We all know how popular plastic surgery scene is in South Korea. Did anyone thought plastic surgeries might be popular in the North Korea too?
Actually cosmetic surgeries are way more common in the North Korea what people might have thought even in their wildest dreams. How is that possible in the country so strict with tons of rules and prohibitions? What does drive North Koreans going through plastic surgery operations even the law has stated it as illegal activity?
Previously North Koreans were expected to follow all the strict codes and rules of conduct on their looks. They were expected to avoid all the trends which were seen as anti-socialist, but now when the Kim Jong-Un is on the lead, things seem to have been changing and easing.
Before Kim Jong-Un became the leader, it was usual that schools held inspections to seek out for students who had done double eyelid surgery. As far as we know, these inspections does not happen anymore. So its clear that the rules are easing. Same goes actually with the North Korean fashion, The wife of Kim Jong-Un, Ri Sol-ju has made high heels be acceptable to wear, same goes with the shorter skirts. Ri Sol-ju has been said to be the fashion ambassador of North Korea.
In theory cosmetic surgery is illegal in North Korea. However the real life is a bit different. Cosmetic surgeries are openly offered at the hospitals and clinics. These days there is not any reported cases where anyone got into trouble after going through cosmetic operations.
And actually, since the early 2000s when Kim Jong-Il was still on lead, he made double eyelid surgery a mandatory operation for all those who worked in the North Korean restaurants, both in Pyongyang and abroad where North Korea has their own restaurants. The abroad restaurants are located in China, Vietnam and Russia. This all just to show the world how beautiful North Korean girls are. And for sure the big idea of Kim Jong-Il gained more foreign currency for the North Korea. Beautiful waitresses get more tips and they are the attraction itself which brings more and more customers which means more money.
We are not sure if there is going any drastic plastic surgery operations in North Korea, but atleast double eyelid surgery and permanent makeup such as tattooed eyebrows and pigmented lips are very popular.
Since there is not any official numbers available, its hard to say how many people are really going under the knife in the North Korea. The estimates we heard were indicating that around 20% of the people will get some kind of cosmetic procedure done at some point of their lives. These cosmetic procedures are most popular among the women in their 20s. Some areas in North Korea are said to have up to 60% rate of girls who had enhanced their looks via some sort of cosmetic procedure. The real numbers remains a mystery.
The average recovery time for the double eyelid surgery, which is without no doubts the most common for the North Korean women, especially university students, will take around 2weeks. So clearly the students wishing for double eyelid operation can not go through it during their studies. Dropping out of school for few weeks is a total no no. So the summertime remains as a really busy time for the cosmetic surgeons.
Most of the people get their surgeries done in their own homes. Its common that most surgeons perform house calls. However there are loads of people who learned the skill by themselves. This clearly will lead to many unsuccesful results and loads of infections due to unhygienic conditions.
But why? Why all so much fuss? Actually the main reason is same as for the South Koreans: to get better jobs. Beauty brings success.
What about the price then? We have heard many estimates what the cosmetic surgery prices in North Korea might be. For an example double eyelid surgery price estimates going from 3usd to 200usd. Its hard to say where the truth lies. Some non-professional surgeon might do it for 3usd and some hospitals might do it for 200usd. Its all just speculations since there is not any official data about the subject.
Seems the things are changing in the North Korea, and the speed for the change is getting higher.
For people interested to know more about North Korea, we highly recommend to read a book Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick.