential process that keeps the eyes constantly moist and prevents dry eye syndrome. The glasses also cause the eyelids to lose their elasticity and can induce blepharochalasis, or inflammation of the eyelid tissue that causes stretching and subsequent atrophy of the eyelids.
What the Experts Say
Possible side-effects: eyelid inflammation and stretching of eyelid tissue, dry eye syndrome, bloodshot eyes, cornea damage
“No matter how long one wears those glasses, one will never be able to create permanent double-eyelids,” says Kang Min-ho, a doctor at the Department of Ophthalmology at Hanyang University Guri Hospital in Guri, Gyeonggi. “The pressure will only irritate and damage the eyeball.”
#4 Double-eyelid Tape & Glue
- Use: Sticky glue or tape that is used to create eyelid adhesion
- Claim: Create instant double eyelids.
This one is undoubtedly one of the most popular Asian DIY plastic surgery devices out there. It is essentially clear medical tape, which is used to create the ‘double eyelid’ effect and appearance of rounder and larger eyes.
Although it looks very simple and is easy to use, it still comes with side-effects that one should not overlook when deciding to use this product. Constant peeling of the tape from your eyelid and improper usage can result in sagginess. If you have sensitive skin, the tape may cause irritation and other skin allergies. Also, when wearing the tape you may experience slight discomfort before getting used to its application.
What the Experts Say:
Possible side effects coloring, scarring, inflammation, stretching of skin
“Continually irritating the skin by applying adhesives can stretch out the skin, and some [skin] cells will die and leave a scar,” said Jung Jae-a, a doctor at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Korea University Guro Hospital in Seoul.
#5 Face Roller
- Use: Repeatedly roll and rub against jawline
- Claim: Will create a slimmer jaw and v-shaped jawline
This product claims it can make your jaw slimmer and even brighten up your complexion. Rolling this gadget up and down one’s face with the wheels is a form of massage that gets the circulation going. Regularly kneading and pinching face muscles and skin is a common technique used in traditional Korean facial and body massages for supposed slimming.
What Experts Say:
Possible side effects: skin damage, scratches and pain
“Disruptions to facial blood circulation can cause inflammation and pain,” said Kim Beom-joon, a doctor at the Department of Dermatology at Chung-ang University Hospital in Dongjak District, Seoul.
#6 Face Bands and Wraps
- Use: elastic fabric used to tighten the face
- Claim: Tighter facial muscles, skin and slimmer face
These products come in the form of compression bands and masks that are worn on the face and supposedly promote facial blood circulation and a slimming effect by burning up extra fat on the face to remodel a V-shaped face.
What Experts Say:
Possible side-effects: skin damage, skin inflammation, scratches
Whether someone wants to change their nose, contour their face into a V-shape or have double-eyelids through beauty products, it is crucial to understand all possible side effects before using these so-called auto-cosmetic surgery tools.
Please remember that most DIY plastic surgery devices available on the Internet usually do not list any possible disadvantages, but only show the benefits you are wishing for. It’s wise to purchase products, which have been approved for household use and will not cause harm to your health.
“Prior to purchasing anything, one should confirm if [the product] is appropriate for the intended goal and if it has been tested for safety,” says Kim Beom-joog, a doctor at the Department of Dermatology at Chung-ang University Hospital in Dongjak District, southern Seoul.
It never hurts to try something new, but know more when it comes to beauty & health, safety comes first!
What do you think?
Have you ever used any of these devices? Did they work for you? Were there any problems? Have any thoughts on this article? Please tell us in the comments section below.