Beauty training course provider ads banned for misleading consumers

Advertisements from three beauty training providers promoting courses related to lip filling procedures and anti-wrinkle injections have been banned for misleading consumers.

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) complained about advertisements from Aesthetics Lounge Academy, Aesthetics Uni and Boss Babes Uni which it believed did not conform to its standards.

The JCCP objected to claims on the Boss Babes Uni website in February that it was “an advanced training company who train unique beauty courses across the UK”.

It also challenged a downloadable PDF document which stated Boss Babes Uni provided a qualification for “Anti-Wrinkle Injections and Dermal Fillers” on its “amazing 3 day course medics and non medics”.

The Facebook page for Aesthetics Lounge Academy was challenged for its claim in February that its “VTCT NVQ Level 3 in Beauty Therapy” worked as “a bridging course” allowing students to “progress directly onto our aesthetics courses such as Dermal Fillers or Anti Wrinkles (Botox)”.

An ad from Aesthetics Lounge Academy advertising a dermal filler or anti-wrinkle practitioner course
An ad from Aesthetics Lounge Academy advertising a dermal filler or anti-wrinkle practitioner course (Advertising Standards Authority/PA)

The JCCP also objected to the website for Aesthetics Uni which featured a page in February entitled “COURSE Practitioner Lip Filler” and challenged whether its claims gave a misleading impression of the advertised courses.

In its three rulings, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted the NHS advised patients seeking dermal filler “to avoid practitioners who had only completed a short training course” as complications “could be serious, including infection, nerve damage and blindness”.

The ASA said advertisements for courses teaching the administration of beauty treatments such as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal filler should provide prospective students with information on course requirements, length, the qualification which would be attained and whether these met the standards needed to join a relevant professional register.

It added such information was important because “it gave students an indication of the likelihood of the course giving them the knowledge and skills required to safely carry out the procedures independently”.

Boss Babes Uni said its anti-wrinkle injection and dermal filler courses were run by fully qualified medics and were accredited by the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Certification Service.

It said it worked with insurers who advised them of the minimum qualifications for students to be trained, provided the ASA with a screenshot of a Facebook post of a graduate which said they had registered with Save Face and explained it was creating its own register for training academies.

But the ASA said it did not consider the Facebook post to be “robust evidence that graduates of the advertised course were eligible for registration on a relevant professional register”.

It noted that insurance providers stated that for non-medics to be insured to carry out the procedures, they needed to have an NVQ Level 3 in general beauty, VTCT Level 3 in anatomy & physiology with six months’ experience in medical needling or a medical degree with no Medical Council registration and with 12 months’ experience of medical needling. Medics required a Medical Council registration.

One section of the Boss Babes Uni advertisement stated: “This is our amazing 3 day course for medics and non-medics. Pre course requirement’s are on the therapists merit, usually the insurance will require at least level 3 a and p vtct, full beauty level 3, or semi permanent make up artist.”

The ASA said that this “implied that there was no minimum requirement for entry on to the course, but that prospective students were made aware that they would need an existing qualification to obtain appropriate insurance.”

It argued that the advertisement was unclear to prospective students about what exactly was required to enrol and ruled it was “likely to mislead”.

Aesthetics Uni said it had removed the claim “You can now enter this course as a novice and learn a range of techniques for injection of lip filler” from its website.

An ad from Aesthetics Uni advertising a practitioner lip filler course
An ad from Aesthetics Uni advertising a practitioner lip filler course (Advertising Standards Authority/PA)

But the ASA said this “was not sufficient to prevent the ad from misleading”.

Among its criticisms, it said the website was not clear about “how students would obtain the knowledge or practical experience required to safely administer the procedures, or to deal with complications when things went wrong”.

Aesthetics Lounge Academy said it would change its claims to make clear its NVQ Level 3 course was a starting point into aesthetics rather than a bridging course.

It also said its courses were accredited by the CPD Certification Service.

The ASA said proposed changes to the advertisement were insufficient to stop it from being “misleading”.

It noted that the top of the Facebook post included the text “Do you want to become a Dermal Filler or Anti Wrinkle (Botox) Practitioner?”.

The ASA said that details on the post were “ambiguous” as to what the course covered, provided no information on the minimum standard of entry and lacked clarity on how students would be able to move on to a further course that taught them to safely administer procedures.

The ASA ruled that all three advertisements “must not appear again in the form complained of”.

Boss Babes Uni, Aesthetics Uni and Aesthetics Lounge Academy were told to ensure future advertisements did not omit information such as courses’ entry requirements, duration, the nature of training and whether they met standards necessary for enrolment on a professional register.

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