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Love Island Cosmetic Surgery Ads -  Educational or Irresponsible?

Love Island Cosmetic Surgery Advertising - Educational or Irresponsible?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Author: Mr. O Branford, MA MBBS PhD MRCS FRCS

There has been much scrutiny over the “predatory” plastic surgery advertisements that are being aired during Love Island, with doctors calling for them to be banned.

Mr Olivier Branford, Consultant Aesthetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Cadogan Clinic and the world’s no.1 social media authority for cosmetic surgery believes that such advertisements have the potential to trivialise surgery and prey on the insecurities of young people. Below he shares his thoughts on marketing responsibly across all media channels:

Cosmetic surgeons and clinics have a duty to market responsibly across all media channels, whether television, newspapers, magazines, online or social media. All forms of marketing have the ability to manipulate and persuade audiences and measures need to be put in place to ensure that the marketing is not detrimental.

Any type of marketing surrounding cosmetic surgery should be used to educate, rather than giving the hard sell to people. Advertising during entertainment shows to young audiences de-sensitises and trivialises cosmetic surgery, promoting it as a viable option to impressionable young people.

The motives of advertising during Love Island, which features scantily clad contestants all of whom have modelling backgrounds, are questionable. There is a line between educating and exploiting, one that appears to have been crossed in this situation. Such marketing is intended to make a maximum profit and is not in the best interest of the audience.

The Love Island housemates are not a true representation of society’s body shapes and this strategic advertising has the potential to promote body insecurities amongst young people and feelings of inadequacy. This version of “reality TV” simply does not reflect the diversity of real life and is far from reality.

The Love Island audience exceeds 2.5Million people of which 56% are aged between 16-34 years and children as young as four make up 6% of the audience. Explicit advertising to such a young audience has the ability to mount pressures on young people and contribute to negative body confidence and even mental health issues from an early age.

In an interview with the Mirror, psychologist Dr Becky Spelman stated that these advertisements “destroy body confidence” whilst NHS boss Simon Stevens told The Andrew Marr Show “The time has come to think long and hard about whether we should be exposing young people to those kind of pressures.” Body image is a very sensitive subject for individuals of all ages, especially young people and thoughtless advertising can escalate insecurities. It is time for a reform.

This pseudo-celebrity culture distorts the norm, making people feel like they need to have surgery to fit in and comply with society, which is very dangerous. Surgery is a major step, it is not a quick fix to solving emotional unhappiness or personal issues, it won’t necessarily deliver perfection and it’s certainly not something that should be taken lightly. As well as marketing responsibly, surgeons also have a duty of care to their patients, to ensure they fully understand the procedure and that they seeking it for the right reasons.

Mr Bryan Mayou, Cadogan Clinic Founder world renowned Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon comments, “Traditionally doctors published their scientific results and GPs and medical professionals would refer suitable patients to the appropriate specialist on this basis. It was a system that worked well, but now patients understandably want to be part of the decision making process. The GMC and the specialist associations, BAPRAS & BAAPS see the need to inform and educate the public.”

Specific GMC guidelines state:

- 48 You must make sure the information you publish is factual and can be checked, and does not exploit patients’ vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge.

- 49 Your marketing must be responsible

“It is a matter of judgement whether the cosmetic surgery advertising surrounding Love Island is just providing information to people who might be interested, or exploiting the vulnerable,” concludes Mr Mayou.

The Cadogan Clinic strongly urges anybody considering cosmetic surgery procedures or non-surgical treatments to thoroughly research their procedures and surgeons, to establish whether they are a suitable candidate for the actual treatment and to ensure safety.

Questions to consider before seeking cosmetic surgery or aesthetic treatments:

  • What do I want to achieve through this procedure? How will this benefit me?
  • What are the risks associated and can these be minimised?
  • What is the recovery? What plans could you have in place to support this?
  • What does the procedure actually involve? Don’t just look at the result, consider the step by step process and discuss this with your surgeon.
  • Do your research on your surgeon or aesthetician - where have they trained, what professional bodies are they a member of, how long have they trained in this field?
  • Ask to see before and after images of patients they have treated so you can see real results for yourself.