Health care is very affordable in Korea, so it would be silly not to make use it! EPIK teachers contribute towards a medical fund, making the trip to the doctor, dermatologist or dentist far less painful.
I used to be very bad at wearing sunscreen: during my 8 year scuba diving career I’d use SPF15-20 for the first two days in any new country. The rest of the time I would burn then tan. My face, chest and back were permanently in the sun. I hated sunscreen because using it lead to break outs. I’ve had a few moles on my neck and chest area ever since I can remember, but one sprouted on my face 5 years ago. That’s around the time I started wearing sunscreen regularly… The possibility of skin cancer always floated at the back of my mind so I decided to face up to the unknown.
I went to my local dermatologist to have my 4 moles removed. I had to present my ARC (Alien Registration Card) to prove that I was paying into a medical fund. The doctor had a look at my moles and surprisingly enough, they were all benign, which meant I had to pay the full treatment price (40,000 won/ US$40) instead of 20,000 won if they were dodgy (malignant).
The procedure was straightforward. An anesthetic cream is applied to the moles and left on for about 20 minutes. The doctor used a laser to burn the moles off. It felt like series of small zaps and I could smell the burning flesh but it was very bearable and over quickly.
I was given clear dressings to protect the wounds and to aid the healing process. I did a little experiment. I did NOT use the dressing on my face and neck but went swimming in the ocean and got sand in and all over my open wounds instead. I DID put dressing on my chest wounds. My chest wounds not only took longer to heal, but they also have more visible scarring although I technically took better care of them. The wounds on my face and neck were pretty much gone within 14 days but my chest wounds took about twice as long. Maybe I have weird skin… I know that next time I’ll probably just expose my wounds to sand, sunlight and seawater again 😉
It’s worth mentioning that getting a mole removed does not mean that the hair follicle is killed off. If you had a sexy, thick black hair sprouting from your mole it’s going to keep on growing afterwards so don’t throw your tweezers away just yet.