ADVERTS for cosmetic surgeries are no longer allowed to target teenagers, regulators have announced.
It includes a crackdown on social media promotions in a win for The Sun’s Had Our Fill campaign.
The new rules, from the UK’s advertising watchdog, will come into force from May 2022.
Companies will no longer be able to advertise products such as lip and face fillers, Botox, boob and nose jobs to under-18s.
Ads can’t be placed across any non-broadcast platform – such as social media, magazines, and from influencers – or adjacent to programmes on TV or radio that appeal to teens.
Laura Trott MP said: “This is a huge and welcome step forward in protecting children from unnecessary and potentially dangerous procedures, and I’m pleased that my Bill and the Sun’s campaign have helped make it happen.
“No child needs Botox or fillers and as a result of today’s announcement, unscrupulous providers will no longer be able to target the most vulnerable in our society”.
The changes follow a public consultation by the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP), which writes the rules that all UK advertisers must follow.
There have been growing concerns about the impact of advertising for plump pouts and other treatments on the mental health of young, impressionable people.
CAP said “children and young people are particularly vulnerable to body image pressures and negative body image perceptions”.
Research shows those in their teenage years are most likely to see a rapid decline in positivity about image.
Shahriar Coupal, the CAP director, said: “Because of the inherent risks of cosmetic intervention procedures and the potential appeal of these services to young people struggling with body confidence issues, it’s important we set the bar necessarily high in terms of marketing.
“The new rules will ensure ads can’t be targeted at under-18s and, where children and young people do see them, our strict content rules mean the ads can’t mislead or otherwise exploit the vulnerabilities of their audience.”
The move means that adverts for surgery cannot be placed alongside programmes such as Love Island, which draw millions of young viewers.
In the past adverts for breast enlargements have been shown and subsequently banned from being shown around the show’s slot.
Ban on procedures for teens
While under-18s cannot get plastic surgery, the adverts were deemed to encourage very young women to think about body insecurities.
Many women shown in such adverts were young, albeit over 18, or were social media influencers with teenage audiences.
There is no actual regulated minimum age for implant surgery, such as breast enlargement, although most surgeons will specify women must be at least 18 unless for exceptional reasons.
However, until this year, under-18s have been able to get dermal fillers to tweak their faces, with some admitting they got addicted to the face-transforming jabs due to insecurities.
Under-18s have been lawfully banned from getting lip fillers or Botox since October of this year.
It was a victory for The Sun, which has been campaigning for the change in conjunction with Save Face since January 2020.
The campaign also calls for a crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers – an aim which the new advertising ban pushes forward – and a Government-backed register for qualified practitioners.
A shocking 70 per cent of women and girls desperate for lip fillers choose their practitioner from social media, a Sun investigation found.
Injections are for sale on Facebook’s Marketplace, which is supposedly only available to those aged 18 or older but in practice no proof of age is needed to sign up.
Beauticians and other self-taught cowboys were happy to inject 16-year-olds at the time.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has been calling for a ban on public advertising of cosmetic surgery companies since 2012.
President of the association Mary O’Brien said she welcomed the ban on advertising cosmetic procedures to children but “it does not go far enough and protect them from influencers and celebrity endorsement”.
She said: “Teenage years are a crucial time in a young person’s psychosocial development including body confidence.
“We would go further to advocate legislation to prevent any irresponsible advertising whatsoever around cosmetic procedures both surgical and non-surgical to the public.
“Many adults are coerced by celebrity endorsement to pursue a specific treatment rather than being able to have a balanced and individualised discussion of benefits versus risks.
“We have recently published a Code of Candour for Celebrity Marketing where we are calling for more transparency around paid promotions or inducements such as free treatments.”
Had Our Fill campaign
Britain’s Botox and filler addiction is fuelling a £2.75billion industry.
The wrinkle-busting and skin plumping treatments account for 9 out of 10 cosmetic procedures.
50% of women and 40% of men aged 18 to 34 want to plump up their pouts and tweak their faces.
Fillers are totally unregulated and incredibly you don’t need to have ANY qualifications to buy and inject them.
83% of botched jobs are performed by people with no medical training, often in unsanitary environments – with devastating results.
Women have been left with rotting tissue, needing lip amputations, lumps and even blinded by botched jobs.
Despite the dangers, there is no legal age limit for dermal filler, which is why Fabulous has launched Had Our Fill, a campaign calling for:
- fillers to be made illegal for under-18s
- a crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers
- a Government-backed central register for practitioners with accredited qualifications
We’re working in conjunction with Save Face and are backed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).
We want anyone considering a non-surgical cosmetic treatment to be well-informed to make a safe decision.
We’ve Had Our Fill of rogue traders and sham clinics – have you?
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