19 January 2024
You may be aware of a worrying trend that has recently developed on some social media platforms promoting the use of anti-ageing products by teenagers or even pre-teens. As the organisation representing cosmetics and personal care companies in the UK, CTPA is concerned by this and advises that this is a not a trend that should be encouraged.
Brands producing anti-ageing skincare products develop them for adults. They will be carefully formulated to act on adult skin and the efficacy of the formulation will be documented by research on adult skin. Companies will tailor their marketing to the intended consumers.
The manufacture and sale of cosmetic products in the UK and EU are covered by strict safety laws , the UK and EU Cosmetics Regulations. The regulations talk about normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use of cosmetic products. It is not considered normal use for a child to use an anti-ageing product.
While it is important that we look after our skin, teeth and hair, whatever our age, for children the focus should be a simple washing and tooth brushing regime, and protecting the skin from the sun.
In addition to the laws covering cosmetic product safety, there are rules to ensure consumers are not misled by cosmetic claims. Brands must comply with a Code of Practice, known as the CAP Code, which requires marketing and communications to be designed with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. This is a requirement from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s independent advertising regulator. The ASA makes sure ads across UK media adhere to the advertising rules. The CAP Code contains specific requirements for adverts featuring or aimed at children, regardless of where the adverts are being placed. This includes social media. The ASA states: “Advertisers should ensure that they don’t portray particular body types in an irresponsible manner or present an unhealthy body image as aspirational, exploit people’s insecurities about their body image”. The ASA has guidance on social responsibility focussing on body image that can be accessed here.
It is important that cosmetic companies, advertising organisations, social media personalities and influencers are aware of their legal obligations under the UK’s advertising rules, and their responsibility to consumers, especially children.
Read more, from Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, Dr Anjali Mahto: