Ads for cosmetic procedures that are designed to change a person’s physical appearance are to be banned from targeting under-18s from May next year, the regulator has announced.
The new rules mean companies will no longer be able to advertise procedures such as breast augmentation or reduction, abdominoplasty or “tummy tucks”, eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, facelifts and hair restoration surgery around television programmes likely to appeal to under-18s or in other media that is aimed directly at under-18s or with a large proportion of the age group among the audience.
The ban also covers dermal fillers and skin rejuvenation treatments such as injectable treatments, chemical peels and laser or light treatments and teeth whitening products.
It follows a consultation in response to concerns about the potential harm of advertising cosmetic interventions to children and young people, such as body image pressures and mental health issues, as well as the risks and potential complications of the procedures.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said evidence contributed to an “ever clearer picture” that children and young people are vulnerable to body image pressures, and that negative body image perceptions were prevalent among those groups, which could have an impact on their self-esteem, wellbeing and mental health.
CAP director Shahriar Coupal 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.”