What Is “Skin Botox”? Inside Korea’s Top Procedure That Offers Instant Glass Skin

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About 18 minutes into my interview with South Korea-based dermatologist Shin Hae Won, she brought up “Skin Botox.” I had just asked if people in Seoul are using Botox for more than just wrinkles, thinking she’d say for migraines or TMJ. Her response: “Yeah, for the pores, as well. We call it Skin Botox, or mesobotox.”

Imagine me in her office at Oracle, a major dermatology and skin-care clinic in Seoul, reacting as if I’m every mind-blown gif that exists on the Internet. Shin was nonchalant about her reference to this injectable procedure, though. She guesstimates Skin Botox has been around for 10 years, but I’d never heard of it.

Later that day, my friend took me to JY Plastic Surgery & Dermatology, also in Seoul’s Gangnam neighborhood, to meet with dermatologist Kang Jong Bum. He was similarly unfazed when I asked him about Skin Botox. “It’s one of the procedures we do the most,” Kang shared.

The next morning, I sat down with Lim Ee Seok, the head dermatologist at Thema Dermatologic Clinic. (Rumor has it, K-pop group BTS visit it.) Lim was extremely casual about the popularity of Skin Botox, too. He went on to reveal his clinic administers it 50 to 60 times a day.

If you’re just as unaware yet intrigued about Skin Botox as I was, here’s all the information I gathered on the procedure while I was in Seoul.

What is Skin Botox?

Skin Botox is, more or less, instant glass skin — no magical serums or multistep routines needed. To achieve it in this injectable form, the same neurotoxic protein (aka Botulinum toxin) is utilized as in classic Botox procedures. However, Korean dermatologists change up their needlework, if you will, for Skin Botox to target different parts of the face.

“In the past, when we used Botox it would be for wrinkles, and we would inject it into the muscles,” Lim explains. “These days, we will inject it into the outer layer and it lifts the skin.”

In other terms, traditional Botox irons out and prevents deep creases in the skin by weakening muscles in specific areas of the face, like your forehead, laugh lines, or crow’s-feet. Skin Botox, on the other hand, targets pores to create an all-over smoothing effect.



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