Who is advocating "anti-aging after the age of 18"?

Medical aesthetic projects "target" young people to sell appearance anxiety and age anxiety

● With the popularity of the medical aesthetic industry, many young people are willing to pay for beauty. However, in order to seize the market and expand the flow of customers, some medical aesthetic institutions sell appearance anxiety and age anxiety in their publicity, advocating that "anti-aging is better as soon as possible" and "anti-aging after the age of 18", which attracts young people who are eager to do medical aesthetics blindly and ignore their real needs

● Many medical aesthetic advertisements promote "anti-aging" and "anti-aging as soon as possible", and most products define "anti-aging" as 20 to 25 years old, and some even as low as 18 years old. Some ads define "early aging" in terms of common and broad skin conditions, such as enlarged pores, loose skin, and crow's feet

● Some medical beauty institutions advertise "low price" and "ultra-low price" to let young people enter beauty salons, but when they actually consume, they are induced by the store to add money to place an order. Merchants ostensibly give profits to consumers, but in reality, there may be hidden charges or offline promotion, etc., to increase the unit price of customers and increase revenue

● Consumers should choose formal medical aesthetic institutions and refuse to blindly follow the trend. Regulatory authorities should intensify efforts to crack down on the illegal provision of medical cosmetology services, focus on key areas, and strictly control the spread of medical cosmetology services and publicity to minors and school students

□ Ding Yi, trainee reporter of this newspaper

□ reporter Wen Lijuan

"All kinds of apps are pushing medical beauty advertisements for anti-aging projects to me, claiming that 'the sooner the anti-aging, the better'." Lin Ya, a graduate student of a university in Haidian District, Beijing, recently complained to a reporter from the "Rule of Law Daily" that she was still very young when she was in her early 20s, but according to the medical beauty advertisement, it was time to "fight aging and aging". If you read too many advertisements like this, you can't help but feel anxious.

What Lin Ya complained about is the common phenomenon of medical cosmetology, anti-aging and anti-aging projects "targeting" young people. The reporter's investigation found that many medical beauty institutions are currently advertising such as: "25-year-old anti-aging is a bit late, people start to age after 18 years old, the sooner the anti-aging is better", "From the age of 20, the collagen in the skin decreases at a rate of 1% per year, and the skin enters the stage of natural aging"...

With the popularity of the medical aesthetic industry, many young people are willing to pay for beauty. According to the 2023 China Medical Aesthetic Industry Insight Report, the average age of the surveyed potential consumers is 28 years old, of which 30% are under the age of 75. Among those under the age of 25, 29% plan to increase their spending or try more in 2023. In this context, many businesses are focusing on young people. However, in order to seize the market and expand the flow of customers, some medical aesthetic institutions sell appearance anxiety and age anxiety in their publicity, advocating that "anti-aging is better as soon as possible" and "anti-aging after the age of 18", which attracts young people who are eager to do medical aesthetics blindly and ignore their real needs.

What publicity methods have been used by medical aesthetic institutions that "target" young people? Is it reasonable to attract consumers with appearance anxiety and age anxiety? Is there a problem with advertising slogans such as "the sooner the better", which is vigorously claimed by the agency? The reporter conducted an investigation and interview.

Linking age to medical aesthetics

The sooner the anti-aging, the better

"The medical aesthetic program has been very popular recently, and the advertisement suggests that the age of anti-aging is about 25 years old." After seeing such advertising slogans many times, Zhao Ting, 24, of Xicheng, Beijing, thought it was true, and immediately chose a medical beauty institution that "looks very reliable" on an online shopping software, and consulted two beauty consultants in the store by phone.

Two beauty consultants recommended different anti-aging programs to Zhao Ting, one recommended Thermage (cost more than 10,000 yuan), and the other recommended ultrasound gun (cost thousands of yuan), and both suggested that she come to the store early for a consultation.

