|A customer tries a new product by a cosmetics manufacturer in Seoul. / Yonhap|
By Rachel Lee
The Korean capital, the epicentre of the beauty world, has become a popular destination for dermatology care, with more and more foreign tourists flocking to Seoul for the best treatment.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, nearly one third of the total amount spent by travellers on medical care was on plastic surgery and dermatological treatment, which was about 270 billion won in 2016. In terms of number of visitors, over 47,340 people visited a dermatologist during the same period while 47,881 underwent plastic surgery.
Khloud, a 40-something woman from Dubai, has been staying in Gangnam for two months with her family for her husband's medical treatment as well as her skincare at a dermatologist. She told The Korea Times last week that she was impressed by Korean women's glowing skin and their multi-step skincare routine.
"I have had dark marks on my face caused by acne-prone skin, like spots left following irritation of the skin, and I am getting better after getting laser treatment that is helping my skin rejuvenate," Khloud said.
The doctor advised her on ways to deal with her skin if it breaks out, and she stopped her bad habit of picking at every pimple that appears, the tourist added.
Even when foreigners visit Seoul for a business trip or a holiday, skin care clinics are a must-visit place even if they have fairly good looking skin.
Sally, a 32-year-old woman from the United States, chose to stay in Gangnam for beauty shopping and dermatological treatments during her vacation with friends in Seoul.
She said she wanted to see how the beauty-conscious women in Korea take care of the skin and find out more about their lifestyle.
The American travellers visited a clinic in the area after searching for recommendations on Google.
"I was really impressed by the great customer service offered via their Facebook. They were fluent in English so I was able to ask questions about my skin troubles and the location. Their reply was also prompt," Sally said.
What she liked the best about the Korean dermatologist was that the doctor gave her more in-depth treatment and information about her skin troubles than a dermatologist in the U.S. who just gave her some cream. To reduce her main concern, redness, the doctor at the clinic recommended a nine-step laser treatment that started with cleansing and ended with LED therapy.
"My friends told me that my skin looked much smoother after one session," she said.
They were also busy with beauty shopping in Seoul for themselves and gifts _ when she told her family and friends that she was flying to Seoul for vacation, her sister and friends asked her to buy Korean facial sheet masks in bulk and get other new skincare products.
"We were overwhelmed by Seoul's beauty offerings," the tourists said, expressing their hope to have "glass skin," meaning crystal clear as glass and seemingly transparent skin.