Should American Parents Worry About K-Pop’s Obsession with Plastic Surgery?

You may have never heard the term K-Pop before, but your teens probably have. It sounds like it could be anything from the latest energy drink to a colorful new breakfast cereal, but believe it or not, it isn’t food – it’s a generic name for an anything-but-generic music movement based in South Korea, and it’s sweeping the globe at a rapid pace.

It’s not so hard to imagine: boy bands and girl groups consisting of dreamy young adults and teens with impressive dance moves and even better harmonizing skills, just like the teen pop idols in America. But unlike the teen groups of our own formative years, K-Pop isn’t just known for its dreamy singers and fluffy pop ballads. It’s also become as well known for its stars’ plastic surgery as it is for their music – and it’s making a lot of parents nervous.

“In South Korea, the K-Pop look has heavily influenced plastic surgery among young adults,” says Dr. Bruce Chau, a plastic surgeon based in Berkeley, Michigan. “Right now, the trend is V-line, or corrective jaw surgery, because that’s what the K-Pop stars are getting. But in a year, it could be anything – blepharoplasty or breast augmentation.”

But according to Chau, that’s not exactly surprising. In South Korea, one in five women is said to have undergone at least one plastic surgery procedure. Here in America, that number is around one in 20. Still, the constantly changing looks of their children’s teen idols could put some American parents on edge

“South Korea has become very well known for its population’s love of plastic surgery,” says Chau. “But I don’t think that obsession will automatically transfer to American fans. As a parent in America, it’s not something I’d worry too much about.”

As for the K-Pop stars, Chau doesn’t see any issues with their constantly morphing faces, either.

“They’re young, they’re rich and they’re incredibly famous,” he says. “They are in an image-obsessed industry in an image-obsessed country. As long as they’re doing it of their own free will, I don’t see any harm in it.”