"During the consultation, the clerk said that my face is relatively fleshy, which is suitable for ultrasound to tighten the skin, and there is also a lipolysis effect, and this project can show 20% effect on the spot, and the effect will get better and better, and it will reach the best after one month." Zhao Ting recalled that the clerk repeatedly emphasized that people will age after the age of 18, so the sooner the anti-aging, the better, if you are 20 years old, you will look similar to 30 years old at the age of 20.

Under the offensive of the clerk's left sentence "Your face will age very quickly if you don't fight aging in time" and the right sentence "The ultrasonic gun is the most cost-effective for you", Zhao Ting immediately spent thousands of yuan to make an ultrasonic gun. But after the ultrasound gun, she felt that her face had not changed, but her face had been hurting for almost half a month, and now she pressed on the upper edge of the jaw, and there was obvious pain.

Recalling that time, Zhao Ting bluntly said that she was fooled by the clerk and became hot-headed, not only convinced of the concept of "anti-aging while she is young", but also prepared to do ultrasound guns and even Thermage for a long time, and even began to plan anti-aging after the age of 30. The clerk said that after the age of 30, it is not enough to do photoelectric projects, and it is recommended to have surgery and some injections. Calm down and think about it, the so-called medical beauty and anti-aging make people feel like they have fallen into a bottomless pit. ”

Recently, the reporter consulted several medical beauty institutions on "what to do in their early 20s to keep the skin white and tender", and many institutions recommended anti-aging projects: some recommended Thermage; Some recommend ultrasonic guns and say "this is the most popular"; Only one told reporters that "there is no need to do medical beauty and anti-aging projects in their early 20s, and it is recommended to do a good job of skin care at ordinary times", "in terms of medical beauty, you can consider doing some basic skin rejuvenation and injection hydration projects, and then anti-aging in four or five years".

The reporter searched for some medical beauty advertisements and found that there were many advertisements promoting "anti-aging" and "anti-aging as soon as possible", and most of the products defined "anti-aging" as 20 to 25 years old, and some even as low as 18 years old. Some advertisements say that "although it is recommended to fight early aging at the age of 25, there is no clear medical division for the age of anti-early aging", and then define "early aging" with some common and broad skin conditions: "If you have the following conditions, you can put anti-aging on the agenda: when you are without makeup, the facial pores are enlarged, dry and dull, and there is no luster; Loss of collagen, sagging skin to the touch, lack of elasticity; When making relatively large expressions, there are crow's feet, forehead lines, and glabellar lines. ”

Quite a few respondents found this kind of propaganda problematic. "Ordinary people basically have these symptoms, and even if they don't, they will feel that they have them under this hint. If you take a big project to fight aging in your 20s, what should you do when you are 30 or 40 years old? If you have dark circles, you should go to bed early, eat a healthy diet, and adjust your lifestyle, instead of going for 'panda injections' (a medical aesthetic program to solve the dullness of pigment around the eyes and fillers around the eyes) and do various anti-aging programs around the eyes. Ms. Wang from Jinan, Shandong Province, said.

"It is not advisable for young people in their 20s to be overly anti-aging, and human aging is determined by telomeres, and there is no problem of aging itself at a young age. Nowadays, some young people's anti-aging is mainly due to the flickering of medical and aesthetic institutions, resistance to aging, and then anxiety, excessive anti-aging will have an adverse effect on the body, and it is also a waste of resources. Ms. Zhang, chief physician of the internal medicine department of a tertiary hospital in Zaozhuang City, Shandong Province, said.

Low prices attract younger customers

Multiple words are tempting to place an order

The reporter interviewed and found that in addition to using "anti-aging, the sooner the better" to induce young people to consume, some medical beauty institutions have played "low prices" and "ultra-low prices" to attract young people to enter beauty salons.

Not long ago, the reporter saw in a medical beauty hospital in Chaoyang District, Beijing, due to the launch of various low-price promotional activities during the "Double 11" period, there was an endless stream of customers who came to write off, and the scale of this store is not small, but because there are too many people, 20 chairs have been temporarily placed in the lobby of the store. Customers wait in the lobby first, wait for their name and number, and then go to another room to confirm the package with the clerk.

