By Marcus Leach
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned airbrushed cosmetic adverts featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington as they are 'not representative of the results the products could achieve'.
The advertising watchdog has pulled the adverts after Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson made the complaint, with ASA agreed that the images were exaggerated and breached its code of conduct.
Whilst L'Oreal admitted to having retouched the adverts they denied either were misleading.
Ms Swinson claimed that the adverts were examples of misleading advertising and furthermore could easily contribute to body image problems.
"We should have some honesty in advertising and that's exactly what the ASA is there to do. I'm delighted they've upheld these complaints," she said.
"There's a big picture here which is half of young women between 16 and 21 say they would consider cosmetic surgery and we've seen eating disorders more than double in the last 15 years.
"There's a problem out there with body image and confidence. The way excessive retouching has become pervasive in our society is contributing to that problem."
Speaking to the BBC Guy Parker, chief executive of ASA, said that airbrushing in adverts was a 'question of degree', and that they could only be banned from use if they are misleading, harmful or offensive.
"If advertisers go too far in using airbrushing and other post-production techniques to alter the appearance of models and it's likely to mislead people, then that's wrong and we'll stop the ads," he said.
"Advertisers must be able to provide appropriate material to us to demonstrate what retouching they've done in the event we question them, and they mustn't mislead.
"In this event L'Oreal didn't provide us with that evidence so we were left with no choice but to uphold the complaint."
L'Oreal admitted the image of model Christy Turlington had been airbrushed in order to 'lighten the skin, clean up make-up, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows'.
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