Yell’s Advertising Policy (the “Policy”) is based on the UK Code of non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing Practice (“CAP Code”) which regulates online and non-broadcast advertising. It is operated and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Yell’s Policy is intended to provide guidelines as to the type of Advertising that we permit and the standards we expect. Any Advertising must comply with all and any laws, statutes, and regulations in place that may apply to the products and/ or services that you purchase and the categories/ locations in which you wish to utilise them. We require you to always comply with the Policy.
Please be aware, if you add any Content to your Advertisement that is in breach of the Policy, Yell reserves the right to amend, decline, suspend or cease to publish it or any part of it, immediately and without prior notice to you.
We recommend you always review the information available to you on the ASA’s website.
This article specifically provides guidance for businesses promoting beauty and cosmetic services.
If you want to review a specific topic, select it from the list below and it will take you to the relevant section.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1. Efficacy Claims
- 2. Prescription Only Medicines (POMs)
- 3. Vitamin Injections
- 4. Botox
- 5. Anti-Wrinkle
- 6. Dermal Fillers
- 7. Anti-Ageing/ Anti-Ageing Treatments
- 8. Rejuvenation
- 9. Non-Surgical Face-Lifts
- 10. Fat Dissolving/ Freezing
- 11. Weight Loss Treatments
- 12. Body Wraps
- 13. Cryotherapy
- 14. Teeth Whitening
- 15. Hair Removal
- 16. Smoking, Stopping
- 17. Detoxing
- 18. Tattoo Removal
1. Efficacy Claims
Efficacy relates to the capacity for producing a desired result or effect, for example, a products effectiveness. Where appropriate, you must hold clinical evidence of any efficacy claims and should ensure they do not exaggerate the effects of their product, either through implied claims, before and after photos or post-production effects.
You can find more information about this here.
2. Prescription Only Medicines (POMs)
POMs have to be prescribed by a doctor or other authorised health professional and have to be dispensed from a pharmacy or from another specifically licensed place. Websites offering POMs principally, those for clinics and pharmacies, should primarily offer the consultation service rather than the POM itself. Websites, which offer POMs may provide information about those POMs but only in the context of the product being offered as a possible treatment option following that consultation. The offering of a "consultation" in the first instance is paramount because the POM should not be referenced (directly or indirectly) on the home page of a website or in logos, testimonials, and hover text.
POMs include, for example, Botox (as further detailed below), Vistabel, Dysport, Bocouture, Azzalure, Saxenda, Ozempic, Liraglutide, Semaglutide, Rybelsus (Skinny Jabs, Skinny Pills), Aqualyx, lipostabil lipodissolve, intravenous or injectable vitamins, anabolic Steroids, tramadol, flab jab and antibiotics (this list is not exhaustive) are prohibited in any Yell product.
Products that are either medicinal by function (the product contains one or more active medicinal ingredients) or medicinal by presentation (the product is presented as being able to treat or prevent disease or correct, restore or modify physiological functions) should not be advertised to the public unless you hold a valid, licence, registration or marketing authorisation and the claims in the marketing communication conform to that licence/ registration/ authorisation. You should refer to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for advice.
Whilst we cannot advertise POMs to the public, you are permitted to promote a consultation with a medical practitioner/ someone suitably qualified to discuss any medical problem.
For a basic guide on POMs, please see here.
3. Vitamin Injections
As set out in Section 2, injectable vitamin D and injectable vitamin B12 are prescription only medicines and, cannot be advertised to the public. The promotion of these is therefore prohibited in any Yell product.
We recommend the following phrases instead: “the consultation for Vitamin Boosters/ Vitamin Injections/ Vitamin IV” on your own website.
For a basic guide on POMs, please see here.
As set out in Section 2, Botox is a prescription only medicine and it must not be directly or indirectly advertised to the public. This rule extends to posts on your own social media pages.
