Adverts promoting cosmetic interventions to under-18s to be banned
Adverts that promote cosmetic interventions to under-18s will be banned, under new regulations.
The new code will come into force on May 25, 2022, and will cover both invasive procedures such as surgery and injectables, and non-invasive cosmetic procedures.
Examples of cosmetic interventions that the targeting rules cover include, but are not limited to: cosmetic surgery, dermal fillers, skin rejuvenation treatments such as injectable treatments, chemical peels, microneedling, non-ablative laser treatments, laser or light treatments, micropigmentation and teeth-whitening treatments.
Ads for these cosmetic interventions will be banned from appearing in non-broadcast media directed at under-18s or where under-18s make up over 25% of the audience, such as print, social media and influencer ads.
They will also be banned from appearing adjacent to TV and radio programmes "commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to under-18s".
The change comes following the results of a public consultation last year, carried out by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP).
CAP said in a statement, “The evidence shows there is potential that exposure to different forms of media including advertising, particularly those that focus on body image ‘improvements’ such as cosmetic intervention procedures, is likely to exacerbate body image dissatisfaction and negativity during vulnerable stages of [children’s] lives.”
To assist advertisers in understanding how to comply with the new restrictions, the Advertising Guidance on Cosmetic Interventions has been revised.
The new guidance also covers issues such as exaggerated or unrealistic claims, including through the use of before-and-after images, and outlines the circumstances under which it is acceptable for doctors to use terms, including “qualified”, “skilled”, “consultant”, “specialist” and comparative claims such as “leading” and “highest calibre”.
The news follows the recent introduction of the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill which came into force on October 1, making it illegal for beauty businesses in England to give botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers to under-18s purely for cosmetic reasons.