Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Many marketers claim that lasers can improve the appearance of skin. In fact, medical lasers have been used for cosmetic purposes such as the removal of birthmarks, acne scarring, blemishes, thread veins, wrinkles and tattoo removal. More traditional use is for hair reduction and more recently, claims to “regrow” hair. See Hair Loss

Marketers must hold robust scientific evidence to support claims made for weight loss. The ASA upheld a complaint about i-Lipo, a non-invasive procedure using lasers because it had not seen suitable evidence which showed that the treatment could reduce fat and improve the appearance of cellulite, both of which were considered to be breakthrough claims (The Contour Clinic, 21 August 2013). See also, Weight control: Cellulite.

Marketers should take care not to exaggerate their products’ performance when making claims for health and beauty treatments. For example, although lasers might be an accepted treatment of choice for removing blue tattoos, CAP understands that they are not always so effective in removing multi-coloured tattoos, especially those with green, orange or yellow components. Marketers should be careful not to claim that coloured tattoos will be effectively and completely eliminated in all circumstances: the results will vary and factors include the type of laser used, the size of the pigment particles and the skill and technique of the tattooist.

CAP understands that the CQC only regulate cosmetic treatments that involve surgical procedures and not non-surgical lasers and intense light treatments (such as hair removal). Marketers who are unsure about the regulation of a device, should contact their local Trading Standards Office or The Department of Health for more information

See Anti-ageing: Procedures using Lasers, Lasers: Acne Lasers: Stretch marks, Laser eye surgery, Hair Loss, and other entries on ‘Lasers’

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