Whilst reference to these POMs and POM treatments are prohibited, a reference to a consultation on the area of treatment is likely to be acceptable provided that reference is representative of the licence for that POM. For example, the claim “a consultation for the treatment of lines and wrinkles” (for POM injectables like Botox) or “a consultation for the treatment of erectile dysfunction” (for POM Ed treatments like Viagra), is likely to be considered acceptable in Advertisements, provided the POM itself is not referred to (directly or indirectly).
The offering of a “consultation” in the first instance is paramount because the name of the POM shouldn’t be referenced in any Advertisement on Yell Marketplace.
On this basis, the Policy also prohibits the use of the following phrases: Wrinkle Relaxer/ Relaxing, Muscle Freezing, Muscle Inhibitor, and Muscle Relaxant.
Recommended phrases include, for example, facial line softening; treatments to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles or the consultation for fine line and wrinkles.
Therefore, there should be no reference to a POM in any Yell product a home page of a website, on logos, in testimonials, hover text, and any small print at the bottom of a home page should not refer to a POM or directly link consumers to a page where it is referred to. And price lists included on a website shouldn’t include product claims or encourage viewers to choose a POM based on the price.
If you offer both ‘prescription-only’ treatments like Botox and also ‘non-prescription-only’ treatments like fillers, this might be acceptable – but you must ensure that nothing else in the Advertisement implies that the term “injections” refers exclusively to Botox.
As an example, if you say you offer “anti-wrinkle injections and fillers”, this suggests that the “injections” is referring to Botox. The ASA would therefore recommend referring to “anti-wrinkle injections” or “anti-wrinkle treatments” as a collective term for both the ‘prescription-only’ and ‘non-prescription-only’ treatments.
If you only offer ‘prescription-only’ treatments, the ASA advises against “Anti-wrinkle injections”, as it’s likely to be seen as an implied Advertisement for a ‘prescription-only medicine’.
If you only offer ‘non-prescription-only’ treatments like fillers, and don’t administer Botox at all, then the claim “anti-wrinkle injections” is likely to be acceptable.
For further information on this, please see here.
6. Dermal Fillers
The ASA accepts that some cosmetic products can help to give skin a more youthful appearance by temporarily reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The ASA accepts similar claims for “lip fillers”/ “dermal fillers”, such as Collagen, Restylane and Perlane, that can be injected under the skin.
You may refer to fillers as being capable of temporarily reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but should not suggest either that treatment can cure or rejuvenate skin or that lines and wrinkles will be permanently eliminated. Unqualified claims, such as “wrinkle reduction”, are unlikely to be acceptable.
You can include alternative phrases such as “to improve/reduce the appearance of fine lines and/or wrinkles”, or “facial line softening or plumping”.
For further information on this, please see here.
7. Anti-Ageing/ Anti-Ageing Treatments
It would be difficult to prove that a face cream had an “anti-wrinkle” or “anti-ageing” effect (that it could remove wrinkles or reverse ageing), referring to a cream as an “anti-ageing” cream in a context that explained the effect was only temporary or worked only on the appearance of wrinkles is likely to be acceptable, however.
Claims that a laser treatment can remove wrinkles, the signs of ageing, or that the treatment is safe or painless, are not generally accepted by the ASA. It is also recommended that you avoid implying that the lasers can remove fine facial lines and wrinkles permanently. It is accepted that some lasers can offer a limited improvement to or lighten the skin under the eyes – although it is understood that effect is unpredictable and at worse, could make the condition worse.
Advertisements should make clear that the effect will be temporary (for example “could temporarily lighten”) and you should be able to show that the lasers you use are proven to be effective for the specific condition described.
Therefore, using claims such as “temporary effects” or the “appearance of lines and wrinkles” or “nourishing [or “plumping”] the skin with moisture” are generally accepted by the ASA.
Other acceptable claims include “reduce (or improve) the appearance of ageing skin”, “reduce the visible signs of ageing”; “appear younger/more youthful”; “ageing skin”; “facial line softening”; “temporary facial tightening or toning”; and “cosmetic enhancements.”
