It’s finally time for the next milestone of the journey! So far, all you have been treated to are the pictures of my heavily swollen face – suffice to say that they are probably not the best candidates to show you the results of my surgery. During the post-surgery consultation with Banobagi, Dr. Oh advised that it would take a month for the final results to surface, and 3 months for the results to be permanent. The wait felt like an excruciatingly slow revelation of a present, or perhaps a gradual unravelling of an intricate plot – I had no idea what to expect and each day brought about a new change. The first steps towards my new face began with the visit to Banobagi a week after the surgery. The purpose of staying in Seoul a week longer was not just for recovery or leisure, it is also to ensure that you receive all the post-operation care and support that Banobagi offers.

Most of the incision sites were in my mouth, but there were also two extremely discreet cuts made around the front of my ears in order to access the cheekbones. They were hardly noticeable when fresh, and completely invisible now (no one I’ve asked to look for them could find where they are!). This is in no small parts thanks to the care I’ve received at the hands of Banobagi – they have provided everything I’ve needed. I was handed a bag containing peroxide, cotton swabs and scar gel in order to clean my incisions in the days leading up to my (absolutely painless) stitch removal. I do not remember any anaesthesia being used and I still did not feel a thing.

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With Claire, our consultant and translator, who somehow manages to look impossibly gorgeous and fresh while I lumber about like a cave troll early in the morning.

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Dr. Oh meticulously examined my face and declared that everything was going as expected. He also took the time to answer all my questions (somehow I had a never-ending flurry of them) and assured me that all was well. This was very different from what I’ve read about other people’s experiences online – the most frequent complain I’ve encountered was people criticising the lack of aftercare at their respective clinics. At Banobagi, there was no end to the amount of follow-up they provided. They even observed pictures of me before and after the surgery (taken professionally at their studio!) to consider all aspects of the result.

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They also had various instruments to aid in the process of healing – I’m not clear as to the exact science behind this machine, but it promises to relieve fatigue and improve skin renewal by increasing the amount of oxygen within the capsule.

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There was also this machine that felt a little bit like a sauna – steam gently comes through the gaps between slabs of wood and warms the capsule to a nice, cozy temperature. I am almost ashamed to admit that I completely dozed off during the 30 or so minutes I was inside. It felt like a supremely luxurious spa experience more than anything else!

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If I had felt doubt at any point in my journey, one look at this cardboard standee was enough to allay any doubts that I wasn’t in the most capable hands in the entire country.

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We also encountered a lot of Chinese tourists at the centre – it seemed to be the top choice for a lot of people travelling for surgery, and Banobagi had a few in-house Chinese consultants as well. We later found out that their popularity is because Banobagi has been recognised for outstanding contribution to their field by no other than Xi Jinping (!!!!). If I had any other residual doubts, they were completely eradicated.

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I had to fly back to London shortly after the surgery, so there are gaps of a week or so between the pictures. Even in that short amount of time, the progress was rather astounding. I felt normal and not at all like a swollen beast, and none of my housemates even noticed that something was off. This was precisely what I had asked for – I wanted a slightly improved version of myself, instead of a giant, noticeable difference. I wanted to look different, but only enough for people to puzzle over what has changed. The most frequent question I got was whether I lost weight, or changed my makeup because I now looked softer and younger. Success!

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Taken just a couple of days apart: the scars in front of my ears are completely invisible and my jawline has shrunk slightly as well!

I even felt human enough to start taking pictures again… Despite having to deal with an itchy compression headwear every night and not being able to chew on hard food still, I was really excited at what is beginning to emerge. Now that 3 months has already rolled around, I can’t wait to post pictures of the final results! Stay tuned. x

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Read more about our experience here:
Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Part five

Part six