Zhang Yun, 25, is one of them. "I saw the promotion of this medical aesthetic institution on social software, and the price was very attractive, seven or eight items added together totaled 99 yuan, with an average of only a dozen yuan each, so I paid according to the instructions and went to the store for verification on the first day of the write-off." Zhang Yun told reporters.

After waiting in the lobby for nearly half an hour, Zhang Yun was finally called to write-off, but the write-off was only "the beginning". "The clerk gave me a preferential price list, saying that I came to verify the package today and these 'powerful discounts', and suggested that I should not miss it. Then he began to guide me through the various items on the preferential price list. Zhang Yun introduced, "I have been recommended a lot of projects. Because I had never done a medical aesthetic project before, I had a headache with all kinds of unfamiliar terms. The clerk stared at my face, her burning gaze making my heart beat faster. She asked me my age, and after I told me that I was 25 years old, she immediately glanced at me with surprise and said, 'Did you first contact medical aesthetics at the age of 25?', and said that she was a few years older than me, but because of the medical aesthetic program, her skin condition was much better. I felt anxious all of a sudden. ”

Zhang Yun said that because her skin is sensitive, she once thought that she was not suitable for medical beauty projects, and this consumption was originally just to "gather wool", but in the end the wool did not come to fruition, but contributed to the business volume. "I want to write off the 99 yuan card first, go home and ask my friends before deciding if I want to buy more. But the clerk told me that there is only one chance of discount, and the price on the preferential price list is only available for consumption in the store on the spot, "This price is really discounted, it's a pity to miss it, you may have to wait another year", "These are all suitable for sensitive skin, it's not too late for you to start". In the end, I spent more than 3000,<> yuan on two projects. ”

"Most of the low-price promotions attracted young people who had almost never been exposed to medical aesthetic programs, such as student parties, and 80% of the girls on that day looked about the same age as me, or even younger than me. Some young people don't have a lot of money and have to pay with a credit card. Zhang Yun said.

Zhang's story is not unique. Recently, the reporter found on social platforms and third-party complaint platforms with keywords such as "medical beauty", "low price" and "selling anxiety" that many young people are attracted by low-cost medical beauty projects, but when they actually consume, they are induced by the store to add money to place an order with multiple words. For example, a consumer complained that the store posted a low-cost package on a shopping platform to attract traffic, and used a group purchase link to "fish". The consumer was attracted by the low price displayed by the store on the platform, and when he arrived at the store, the supervisor said that "there is no beautician who can provide services for the time being", and did not provide the services purchased by the consumer, but promoted various other medical aesthetic procedures to him.

"The starting price of card recharge is 5000,1080 yuan, and the store told me that the price of the card on the day is cost-effective, which can offset the consumption of <>,<> yuan on the same day, and give additional items. If I choose not to apply for a card, I will not be able to enjoy the discounted price, and I will only have to pay at the original price. Eventually, I got a hot head and was induced to get a card. The consumer said, "I regret it now, the merchant attracted consumers through low-price drainage, and then induced me to recharge." ”

"After medical cosmetology institutions attract consumers with low prices, they are suspected of fraud, false publicity, and infringement of consumers' right to know by asking for additional money and order upgrades in disguise. Zheng Zhongchen, a senior partner of Beijing Lutong Law Firm, said.

Strong supervision and good qualifications

Rectify the chaos of medical cosmetology advertising

Are the relevant slogans such as "fighting the early age while you are young" reasonable?

Fang Zinan, a lawyer at Guangdong Global Jingwei Law Firm, believes that similar advertising slogans such as "25-year-old anti-early aging" involve the orientation of advertising. Of course, medical aesthetic businesses can provide services to young customers, but it is recommended to start more with positive publicity and carefully use methods to create a conceptual impact. "Advocating that anti-aging should start at the age of 25 or even lower, and even artificially inventing the concept of 'early aging', is inevitably suspected of creating appearance anxiety, which in itself is contrary to the value orientation inherent in the Advertising Law and the Guidelines for Enforcement of Medical Beauty Advertising."