Mesotherapy is a cosmetic therapy that can improve dull, tired looking skin and superficial wrinkles but can also help to improve sluggish blood circulation, aiding the body to flush out ageing toxins. There are two types or Mesotherapy - prescription only and non-prescription only. Where it is prescription only, you must not advertise it to the public.
You should not use unqualified claims such as “cure” or “rejuvenate”. The ASA recommends against other claims that are comparable with “rejuvenate” or, in context, could imply a significant physiological effect. You can, for example, potentially use these terms when talking about the appearance of skin (for example, “rejuvenate your looks” or “regenerate your skin’s appearance” and “renew the look of your skin”) – however, when referencing the biological make-up or something deeper in the actual skin/cells, words such as “regenerate/rejuvenate” are likely to be considered unacceptable by the ASA. The ASA generally advises on the use words such as “revitalise” and “refresh”, but other claims might be acceptable depending on context.
We would therefore recommend the use of the following phrases:
- “revitalisation” for example, “photo revitalisation”.
- “to improve/reduce/soften the appearance of fine lines and/or wrinkles”.
- “facial line softening for superficial skin treatments”.
See here for further information.
9. Non-Surgical Face-Lifts
Claims such as “non-surgical face-lift” and “facelift without surgery”” or claims similar are not recommended because they imply the product is equivalent to surgery and has immediate and permanent results. Similarly, visuals of lasers, scalpels, syringes, and other medical equipment associated with cosmetic surgery might be considered unacceptable by the ASA. You might be able to describe the product as ‘non-surgical’ but you should do so in a way that does not convey a misleading impression about the effects of the product. You should also be aware that “non-surgical” does not always equate to “non-invasive”.
Therefore, claims such as Non-surgical Face-lift/lifting/ body lift are not recommended. A common reference to this term is used in connection to an electrical device called CACI. Recommended phrases therefore include “CACI Non-Surgical Facial(s)”, “CACI Non-Surgical Treatments”, or “HIFU non-surgical facials.”
The ASA accepts that beauty treatment devices that apply an electrical current to muscles, normally facial, in order to reduce or remove the signs of ageing can temporarily tighten and tone the skin and that the consequent benefits, such as a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, can be maintained with repeated use. It has not, however, seen evidence that these devices can do more than this. The ASA recommends that you do not make claims which go further than “temporarily tones and tightens the skin”. In addition, “temporary facial tightening (or toning) as well as “CACI Facial Treatments” are acceptable.
Likewise, references to Facial Lifting/Lift are not recommended. As with weight loss claims, phrases such as temporary toning or tightening for example, temporary face and body toning is likely to be accepted.
There are also procedures called ‘Hydradermie Lift’ & MINT PDO Thread Lift. The ASA advise that as long as the page content makes clear that the product has a “temporary toning and tightening affect” the reference to the brand “Hydradermie Lift” or PDO Thread Lift is acceptable to be considered by the ASA.
Other forms of non-surgical facial procedures include Chemical skin peels, micro needling, and Profhilo which are also acceptable.
It is essential that you consider the following whilst targeting surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures:
- All Advertisements for cosmetic interventions must not appear in non-broadcast media directed at under-18’s.
- Advertisements for cosmetic interventions must not appear in other non-broadcast media where under-18’s make up over 25% of the audience; and
- Broadcast Advertisements for cosmetic interventions must not appear during or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to under-18’s.
See here for further guidance.
10. Fat Dissolving/ Freezing
You should not claim that your product is “clinically proven” or make any other claim about the product’s efficacy being supported by clinical trials, unless you can provide adequate evidence, including full copies of relevant scientific papers, to demonstrate this.
“Fat Dissolving” is a prohibited phrase in any Yell Advertising. Instead, you may include a reference to the consultation for the treatment of weight related issues. Fat Freezing on the other hand is accepted in good faith. Please remember, you must be able to substantiate any fat loss claims you make.
