Five new minimally invasive anti-ageing treatments from Korea, world capital of innovative skincare

The multipronged approach to anti-ageing in South Korea has resulted in a wide range of innovative non-surgical treatments for patients. We look at some of the most popular in a country trying desperately to hide its wrinkles

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 6:48pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 7:07pm

Seoul is currently the world’s undisputed capital for all things skincare and cosmetics.

The South Korean capital is renowned for popularising trends such as BB creams, strobing (highlighting) and the 10-step skincare routine – not to mention more dramatic plastic surgery procedures including V-line (jaw reduction) surgeries, double eyelid surgeries and a range of other operations.

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It has now also become a global mecca for anti-ageing innovations and is pioneering some of the most advanced treatments in the world. This reflects the needs of the country’s rapidly ageing population – there are more senior citizens than young people, while the median age stands at 41.8 years compared to the global average of 30.4.

“In the early days [of plastic surgery], people wanted to change their eyes or noses to become more beautiful. Nowadays, Koreans want to look younger, on top of becoming prettier,” said Hwang Jang-Ik, a dermatologist at ID Hospital in Seoul. “We can make them look five to 10 years younger.”

While the range of anti-ageing procedures available in South Korea is astounding – both surgical and non-surgical – what sets Korean anti-ageing procedures apart from the rest of the world are the innovative and minimally invasive new methods doctors have developed for otherwise common procedures.

South Korean clinics are advocates of tackling anti-ageing from many directions and often prescribe a combination of treatments for their patients. To receive the full effects of such an approach, patients may need to go through a series of three, five or even more sessions involving both “petit” or non-invasive surgery and invasive procedures.

Here are some of the top minimally invasive anti-ageing treatments available in South Korea.

Thread facelifts

The facelift is finally getting a makeover of its own. Significantly less invasive than traditional facelifts, “Blue Rose” thread facelifts use a needle to insert a series of self-dissolving threads near the hairline to pull the skin back and tighten it. The results last three to five years, said a representative at Renewme Skin Clinic in Seoul.

Where to find it: Renewme Skin Clinic, Jamsil-dong 184-21, 9th Floor, Seoul, +82 2-588-7525

Air ulthermage

Air ulthermage combines three laser procedures: Ulthera quattro, air jet treatment and Thermage CPT.

Ulthera quattro uses ultrasound to penetrate the skin’s deepest layers and tighten it. The procedure takes just 30 minutes and practitioners say it provides an immediate facelift effect, said a representative at ID Hospital.

A pressurised air jet is then used to deliver “air shots” into the areas around the hairline, further helping lift the skin.

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The final treatment, Thermage CPT, uses a radio frequency laser device to tighten and lift, rejuvenating the upper layers of skin.

The whole package takes less than a day and requires no recovery time. The results last between one and two years.

Where to find it: ID Hospital, 142 Dosan-daero, Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, +82 2-3496-9783

Stem-cell therapy

In 2016, Korean luxury health care facility Chaum added stem-cell therapy to its long list of skincare and anti-ageing treatments. The clinic’s stem-cell banking programme allows patients to harvest their own fat stem cells, which can be used to develop fat grafts for the face, ultimately restoring fullness and tightness for up to 10 years.

The US$21,000 programme includes a medical check-up to see if patients are suitable for stem-cell therapy.

Where to find it: Chaum Clinic, 442 Dosan-daero, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, +82 2-3015-5000


Acculift is a fat-melting procedure that involves inserting a small needlelike apparatus beneath the skin. The apparatus emits laser beams which dissolve fat around the chin. Each session takes between three and five hours, and requires little to no downtime afterwards.

“We get a lot of questions about double chins and sagging skin in that area,” said Dr Ha Ji-hyun at Renewme Skin Clinic. “It’s common among people who are ageing. Overweight people may [also] need it.”

Where to find it: Renewme Skin Clinic, Jamsil-dong 184-21, 9th Floor, Seoul, +82 2-588-7525

Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Therapy

UBI Therapy uses ultraviolet rays to irradiate a sample of your blood, before it is injected back into your circulatory system.

“After the age of 30, our immune system begins to weaken,” said a representative for Chaum. “UBI is used to strengthen your immune system.”

The process kills bacteria and viruses, and enhances the immune system and circulation. One treatment requires six sessions, with each session taking 30 minutes and requiring no downtime.

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Where to find it: Chaum, 442 Dosan-daero, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, +82 2-3015-5077