Find the list of banned words for cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia.

If you are unsure or need training on how to promote your cosmetic practice in Australia online, you can contact us

Written by Mau, a Senior Social Media Ad Specialist at eDigital.


What are the banned words developed by the Medical Board of Australia under section 39 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory of Australia from July 2023?

Using the below words may lead you to produce some of the worst misleading advertising examples in Australia


Cosmetic surgery, also known as aesthetic or plastic surgery, refers to surgical procedures that aim to enhance or alter a person’s appearance. 

The use of the below words is banned when publishing cosmetic surgery ads in Australia. Those who breach the new rules, rolling out from 1st July 2023, could face fines or lose their right to practice.

  1. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use words that idealise cosmetic surgery or minimise the risk of cosmetic surgery such as more natural’,hot’ and/or younger’.
  2. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use words that try to minimise the invasiveness of cosmetic surgery such as ‘artistry’, ‘silhouette’ and/or sculpting’.
  3. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use minimising words such as ‘gentle’, ‘simple’, ‘safe’, ‘quick’ and/or ‘easy’.
  4. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use colloquial words or non-clinical words without also using the medical term for the surgery as this detracts from the seriousness of the surgery (including via a hashtag) for example, boob job’, ‘tummy tuck’ and/or ‘Brazilian butt lift’.
  5. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use words that idealise cosmetic surgery such as ‘designer vagina’, ‘barbie’, non-clinical adjectives such as ‘transformation’, ‘amazing’, ‘perfect’ or any other similar words. 
  6. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not suggest or give the impression that cosmetic surgery is the ‘only option’ for individuals who are unhappy with their appearance.
  7. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not offer incentives or inducements. This means you should not use words such as ‘gifts’, ‘prizes’, ‘discounts’, ‘discounted packages’ (bundling) or discounted airfares’, and must not offer benefits such as ‘accommodation’ or ‘spa treatment(s)’ as part of a cosmetic surgery package.
  8. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use words, language or statements which are exploitive, disapproving or imply that a normal change (for example, post-pregnancy body), body shape or bodily feature is abnormal or undesirable or is not aesthetically pleasing and can be fixed or created by cosmetic surgery. This means, for example, phrases or terms such as ‘mummy makeover’, ‘unsightly bulges’, ‘lose the bingo wings’, ‘flabby’, ‘problem area’, ‘hip dips’, ‘thigh gaps’, ‘flat buttocks’ and similar must not be used in cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia. 
  9. Cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia must not use words that encourage interaction with images in a competitive way, such as promotional material that asks for votes on patients’ surgical outcomes or features such as ‘guess the size of the implant’.

Note: The use of emojis on images, in response to images, or in the text of cosmetic surgery advertising in Australia is not allowed. 

Selena Gomez suck stomach in Hailey Bieber laughing bodypositive

Selena Gomez refuses to suck her stomach in – Hailey Bieber laughing  – #bodypositive

Can I use testimonials to promote cosmetic surgery in Australia?

The National Law specifically prohibits the use of testimonials or purported testimonials, such as patient stories and experiences, success stories or fake testimonials, in advertising. Cosmetic surgery advertising must not use testimonials due to their potential to create unrealistic expectations of beneficial treatment.

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We are glad the updated cosmetic surgery practice guidelines and the new advertising guidelines provide greater protection to people in Australia. 

Always visit Australia’s medical board website for the latest and official banned words you want to avoid when promoting your cosmetic surgery practice, products and or services. 

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It is important to note that while cosmetic surgery advertising can offer numerous benefits, it should not be targeted to people with underlying psychological issues. It is crucial for cosmetic surgery marketers to remind prospective clients considering cosmetic procedures to have realistic expectations, undergo thorough consultations, and choose qualified and experienced surgeons to ensure safety and achieve satisfactory outcomes. 

eDigital can help you conceptualise, plan, develop, run and optimise successful digital marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales for your cosmetic surgery business

Our digital marketing services include:

  • Strategic planning for social media and other digital marketing channels.
  • Online advertising management and optimisation: Google Ads Search, Display, Re-marketing and social media advertising.
  • Training: social media marketing training and digital marketing training. 
  • SEO strategy and execution. Including content development:articles, stories, eye-catching and SEO-optimised visuals.
  • Celebrity and influencer marketing campaign strategy. 
  • Brand development. Logo creation, brand personality development and design of marketing materials.
  • Consumer contests/competitions/giveaways.
  • Email marketing. Dip sequence design and deployment. 
  • Conversion rate optimisation. It is also called “path to purchase” optimisation. 

Contact us today and start boosting your leads and sales.

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