11. Weight Loss Treatments
Saxenda, Ozempic (injectables) and Rybelsus (oral), often marketed as “Skinny Jabs” or “Skinny Pills” are POMs and cannot be advertised to the public.
Furthermore, Advertisements that make claims that people can lose specific amounts of weight within a certain time, is prohibited. Testimonial claims of weight loss which are not compatible with good medical and nutritional practice, and Advertisements that promote weight loss to people who are not overweight and in ways that exploit people’s insecurities about body image, break social responsibility rules. It is not necessarily a problem to use thin models, however you must ensure that models are not depicted in a way which makes them appear underweight or unhealthy. Particular care must be taken with Advertisements that depict or target young people.
While you should be able to promote your products in the best possible light, you must stick to the rules; for example, you should not exaggerate the effect the product is capable of achieving to provide an unrealistic impression. Therefore the use of production techniques in advertising should be used with caution.
If you are making weight loss statements for products that are not diet programmes, exercise, surgery, or psychotherapy, you will need to remove weight loss statements from your Advertisements and landing pages.
The following terms are prohibited in any Yell Advertising: Fat Melting, Fat Busting, Fat Busting Injections, Flab Jab, Lipodissolve and Lipolysis.
The term "Cellulite" is not recommended either unless the treatment is Endermologie, in which case you we recommend you use the phrase: “to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite”.
We also recommend other phrases such as temporary toning/ tightening or, temporary body toning.
12. Body Wraps
Advertisements for body wraps should not encourage diet or lifestyle practices that are unhealthy. They should not, for example, encourage consumers to avoid drinking water in order to maintain the temporary effect gained from water loss.
It is understood that body wraps can have a temporary effect on weight and size, however this is the result of little more than the expulsion of water from the body - much like a sauna or steam room - rather than loss of body fat. Any claims about the likely effects of such treatments should therefore reflect this.
You may make general claims for temporary weight loss or inch loss but should not claim that weight can be lost from specific areas of the body that the treatment is suitable for the overweight, or that any effects will be long lasting.
You should remember that before and after images are likely to be considered implied efficacy claims. As such, robust supporting evidence that the product or treatment is effective at achieving the results shown must be held.
You should also ensure they met the requirements of the rules, in relation to holding signed and dated proof that the photos are genuine and are being used with permission.
Cryotherapy uses a source of very cold air which is applied to specific parts of the body. Practitioners claim that the therapy can have a range of medical and aesthetic applications and benefits, but it is most commonly used in the treatment of muscle pain and post-sports muscle recovery. The therapy is usually carried out at a clinic, but devices are sometimes sold for home use.Any claims that the therapy can have a therapeutic or aesthetic effect or can help with fat/weight loss would need to be supported by robust clinical trial evidence. You must ensure you do not make claims to diagnose or treat some medical conditions as these could be seen to discourage essential treatment unless that treatment is being carried out under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional.
14. Teeth Whitening
If you offer or provide dental treatments or advice without being registered with the General Dental Council, you may be committing a criminal offence. Tooth whitening is a dental treatment which can permanently alter the structure of your teeth. It should only be undertaken following a proper assessment by a registered dentist and on their prescription, specifically a dentist, dental hygienist, clinical dental technician, or dental therapist.
In order to legally receive payments for offering or providing dental treatments:
- As an individual, you must also be registered with the GDC.
- As a company, you must ensure that a majority of directors are registered with the GDC.
15. Hair Removal
If you promote hair removal products and devices, you should ensure that you hold robust clinical evidence for the efficacy of your product.
Lasers, Epilight and IPL
The efficacy of laser treatments can vary according to skin type or colour and hair type and colour. You should avoid giving the impression that laser hair reduction will be effective for all consumers. You should also avoid the implication that it can be used for skin types for which it will not be effective. We would recommend you use the phrase, Permanent Hair Reduction. Alternatively, you could use the phrase, Hair Removal, but without the reference to Permanent.
