With the increasing popularity of K – pop and K – drama industry, more and more people from around the globe are interested in getting to know Korean culture. A large number of people have been investing their time in learning about Korean culture and its fashion trends. Everyone is aware of the high beauty standards present in Korean culture.

Plastic surgery in Korea is not uncommon. It is also gifted to graduates as a graduation gift. However, with the method of these surgeries, a lot of people have also made raised questions over plastic surgery in Korea.


A lot of people think that plastic surgery in Korea is performed to make Koreans look like white people. Features like double eyelids, whitening of the skin, and enlarging the size of eyes are most common in the population of Caucasian and White people. However, this is not how the Korean population feels. One of the most famous YouTubers, Alfred Haeppy Leung, in Korea tried to break down these misconceptions revolving around plastic surgery in Korea.

He says that the allegation “Koreans perform surgery to look white” is just a statement made out of western arrogance and eurocentrism. This allegation has no basis in reality. Pale skin, a feature of Korean culture, has always been a standard of beauty all around Asia and is not unique to East Asia. This is also connected to a belief in history that people with fairer complexions used to work for lesser hours under the sun.


A lot of American surgeons who served in the Korean surgery clinics used to think that Asians who seek surgery want to “Westernize” their looks and look like their ethnicity is ‘White’. Even Asian plastic surgeons who performed surgery believed this. However, this is a famous misconception about plastic surgery in South Korea. Leung says that Asians do not want to be white. They just want to be beautiful Asians. And plastic surgery helps in achieving that.

Common procedures like double eyelid surgery, skin whitening, and nose jobs are not performed to achieve Western beauty standards but are aimed at achieving specifically the Korean beauty standards. Korean beauty standards appreciate slimmer jawlines; on the other hand, western standards welcome sharp jawlines. Westerners like higher cheekbones, which are protruding, Koreans prefer flatter cheekbones. In the West, lip fillers are considered a standard surgical procedure to achieve thick and fuller lips. This is not the same for Korean culture.

Therefore, it is important to understand that fashion is not uniform. Beauty standards vary from region to region. While bigger noses are appreciated in Eurocentric culture, the same may not be the case in East Asia. Lip fillers and nose jobs are other examples. Every culture has different rituals, history, and beliefs. That is why there is a variation in the way people from different regions think and understand.