Win for Sun bans lip filler ads targeting teens

REGULATORS have made it clear that teens are not allowed to be the target of cosmetic surgery ads.

It includes a crackdown on social media promotions in a win for Central Recorder’s Had Our Fill campaign.

Under-18s can no longer be targeted in adverts for cosmetic and plastic surgery


Advertisements for plastic and cosmetic surgery are no longer targeted at under-18sCredit: Getty

The new rules, from the UK’s advertising watchdog, will come into force from May 2022.

Advertisements for products like Botox, Botox, lip and skin fillers, Botox and nose jobs to minors will be banned by companies.

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”.

These changes were made after a public consultation of the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP), who wrote the rules that all UK advertising agencies must follow. 

There are growing concerns about the effects of advertising for plump pouts or other treatments on mental health among young people.

CAP “children and young people are particularly vulnerable to body image pressures and negative body image perceptions”.

Research has shown that teens are more likely to experience a decline in self-esteem and positive outlook on 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.”

This means that advertisements for surgery can’t be placed next to programmes like Love Island which attract 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. 

Teens are not allowed to use certain procedures

Although under-18s can’t have plastic surgery, the ads were intended to encourage young women to consider their body insecurity.

These ads featured many young women, even though they were over 18 years old.

Although there is no set minimum age for breast enlargement and implant surgery, most surgeons will stipulate that women must be at 18 to perform the procedure, unless they have exceptional reasons.

However, the under-18s were not allowed to have dermal fillers until now. Some even admitted to being addicted due to their insecurities.

Botox or lip fillers for under-18s are now illegal since October 2011.

It was a victory of Central Recorder, who has been working with Save Face to campaign for the change since January 2020.

Campaign calls for a crackdown of social media sites that promote fillers. This is an aim which new advertising ban pushes forward. Also, a government-backed register of qualified practitioners. 

Sun research found that shocking 70% of those looking for lip-fillers are women or girls.

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 self-taught cowboys were delighted to inject 16-year olds back then.

Since 2012, The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons(BAAPS) has advocated for the ban on public advertisement of cosmetic surgery firms.

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 stated that the teens are crucial years in a person’s psychological and physical development.

“We are committed to promoting legislation that will prevent irresponsible advertising of cosmetic procedures to the public, surgical or non-surgical.

Many adults are coerced into following a particular treatment by celebrities, rather than having a balanced and individualised discussion about the benefits and 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.”

Facebook Marketplace adverts for lip fillers, featuring 'before-and-after' pictures, stock images and special offers


Facebook Marketplace ads for lip fillers include stock images, ‘before-and after’ photos, and special offers
Hundreds of sellers are advertising lip fillers on Marketplace


Marketplace is home to hundreds of lip fillers sellers

Had Our Fill campaign

Britain’s Botox and filler addiction is fuelling a £2.75billion industry.

9 of the 10 cosmetic procedures are wrinkle-busting or skin plumping.

Half of all women aged 18-34 want to slim down and improve their appearance.

Fillers are totally unregulated and incredibly you don’t need to have ANY qualifications to buy and inject them.

83% of all botched jobs are done by people without medical training and often in unsanitary settings – with disastrous results. 

Women are left with rotting tissue that leaves them needing to have their lips amputations or lumped.

Despite its dangers, there’s no legal limit on dermal filler. This is why Fabulous launched Had Our Fill.

  • Fillers made illegal for children under 18
  •  a crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers
  • A Government-backed central registry for practitioners with accredited qualifications

We are working 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).

Anyone considering non-surgical cosmetic treatments should be informed to make an informed decision. 

We’ve Had Our Fill of rogue traders and sham clinics – have you?

At 16, I fell in love with lip filler. I had to get 5ml injections before I felt that enough was enough.

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