Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed (no makeup allowed!) and around the corner to the clinic. At 9am, clients had already begun to filter in. I checked in on the 3rd floor (Laser Center) for my 9:30 appointment. The staff was very prompt, and had me pay before beginning any of my treatments that day. After having a quick second consultation with Dr. Lee to recap our plan for the day, I was taken into the Laser Center area itself. There, a woman who spoke English very well took me to a small locker room and gave me a gown and a robe to change into. Everything was very neat and tidy, and was split between two rooms. The main area was a powder room with sinks, toiletries, and a large mirror while the other, smaller area was for changing. The changing area had around 12 large lockers in which guests could safely store their clothing and belongings while receiving treatments. The assistant told me to wash my face as well, but because I didn’t have any makeup on, she said just rinsing with water was fine.
As I would be having laser hair removal on my bikini, I undressed completely under the gown and robe. If you’re having treatments where they’ll need to access your arms or underarms, make sure they give you a pink under layer that is sleeveless! The blue robe with sleeves goes over the pink, and there are slippers located underneath the link.
When I stepped back out of the locker room, my “guide” was ready with another assistant to escort me down the hall to one of the treatment rooms. The first room I was taken to wasn’t particularly large in size, but was equipped with a medical reclining chair and some equipment. My second assistant didn’t speak much English, but I discovered the purpose of this room was to apply all of the numbing cream in my treatment areas. She covered my underarms, bikini line (awkward!), and forehead. The broken blood vessels to be treated on my face were not numbed. When she finished, I was left to sit for 30 minutes while the cream took effect.
|Sitting and waiting for my treatment to start…
TIP: You can bring your phone with you. Both my gown and robe had pockets,
After thumbing through a few of the Korean fashion magazines stacked beside me, my quiet assistant returned and scraped off all of the cream. She then took me to a similar, neighboring room for the broken blood vessel treatment. Dr. Lee came in with yet another assistant, and they got right to work. If there’s one thing I’ll say about Dr. Woo & Hann’s Skin Clinic, it’s that they’re a very well-oiled machine! Here’s how my treatments went:
Broken Blood Vessel/Red Spot Treatment on Face (approximately 2-4 minutes)
I was floored by how fast this was, though looking back, it’s fairly simple and I don’t see why it should take longer. The assistant led me to the chair, and a few moments later Dr. Lee came in. The machine was already up and running, so he literally zapped the 6-7 spots I had and we were in and out of that room within a few minutes. I was shocked it was that quick, but I suppose there isn’t too much fuss to be made over such a straight-forward treatment!
Laser Hair Removal on Bikini and Underarms (approximately 10 minutes)
This was also wickedly fast. One thing that I find is interesting (and different from laser hair removal treatments in the west) is that they actually request that you don’t shave before coming in. Back in the USA, my aesthetician would request that I shave the day of–and even then, she would often shave over the area right before using the laser on me. Here in Korea, they asked that I didn’t shave for 2 weeks before coming in, so I had noticeable hair growth. This is pure speculation, but my guess as to why American clinics have you shave is due to the smell of burning hair. With laser treatments, the laser burns any hair it hits and makes the entire room stink. Yuck. But on the plus side, as the laser blasted away hair I could see exactly where Dr. Lee had treated to get my desired look. Also, I should add that I’m very grateful that they used a numbing cream. I didn’t have that in the USA, but my treatments also weren’t as highly-powered. (Or as effective…correlation?) Here’s to hoping the increased level of discomfort also leads to a far more dramatic decrease in hair!
Botox for Wrinkles on Forehead (approximately 3-5 minutes)
Dr. Lee did my Botox in the same room as my laser hair removal. He actually treated a bit more than just the main forehead line that was really bothering me, but my end cost was still the same. Since they had numbed my forehead, it was painless and very, very quick!
The laser hair removal and Botox were done in yet another neighboring room, because different equipment is required. After all of these, I still had one treatment remaining: the facial to remove my milia. Dr. Lee put a few dabs of numbing cream (something I certainly never got in the States!) on my face. I sat with this and a few ice packs to cool down my skin from the laser hair removal treatment before heading off for my facial. However, since the facial wasn’t a laser procedure I went back to the locker room, changed, gathered my things (including a prescription form from Dr. Lee), and headed down to the 2nd floor where the Aesthetic Center was. On this floor, they treat skin, hair, and scalp issues. The woman at the counter knew I was coming, and officially checked me in upon arrival. I waited for about 10 minutes before a woman came and led me into yet another locker room. This time, I wasn’t having anything treated anywhere except my face, so my locker was just used to store my jacket and bag.
She led me down the hall to a large, long room where there were many beds side-by-side. I was guided to a bed on the end, next to another woman having some funky lights whirled over her face. The bed was soft, very comfortable, and heated. The room was calm and quiet despite its size and number of occupants. Here’s what my facial itself was like:
Facial for Removal of Milia (approximately 20-30 minutes)
Because of the numbing cream, the facial was pretty painless. Back in the USA (and when my milia was much worse) I would have hour-long facials where I was wincing in pain with each individual removal. This was a pretty dramatic 180! The only minor complaint I have is that the woman working on my face left about halfway through (I’m not sure if she was treating other patients or what; I was honestly struggling not to fall asleep because I was so comfortable) but returned to finish the entire process within 30 minutes. She was very thorough with her removal, checking my forehead as well as my problem area around my chin and cheeks.
And that’s about it! After my facial, I was all set and ready to go. Since I had already paid for everything at the Laser Center that morning, my last step was to fill my prescription. The pharmacy is located right outside the door of the Aesthetic Center, so I was able to conveniently fill my prescription on site. I’m guessing they serve this clinic fairly exclusively due to the sheer volume of clients who come to Woo & Hann’s, and were very fast. Within 5 minutes, I had my prescription with a brief English run-down, and was out the door heading back to my hostel!
My total time for everything was about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I arrived at 9, but my appointment wasn’t scheduled until 9:30. I finished at about 11:45 and had a noon check out at my hostel, so the timing was perfect. I didn’t have any visible side effects from the treatments, so I was able to quickly put on makeup and go about my day. My total costs came to ₩528,000, which showed up on my U.S. credit card statement as $458.00. Can’t complain about that!
Everything ended up being ₩34,000 cheaper than I was originally quoted somehow, though I’m not 100% sure where it factors in because my bill is grouped from the individual centers. The aesthetic center bill was ₩60,000 as quoted, but the laser bill came out to ₩468,000. The original quotes for my laser treatment, botox, and hair removal added up to ₩502,000 All of those treatments have prices that can fluctuate depending on severity, so it could have just been that Dr. Lee felt fewer treatments were necessary in a particular area and therefore factored in a slightly smaller discount.
Spring 2016 Update: I went back to the Aesthetic Center and had a second facial. This time they charged me ₩88,000, but it involved several more steps and peels. The whole process took over an hour! They also really cleared out my milia well, and as they were finishing offered to put on moisturizer and sunscreen too. Still much cheaper than the $100 USD I pay back home for just an extraction!