Most K-Pop fans know how harmful idol diets can be, but the truth is that they affect more than just weight and nutrition. In a new “Comment Defenders” video with AYO on YouTube, two veteran dermatologists with experience in the K-Pop industry revealed how idols’ diets can affect their skin too.
Between them, YOU&ME CLINIC directors We Chan Woo and Jeong Seon Mi have two-and-a-half decades of experience working in dermatology. Since their clinic is in the popular and wealthy Gangnam district where numerous companies built their headquarters, it’s no surprise they’ve treated several idols over the years.
In particular, We Chan Woo—the clinic’s hospital director—says she’s worked with a lot of female idols. Red Velvet‘s Wendy is one girl group member who has naturally great skin with few blemishes, according to Jeong Seon Mi, but not every idol is so lucky. In fact, a lot of stars suffer from common skin problems like acne—and We Chan Woo says diet has a big impact.
When I talk to [female idols]… they really don’t eat.
— We Chan Woo
Director We Chan Woo explained that female idols are often on highly restrictive diets when they come to her clinic. These young stars make shocking statements, such as, “I only ate some cherry tomatoes today,” and, “I can’t eat anything else but this.” We revealed she felt “so bad” when one idol saw chocolates on her desk and asked if she could have just one.
Of course, this will come as little surprise to many K-Pop fans, as numerous female idols have spoken out about extreme dieting in the past. For example, KARA‘s Han Seungyeon revealed she wasn’t allowed to eat or even drink water during “Mister” promotions, while IU famously once followed a daily diet of nothing but one apple, two sweet potatoes, and a protein powder drink. Idols have reported feeling faint, actually fainting, experiencing anxiety, and suffering stomach pain as a result of restrictive eating, but one diet side effect many people don’t know about is acne.
We Chan Woo explained that when people who usually experience periods don’t eat enough, their menstrual cycle comes to a halt. On an episode of the podcast Get Real, Ladies’ Code‘s Ashley Choi shared an identical story. After eating nothing but cherry tomatoes to satisfy her agency, she didn’t get her period for a whole year. Even hormone shots couldn’t bring her menstrual cycle back, and her period didn’t start again until she was able to relax and eat what she wanted.
This hormonal imbalance, the hospital director says, can lead to skin troubles. This is because estrogen and androgen levels impact how much oil the skin glands produce. “I feel a bit bad for them,” We Chan Woo lamented, and fans can certainly agree.