Following the Government's review of cosmetic products and procedures, we recently published an updated Help Note on Cosmetic Interventions to give clear guidance on how advertisers can ensure their ads, for both surgical and non- surgical procedures, are responsible and not misleading.

The Keogh Review, which was commissioned by the Department of Health, sought to address concerns about standards for cosmetic surgery following the PIP implant scandal which exposed lapses in product quality and after-care. It also drew attention to cases of misleading and inappropriate advertising practice, such as before and after photos which may not have shown a realistic result or ads that imply a procedure will make you ‘feel great’ without any supporting evidence and so creating potentially unrealistic expectations. The results of the consultation were published in a report in April 2013.

What the Review clearly identified was that cosmetic intervention is booming for both surgical procedures– such as face-lifts, tummy tucks and breast implants – and non-surgical treatments – such as dermal fillers, Botox or the use of laser. But the Review also found that the regulation of non-surgical treatments has been light, despite it being the biggest area of growth for the industry.

Our existing Cosmetic surgery Help Note did not include specific guidance for advertising non- surgical treatments. We know that it’s important that we are able to reflect the changing market, particularly the huge growth in non-surgical procedures and the increasing use of digital marketing.

Our new guidance now includes advice on before and after photographs, production techniques, prescription-only-medicines (POMs), Botox, Sales Promotions, endorsements and testimonials, responsibility and targeting. This will help industry interpret the relevant sections of the Advertising Codes and help the ASA Council when considering future complaints about ads for cosmetic intervention.

Further information

Read the updated Help Note on Cosmetic Interventions

Contact CAP Copy Advice team for bespoke advice on your non-broadcast ads

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