Cosmetic Sesame

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Many Koreans obsess over skincare products and having smooth skin, trying to give off the impression of perfect skin rather than using makeup. An example of this can be seen in the hundreds of facial masks and creams they sell across the globe. However, the desperation to have a beautiful face may cause a disaster, such as the following story:

 An insecure girl was becoming increasingly worried about her skin. Will my skin get ugly and wrinkled? Will I have acne scars all over my face? These thoughts plagued her mind, causing her to lose confidence and self-esteem. Determined to get smooth skin, she went to the internet for a solution. She tried many different beauty treatments, but none left her satisfied. Creams, masks, moisturizers- nothing sufficed her growing desire to be beautiful in the eyes of others. 

One day, someone told her a beauty treatment she never heard of. According to them, one has to sprinkle sesame seeds on bath water and then lay in it for about an hour or so. This, they said, would smoothen the skin and give it a soft, silky feeling. As soon as she heard of this, she quickly went to the bathroom with a bag of sesame seeds in her hand. Whether it was her insecurity dragging her body or her own will, she hastily filled the bathtub with warm water and dropped the tiny seeds into the water. Some of the seeds sank down, while others hovered on the surface. Once everything was complete, she sat in the tub and leaned back, relaxing on the idea of finally having nice skin. No more acne. No more heavy makeup and judgment.

Or at least that's what she hoped for.

Minutes turned into hours beyond how long she was supposed to be taking a bath for. Her mother noticed this and gently knocked on the bathroom door.

"Just a moment," the girl said.

Every time the mother called out to her or knocked on the door, she would reply with the same exact words. Time ticked away, and now the girl was in the bathroom for about several hours. Unable to wait any longer, the mother decided to take action. She forced open the locked bathroom door and rushed into the bathroom, calling out for her daughter. 

To her horror, her daughter was sitting in a corner, covered with sesame seeds. The seeds were stuck into every pore and crevice on her skin, growing roots to further seep into her skin's layers. Irritation formed red patches on her skin around the seeds. She frantically tried to pick away at the seeds using a toothpick. As some of the seeds scraped off, her skin burned with immense pain. Although the pain was excruciating, she felt nothing due to the despair and hopelessness. In her eyes, her beauty was long gone, with only gaping holes and sesame seeds remaining in her skin.

This story was used in a Korean film named 전설의 고향, also called "The Hometown of Legends". The photos used in this section are from the movie, which displays an idea of how gruesome and disgusting it is. Either way, this shows how one's human desire to look attractive can lead to their downfall, ultimately causing more problems than solutions. 

Although this is the first beauty-related legend in the series, there are more tales similar to this one that will be mentioned in the future. This is probably because of how many Koreans are addicted to looking perfect due to the media's pressure. An example of this can be seen in the pop industry of Korea, also known as K-pop. With music, K-pop idols and bands are constantly being replaced with new, beautiful singers and dancers. When bands get older and fall out of the desired age group, they usually disband rather quickly. So, whenever young fans see these flawless idols and their appearances, they begin to want to look that way as well. The same goes for Koreans that want to become pop idols since they realize that the standard for beauty is high in the industry and that they must look the part if they want a solid career. The constant drive to look young and fresh along with the competitive society of Korea causes people to sacrifice money and time in an attempt to achieve beauty, even turning to plastic surgery out of desperation.

In the end, I'd recommend just sticking to face masks, or maybe even simply washing your face every now and then. The best kind of treatment is whatever makes you feel satisfied, and you shouldn't feel stressed out and insecure by anything on your face.

I also suggest bathing in sesame seeds. What could go wrong?

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