The Woman Who Injected Oil In Her Face & The Dangers Of DIY Fillers

In 2008, the story of Hang Mioku went viral. The former model and singer injected cooking oil in her face – with disastrous results.

In the 1980s, Hang Mioku was a beautiful Korean model with a stunning face and a flawless complexion. She travelled to Japan to further her modelling career and by her late 20s, she appeared to have the world at her feet.

These ambitions soon became sidelined in favor of Hang’s pursuit of beauty in a bottle. Undergoing her first cosmetic procedure in Korea at the age of 28, she continued to have facial filler injections following her move to Japan.

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A rare photo of a young Hang Mioku before plastic surgery. Credit: Rex Features.

Unfortunately for Hang, her ‘drug’ of choice was liquid silicone. Approved in the US for retinal detachments, the use of medical grade silicone as a facial filler is considered ‘off label’ and controversial to the extent that most qualified doctors caution against it, instead preferring to use reversible hyaluronic acid fillers. Making matters worse, it is clear that Hang received injections of non-medical grade silicone at some point – which is a type of impure silicone used in hardware caulk.

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After repeated silicone injections, Hang’s face ballooned significantly. Her treatment providers refused to perform any more injections on the former model, who conversely, had become convinced that permanent fillers had made her more beautiful. In reality, Hang’s face had been altered to such an extent that her own parents didn’t recognize her. In desperation, they took her to a doctor who diagnosed Hang with a psychological disorder.

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Hang Mioku, before and after silicone injections

She embarked on a treatment programme for her mental illness which proved too expensive for Hang to keep up. As is often the case with recovering addicts, she relapsed into her old ways, finding another ‘doctor’ willing to inject her face with more liquid silicone.

When funds became low, and unable to find anyone to assist her, Hang took matters into her own hands. After acquiring a bottle of liquid silicone on the black market, she self-administered her own facial injections and quickly used up an entire bottle. But the Hang’s real problem began when her supply ran out.

She continued her DIY plastic surgery project – using cooking oil as a substitute. The results, sadly, were catastrophic.

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Severe scarring, discolouration and a grotesquely swollen facial appearance were the end result of Hang’s three decade pursuit of “smooth and soft skin”. Her face was swollen to the extent that local children mocked her with taunts of ‘standing fan’ – a nickname that came about due to her abnormally large face and small body.

The Woman Who Injected Oil In Her Face – Viral Internet Star

Hang’s story made headline and TV news in her home country seven years ago, and various international news outlets picked up the story afterwards. Although she was held up as an archetypal example of a psychologically unstable plastic surgery patient, kindhearted Koreans donated enough money to enable her to undergo reconstructive surgery. During Hang’s first surgery, surgeons removed 60 grams of foreign matter from her face and an incredible 200 grams from her neck. Further operations were undertaken – yet unfortunately for Hang, the overall improvement was negligible.

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Now in her 50s, Hang remains permanently disfigured by her self-administered facial injections. Although she enjoyed her new found celebrity for a while and was even featured in a televised South Korean singing contest, she told reporters that she just wished she could turn back the clock and return to her original appearance.

Around the time of her internet fame, Hang Mioku was working in a low key job in a South Korean clothing store. She soon faded back into obscurity, and her exact whereabouts are unknown.

The Dangers Of Self Injecting Unapproved Fillers

Unfortunately, the number of women and men who are engaging in similarly dangerous methods of home beautification is rising. The effects of these treatments are – in some cases – disfiguring, and in other cases, they have proven to be lethal.

One of the main issues is the nature of the filler itself. In Asia, silicone remains a popular DIY filler. But the rise of black market silicone injections – i.e. hardware store silicone – has given unscrupulous, untrained individuals the opportunity to run lucrative underground businesses selling bottled labelled ‘beauty minerals’ to those with no medical training. Often, these substances are toxic.

Hang Mioku certainly wasn’t the first individual to self-inject unapproved substances into her own face. Two viral internet stories of a similar nature have since done the rounds – an American woman who injected beef fat into her own face (and later died from unrelated health complications), and a Mexican hairdresser who injected baby oil into his face almost 20 years ago.