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ASA cracks down on botox advertising

By Zoe Wickens | 13 January 2020 | Movers & Shakers, News


A tightening of advertising rules on botulinum toxin injections by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been welcomed by the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF).

The new rules state that prescription-only botulinum injections cannot be legally publicly advertised on social media, including paid-for or not paid-for marketing posts and promotional advertising offering Botox treatments as a competition prize.

Advice from the Committee of Advertising suggests that any direct reference to botulinum toxins (including names such as Beautytox or Beautox) in advertising images or hashtags should be removed. In addition, the committee warns not to use alternatives such as ‘wrinkle relaxing injections’ as it still counts as promotion of a prescription-only medicine. References to ‘anti-wrinkle injections’ alongside a price will also be counted as an ad.

Promotions should not refer to treating medical conditions in a way that suggests you are promoting a prescription-only medicine, for example ‘injections for excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)’.

What you can say…

You can promote the service you provide and the consultation, for example ‘a consultation for the treatment of lines and wrinkles’ but you must be very careful not to directly or indirectly advertise a prescription-only medicine.

The ASA has allowed a grace period until 31 January to allow advertisers to voluntarily remove adverts that do not comply with the new rules. From 1 February, monitoring technology will be used to detect non-compliant posts and to serve enforcement notices.

Caroline Larissey, NHBF director of quality and standards, said: “We welcome the crackdown on advertising, especially on social media which can unduly influence young people or vulnerable adults to have treatments that may not be needed.

“For this reason, we would also support a ban on injectables being provided for under 18s.”

A copy of the enforcement notice can be found here.