If you are unsure about the regulation or classification of a laser device should contact the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for medical/dental/some aesthetic lasers and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for non-surgical lasers in the first instance. You should also ensure that you do not promote the use of lasers if you are not or do not employee a qualified technician. You may also be asked to provide evidence of your registration to Yell.
Depilatory/ Hair Removal Creams
Hair removal creams are unlikely to remove hair down to the root; they can remove hair down to the skin only. You should not state or imply (by, for example, using illustrations) that surface regrowth will be slower unless they hold convincing evidence that it will.
Conventional needle electrolysis can remove hair permanently but not painlessly. Tweezer electrolysis can, after a reasonable number of treatments remove around 40% of hairs permanently. Again, the treatment is not painless. It is not accepted that ‘patch’ electrolysis has been proven to remove hair permanently. Where you are providing Electrolysis as a treatment then you can include the phrase, Permanent Hair Removal. This is only recommended for Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal.
16. Smoking, Stopping
If you offer treatment for smokers to help them stop smoking to hold proof if they claim or imply that smokers will have to make no effort to overcome their addiction. Unqualified claims such as ‘Stop Smoking the easy way’ or ‘Stop Smoking in 1 hour’ are unacceptable without substantiation. You should avoid making specific claims such as ‘x% success rate’ without rigorous substantiation. Claims such as ‘If you really want to stop smoking, then one session could be all you need’ or ‘Hypnotherapy could help you to give up, if you are determined to stop smoking’ are fine as long as they are not used to imply that the smoker will be able to break the habit without self-control on their part. Attending a course, being hypnotised, or buying a book cannot by itself be sufficient to enable a smoker to quit their habit.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), considers a smoker who is unable to quit without artificial aids to be addicted and therefore a product presented to help stop smoking is presented to treat the addiction or its symptoms. As such, all anti-smoking products (e.g., Nicorette) are regarded as medicinal and you should hold a relevant marketing authorisation before making smoking cessation claims. You should seek advice from the MHRA if you are unsure about whether your products or claims are medicinal.
Therefore, we recommend that emphasis be on helping individuals stopping rather than suggesting they use an e Cigarette, for example.
If you have previously made detoxing claims for foot pads, patches, and devices you should note that neither CAP nor the ASA has seen evidence that those types of products can remove toxins from the body. If you do not hold clinical trial evidence to support claims about this type of product, detoxing and similar claims are likely to be problematic. Claims that products such as wraps can aid weight loss as a result of flushing away toxins or which suggest that an accumulation of toxins can lead to adverse medical conditions are also likely to be problematic without a robust body of evidence.
We recommend that you seek advice from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to establish whether detoxing and associated claims for patches, wraps and clothing are medical claims. You are reminded that if an Advertisement includes medical claims about the products, they would likely need to be certified and registered as medical devices.
18. Tattoo Removal
Lasers can be used for a multitude of treatments, but you must in the first instance ensure your device is safe. You are responsible for the classification of your devices, whether for medical or beauty purposes, and ensure that it holds the appropriate CE Marking. If you are unsure about the regulation or classification of a laser device should contact the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for medical/dental/some aesthetic lasers and the Care Quality Commission for non-surgical lasers in the first instance. You should also ensure you do not promote the use of lasers by unqualified technicians. See also CAP’s guidance on Medical Devices.
You should take care not to exaggerate the extent to which your laser product can remove tattoos, should not promise scar-free skin if this is unlikely to be achieved and should not state that the tattoo can be removed in one session if this is not the case. CAP understands that some lasers are more effective than others in removing colour from multi-coloured tattoos (especially green, orange, or yellow hues). You should be careful not to claim that coloured tattoos will be effectively and completely eliminated in all circumstances: the results will vary, and factors include the type of laser used, the size of the pigment particles and the skill and technique of the tattooist. If you wish to claim that the lasers can and will remove a tattoo entirely, you should ensure that they hold the robust evidence to support this claim.