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‘Back to school’ Botox blog promoting injections for moms banned

<i>dimid_86/iStockphoto/Getty Images</i><br/>An advert promoting Botox injections to moms on the
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dimid_86/iStockphoto/Getty Images
An advert promoting Botox injections to moms on the "school run" has been banned in Britain for exploiting women's insecurities.

Lianne Kolirin, CNN

A Botox blog promoting injections to mothers on the school run has been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for exploiting women’s insecurities and perpetuating “harmful” gender stereotypes.

The action was taken following a complaint to the ASA, the UK’s regulator of advertising, about a promotional page on, a British aesthetic treatment comparison site.

Publishing its ruling online Wednesday, the ASA described the investigation in detail.

It said that one of the two web pages it was investigating featured an image of a woman with a child carrying a rucksack, under the heading “Back to school Botox.”

Below it, the text stated: “The start of the new school term has an extra edge of anticipation for us Mums this year. It feels like the beginning of normality … with women bearing the brunt of it all — so it’s great we might finally be turning a little attention back to ourselves.”

Visitors to the site were invited to choose from a wide selection of “medically-qualified practitioners,” all of whom it said were “insured, checked and verified.” The site included links to providers offering treatments, adding that Botox was the “most popular poison of choice.”

It continued: “Glowday has more bookings for treatments in September, then [sic] ever before! Over a quarter of women say lockdown has aged them and are turning to non-surgical aesthetic treatments to put the spring back in their step and perhaps feel more like themselves on the school run.”

A picture of a women wearing a dress and high heels was underneath it, followed by a section titled: “Why are Mums having Botox?” The response, according to the article, was: “All these women really want is to look like the very best version of themselves, and feel confident and self-assured. And that’s exactly what aesthetic treatments can do for us.”

‘Harmful’ and ‘irresponsible’

Botox, a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, works by weakening or paralyzing specific muscles or by blocking certain nerves. Originally a treatment for strabismus, or crossed eyes, in the late 1960s and 1970s, the injections were later harnessed by the cosmetics industry for their skin-smoothing properties and were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat frown lines in 2002.

Under the ASA’s guidelines, prescription-only medical treatments — including Botox — must not be advertised to the public. Glowday was found to be in breach of this.

The ASA said: “We considered the ad exploited women’s insecurities around aging, and perpetuated the harmful gender stereotype that women should look a certain way. We concluded it was irresponsible and breached the (UK Advertising) Code.”

The regulator added that the website “went beyond the provision of factual information and instead promoted Botox to the general public.”

Responding to the ban, Glowday told the ASA that the article was originally published in September 2021 and had since been removed.

It argued that the article was based on research data which surveyed more than 1,000 women aged 26 to 55, many of whom had been involved in childcare and home schooling during the pandemic and school holidays.

Glowday said it reported a rise in treatment following the pandemic and school holidays “because caregivers finally had the opportunity to care for themselves.”

In a statement to CNN, Hannah Russell, founder and CEO of Glowday, insisted it was not advertising Botox because users cannot purchase or book treatments directly on the site.

Instead, Russell said the company aimed to “provide consumers with unbiased information about a whole range of aesthetic and skin treatments.”

Russell said: “The irony of the ASA ruling is that whilst thousands of unregulated, unaccountable non-medic injectors continue to dangerously administer fillers and toxin and promote their services across social media and the internet, without recourse, responsible companies like Glowday and its accountable practitioners that are challenged.”

A spokeswoman for Glowday added that the content aimed at mothers “wasn’t an advert or a promotion” but a “written article from our editor about a trend.”

Holli Rubin, a psychotherapist, body image specialist and mental health practitioner based in London, told CNN: “Women, especially mothers, do not need any additional pressure placed on them — they feel it from all sides — social, emotional, financial, and aesthetic.

“Women fail to put their needs above those they work with and take care of and this advertisement just reinforces that in order to value themselves they must partake in these procedures. It is a shame that this messaging continues to be so pervasive today.”

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