Girls looking at cosmetic surgery ads on Instagram


A ban will be put on cosmetic surgery ads targeted at under 18s in the UK and will come into force in May 2022. It comes after concerns were raised regarding the mental health of young people and the growing issue of body image pressure. However, with this ban covering all forms of advertising, such as social media through influencer marketing, billboards and newspapers, it’s difficult for cosmetic surgeries to know exactly who they’re reaching with their ads.

So, in today’s blog, we’re looking into this ban. We’ll be exploring what the ban is, what it means, why it was implemented, and how this will affect cosmetic clinics all over the UK.


What Does the Ban Mean?

It is a ban on all advertisements that promote cosmetic changes and enhancements to the body or face directly aimed at people under the age of 18. This is because performing cosmetic treatments to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal, unless for medical reasons – even making a booking for someone below 18 is against the law in the UK. Thus, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which writes the regulations that all advertisers must follow, decided that this ban was the best practice to clarify any confusion or avoid misleading information.

It means that all advertisements promoting cosmetic enhancements, such as breast augmentation and rhinoplasty, which are directly targeted at those under 18, will no longer be allowed. This includes social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat through organic posting to accounts, paid advertising, and influencer and celebrity-endorsed advertisements. Additionally, it includes a ban on email and text marketing and physical advertisements such as posters, billboards, newspapers, and leaflets.


Young teenage girl scrolling on her phone in bed looking sad


Why Was This Ban Implemented?

The CAP implemented this ban to clear the misleading suggestion that those under 18 could undergo cosmetic surgery and treatments. However, the main reason that the ban is being introduced is down to concerns about the amount of pressure put on young people regarding body image. Many advertisements targeted at adolescents suggest that they would be happier if they went through with cosmetic surgery, which isn’t the message that reputable cosmetic clinics want to send to their audience. Here at Aesthetic Skin Clinic, we believe that getting cosmetic surgery is a personal and adult choice, not one that should be made due to any social pressures.


What Does This Mean for Cosmetic Clinics?

The ban means that targeting cosmetic enhancement and surgery content under 18s will be illegal. Thus, cosmetic clinics will need to be responsible for advertising to ensure that this does not happen. If young people see the ads, the CAP has declared that they must not be misleading or exploit the audience’s vulnerabilities. For example, it must be clear that they are advertising, as some social media influencers, including Chloe Ferry, have been found to have posted advertisements claiming that they were paid to post them. This can be extremely harmful to a young or easily influenced audience and is something that CAP are stringent on cracking down on.

As a cosmetic clinic or someone selling a cosmetic enhancement product such as teeth whitening, you must ensure that your advertisements are safe, realistic, and do not encourage anyone under 18 to purchase a product or service from you.


Woman in her 30s at a cosmetic surgery consultation


How Can You Advertise Safely and Responsibly?

Advertising safely is crucial in the cosmetics industry, and when the ban is implemented in May, it will be a legal requirement to ensure no ads target those under 18. As medical professionals, we at Aesthetic Skin Clinic ensure that our adverts are honest and apply no pressure to those viewing them to undergo cosmetic procedures. We understand that cosmetic enhancements, including surgery, can have incredible effects and improve people’s confidence dramatically. Still, we also know that it is not always the answer, especially if people suffer from mental health issues, including body dysmorphia.

If you’re looking to have cosmetic surgery, you must choose a reputable clinic such as Aesthetic Skin Clinic. With years of experience and a team of award-winning medical staff, we will always guide you in the best direction, providing our expertise and professional care throughout your time with us. During your discreet consultation, you will speak to a member of our team who will listen to your wants and needs, ensuring you are happy every step of the way.

Please explore our website to view the complete list of treatments and surgeries available. Also, don’t forget to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about the ban on cosmetic surgery ads targeted at under 18s.