Korean prices for skincare - was I given a fair price?

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I was recently in Korea on business from abroad. and because I had very little time I consulted with a few dermatology clinics to address some skin issues I had.  I didn’t have much basis to negotiate as I didn’t know the going prices of things there, my feeling is I was overcharged because I was a foreigner. My question is, was I given a fair price?  Here is what I got done: Laser toning: Revlite laser and  Ventige laser (both full face) to address melanocytes and blood vessels (overall tone of skin). Fraxel Etwo on acne scars on the face (not whole face just cheeks where scars were). Lastly, rejuran injections to make skin look healthier.  I paid a total of 1,900,000 won.  Can you tell me if I was overcharged and if so what the rate should have been.  Also, if you know of any other clinics that do the same procedures for cheaper can you let me know. Thanks

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Hi Johhny,

Thanks for posting, and sorry to hear you’re having some sticker price shock and stress about this. Many of our members, including me, have had similar concerns especially when traveling abroad and buying products and services. 

Usually Korean clinics servicing foreign patients tend to have two fee schedules. One is for domestic local residents who have national health insurance, and the other is for non-resident foreign patients.  This is a common situation and scenario, and I added a link below that explains more about this. 

Skin Care Pricing 

For skin treatments involving syringes and lasers, clinics tend to price them based upon the type of laser used, settings, and area of coverage, or for injections the CC (cubic centimeters) of solution used to treat the area.

I thought this rigid and granular pricing for lasers was odd myself when I first had treatment. But since these machines can cost between $100,000 to $300,0000 to own, and or $2,000+/month to rent. It has become an established pricing model in the industry worldwide to justify their cost, and it doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon.

One time session with three different laser machines

Numbers I crunched based on past data and doing some searches. 

– Revlite laser (Full Face):  200,000 to 475,000 Won

– Vantage* laser (Full Face): 200,000 to 475,000 Won

– Fraxel (Cheeks): 200,000 to 475,000 Won

Injections 

Rejuran (2 CC Injection): 350,000 to 500,000 Won

SPECIAL NOTE: “Vintige Laser” (possible spelling error) I think you meant either the Cuterra Vantage Laser or possibly Cuterra Excel V.  The latter is a different & newer model. 


Approximate Total Range (foreign patients): 950,000 (Low End) to 1,925,000 (High End)

You are on the higher end of the above and typical range for foreigners, but it’s unclear about the the second laser used, and I’m assuming you had only 2 CC for Rejuran. Also the following factors will effect where you fall on this range:

1) season 2) type of clinic/size 3) doctor’s credentials 4) foreign language staffing & materials 5) facilities / equipment 6) using medical agencies or promotional offers 7) ease of access for international patients. 

Deal or Rip Off? Depends upon what you value and your lifestyle

– Did you pay more than a domestic Korean who walked into the clinic using a local promotional coupon they found on a Korean beauty website – Yes.

– Did you pay more than an obsessive foreign beauty shopper (people like me) digging through the internet, community boards, blogs and Korean sites. People who have multiple consultations, haggle back & forth, and then end up going to unknown places based on rumors – Yes, but you saved a lot more time and energy, and will probably be happier with the results from a time, comfort and convenience perspective.

In terms of being overcharged it depends upon the frame or perspective being used. If you like how the doctor and clinic treated you; it was within your budget; and you can achieve the results you’re looking; then I would say you’re a winner. 

Thanks for reaching out and joining.

I’m an American male, former and on-going cosmetic patient, and have been living in Seoul for the past 7 years. I founded My Seoul Secret when I was on my own cosmetic medical journey, and saw how challenging it was to get good information. Before My Seoul Secret, people had to (and unfortunately still do) dig through obscure handbag and fashion forums, beauty blogs, and use Google translate to figure out serious medical & beauty procedures in Korea. I know, because I started there, and it’s the blind leading the blind. If you ever plan to come back to Korea, post in our community, and we’ll be happy to help with real and more practical information. 

Links: Korean Plastic Surgery Prices:  https://myseoulsecret.com/korean-plastic-surgery-prices/

  • Johhny
    Thanks for your incredibly detailed answer. Yes, it was 2cc for the rejuran and the name of the laser quite possibly might be Vantage as you suggested although they spelled it wrong and told me it was used to get rid of redness and blood vessles. I did visit one of the more well known hospitals/clinics for foreigners (there was a very sweet translator there the whole time) although looking at your prices I do feel as though I was taken advantage of which is a bit unfortunate as all of the people I came across during Korea, from store clerks to taxi drivers, were nothing but honest and helpful. The biggest price discrepancy is the Rejuran where this clinic quoted their price as 1.6 million and claimed that I was given a huge discount on the lasers. I had no problem with the doctor or the care given, both were very good. I have to return to Korea every month for and the doctor had advised a total of 3 treatments for optimal results (so two more). Do you have any alternate places you would suggest where the doctors are good and the price is reasonable? Or, being in this business, do you know a more fair price I could bargain down to if I choose to go the same clinic? Thanks for the analysis and looking forward to your advice.
  • Jeet Dhindsa
    No problem Johnny because it was a larger international facility then the overhead is going to be higher. Those places can be great if you are going to undergo really serious major operations, and you need high quality equipment, and enough staff members to manage. But for the treatments you’re seeking you would be fine scaling down to a smaller provider.
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