Boi Ngoc from Ho Chi Minh City spent more than VND100 million ($4,231) on a nose job and cheek-fat reduction injections to look beautiful for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year holiday).
Ngoc’s new nose bridge it made of American surgiform cartilage while the tip of her nose is now made of ear cartilage.
The 36-year-old also had filler injected into her cheeks to dissolve fat for VND33 million ($1,396). Last year, Ngoc spent nearly VND170 million ($7,192) on breast augmentation and porcelain teeth.
“In the future, if my body has any flaws, I’ll fix them,” Ngoc said confidently.
She explained that she gets cosmetic surgery before Tet because she usually has extra cash after working and saving all year, and at the same time cosmetic surgeons offer a lot of pre-Tet discounts. This year, there will be a seven-day Tet break from January 20 to January 26, 2023, allowing people to leave work two days before the Year of the Cat begins on January 22.
This year, her holiday makeover will also include skin whitening procedures and a muscle lift, but she hasn’t yet had the time to schedule the appointments.
As Tet approaches every year, Mai, a 26-year-old Hanoi marketer, always finds her skin suffering from bad acne, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
She blames the problems on the stressful year-end workload, which often forces her to stay up all night to meet deadlines, as well as the capital’s cold, dry winter weather.
Not wanting to show up at Tet celebrations with ugly skin, Mai borrowed VND30 million ($1,269) from a friend to buy a skin treatment package. She admits that she paid higher than market value, but the skincare facility was recommended by friends and had a lot of positive reviews, so she decided to “take a risk” in hopes of impressing people with her appearance for the holidays.
Ngoc and Mai are only two of many people who regularly seek quick cosmetic improvements on their physical appearance before Tet.
According to a 2021 survey of 2,000 women on Tet consumption trends carried out by Vietnamese market research service Q&Me, more than 74% of respondents said that buying new costumes and undergoing cosmetic procedures are mandatory expenses. More than 22% said they spend about VND3-5 million ($127-212) on their health and appearance.
More than 11% of respondents said they were willing to spend VND10-15 million ($423-635) on beauty treatments before Tet. For single women, this was their largest holiday expenditure, with about 3.4% shelling out VND20 million ($846) or more. The survey also showed that women in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang tend to spend more on themselves before each holiday.
‘Tet only happens once’
Doctor Vu Huu Thinh, deputy head of the Department of Plastic and Aesthetics at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, said that there is always a surge in cosmetic procedures preceding Tet. He said numbers this year had had climbed back to pre-covid levels.
Hanoi hospitals Duc Giang General, Buu Dien, and Bach Mai have also recorded 20-30% increases in the number of beauty operations ordered at their facilities this holiday season.
The most popular quick beauty fixes for Tet include skin detoxification, skin regeneration, exfoliations, muscle lifts, skin rejuvenation, skin whitening, thread stretches, Botox injections and filler injections.
According to Vu, the reason why women spend so much on their appearance stems not from any necessary need, but more from the mentality “Tet occurs only once a year.” The majority of women who get cosmetic surgery have a high income or save a large amount of money to spend at the end of the year, he said.
One of the worst causes of this trend is that so many women suffer body shaming from their friends and relatives, especially during the holidays, he added.
Vu pointed out that negative comments about women’s appearances often leads to insecurity and low-self esteem. He said the rush to fix everything via plastic surgery before Tet was a product of this psychological trauma
He said this can sometimes be dangerous as many will rush to better their appearance at any cost.
Every year during Tet, 25-year-old Nhu Vy has to listen to malicious body-shaming comments from her relatives. Therefore, right before Tet, she bought a lot of new clothes and got mesotherapy three separate times at a spa, costing her VND10 million ($423). This is a treatment that injects substances directly into the skin and is advertised to help the skin become firm, shiny and white quickly.
Three days later, she had a high fever and a lot of pus discharge on her face. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with a skin infection and had to take high-dose antibiotics. “The doctor said my face is quite acne-prone, which means mesotherapy is not recommended, but the staff at the spa did it anyway, causing serious consequences,” Vy said.
According to Thinh, services that interfere too much with body, such as eyelid surgery, nose corrections, filler injections, dimple or breast augmentations and abdominal fat removal carry higher risk, not only because the procedures are more invasive, but also because of the health risks of taking to many anesthetic drugs into the body.
Many women have suffered major consequences by trying to have too much work done at once: blood loss, infections and long recovery periods have all been reported. Major operations, when performed at the same time, increase the risk of blood loss, infection and difficulty in recovering.
“We always advise customers to beautify themselves in moderation. It will be much safer if they divide the process into several stages” said Dr. Thinh.
Other experts agree that beautification takes time. They say customers should not rush the process or resort to poor quality facilities. After the surgery is complete, patients need to wait 3-6 months to witness real results. They should not expect to see immediate results, which puts pressure on both themselves and the beautician
Before having their surgeries done, customers should be prepared, consult with professionals and choose a reputable beauty facility to ensure safety. At the same time, they should not chase trends, but instead select a respected beauty service provider to avoid losing money and/or putting themselves in danger.
Ngoc said: “I know there’ve been many cases of complications during cosmetic procedures, but that’s because there were not performed at a reputable facility, or the doctor lacked the necessary qualifications.”
“That’s why I’m very cautious when planning my surgeries,” she added.
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