Cosmetic treatment firms must stop hard sellWhich? warns industry over irresponsible marketing

04 December 2007

Woman's face being injected

People are increasingly choosing to give nature a helping hand

Which? has today warned the cosmetic treatments industry to clean up its act or face a government crackdown.

In a speech at today's Laing and Buisson conference on cosmetic surgery procedures, Which? health campaigner Frances Blunden pointed to a culture of irresponsible marketing, gimmicks and pressure sales as undermining the industry’s attempts to self-regulate.

This follows an investigation by Which? at November’s Body Beautiful Show in London, which uncovered 20 examples of companies flouting industry rules with their marketing materials.

Botox

This included the advertising of Botox – which contravenes Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulations, as Botox is a prescription-only drug – as well as time-dependent discounts and refer-a-friend deals. Companies also offered cosmetic procedures as competition prizes 

Which? found 20 examples of firms flouting rules

The speech comes as the Department of Health looks set to announce the de-regulation of laser treatments in what Which? condemns as an increasingly casual approach to non-surgical procedures.

'Irresponsible marketing'

Frances Blunden said: ‘Our research shows a cavalier attitude towards the marketing of cosmetic treatments, which is completely unacceptable.

‘We re not just talking about a few rogue operators - we're continually finding examples of irresponsible marketing from some of the biggest and most "reputable" names in the industry.

‘We seriously question whether self-regulation of this industry can really work. No cosmetic treatments are risk-free and consumers must be adequately protected.'