He told reporters that the use of the concept of "anti-aging" itself is very easy to be identified as false propaganda or false advertising and other illegal situations. According to the Guidelines for Law Enforcement of Medical Cosmetology Advertisements issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation, medical cosmetology advertisements cannot guarantee or promise the effectiveness of their diagnosis and treatment in the form of advertisements. Unexplained promotion of "anti-aging" can easily be understood as drawing an equal sign between the implementation of the project and the intended effect, which is itself a violation. In fact, even if there is a way to slow down or even eliminate some of the appearance signs caused by aging through medical aesthetic procedures, this treatment effect can be accurately described through the concepts of lightening fine lines and removing freckles, which are still two different concepts from the promotion of "anti-aging".

"The oral publicity of staff in offline business premises should be understood as a part of sales activities, and does not exist independently of sales activities, and belongs to the category of commercial promotion, which is regulated by the Anti-Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Rights Protection Law, not the Advertising Law." Fang Zinan said that whether it is publicity or advertising, it is necessary to strictly prevent crossing the boundary between false propaganda and advertising, and consciously maintain good social morality and avoid harming the interests of consumers. Taking "anti-aging after the age of 18" as an example, advocating that most young consumers who are not yet economically independent, whose ideas are not fully mature, and who are still in school need to fight anti-aging as early as possible, is suspected of misleading consumers, and objectively has the risk of constituting unfair competition acts such as false propaganda.

So for consumers, what should they pay attention to before doing medical aesthetic projects?

Zheng Zhongchen suggested that consumers should choose formal medical aesthetic institutions, refuse to blindly follow the trend, and increase vigilance and recognition of the advertisements of top-ranked medical aesthetic institutions searched on the Internet, the medical aesthetic "grass planting notes" seen on short video platforms, or the "successful cases" shared by netizens on social platforms.

Fang Zinan believes that consumers should grasp several principles when carrying out medical beauty projects: do what they can and do not consume ahead of time; Understand that medical aesthetics is only a personalized choice made based on personal aesthetics, and is not affected by deliberate marketing of appearance anxiety words; When the individual's cognitive ability is not yet mature and the development path is still uncertain, it is necessary to be cautious in purchasing medical aesthetic programs; Safety first, refuse to carry out medical aesthetic projects in unqualified private institutions, do not use any unknown drugs and projects that have not been filed in China, and projects involving subcutaneous injection and surgical surgery should be carried out in hospitals with qualified medical qualifications.

"The market supervision department should do a good job in the registration and management services of business entities, strengthen the qualification review, strengthen the sharing of information on 'certificates' and 'licenses', vigorously promote the coordinated supervision of departments, increase law enforcement, rectify all kinds of medical cosmetology advertising chaos in accordance with the law, and focus on cracking down on problems that are harmful and concentrated by the masses." Zheng Zhongchen said.

Fang Zinan also mentioned that in response to the phenomenon of "excessive" support and even instigation of young people in the medical cosmetology industry, the regulatory authorities can start work in the following aspects: intensify efforts to crack down on the illegal provision of medical cosmetology services, and strictly investigate and deal with individuals and institutions who are not qualified to provide services, provide services beyond the scope of services, and use unapproved drugs or procedures without authorization; In view of the flood of medical aesthetic marketing information on the Internet, more detailed regulatory policies should be formulated to provide institutional tools for distinguishing between legitimate publicity and illegal advertising. Strictly control the chaos of online influencers publishing medical beauty advertisements, creating appearance anxiety, and providing medical beauty intermediary services through "personal experience", "women's growth", "health preservation experience" and other methods; Firmly grasp key areas, comprehensively and strictly control medical aesthetic services, and publicize the phenomenon of spreading to minors and school students.

(Lin Ya, Zhao Ting, and Zhang Yun are pseudonyms in the article)

(Rule of Law Daily)