Claims that silk pillows have anti-ageing properties dismissed by ASA

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

The UK-based ASA has upheld a complaint over advertising claims that silk pillows manufactured by Direct Beauty Products have anti-ageing properties.

The claims were made in a UK national press ad, which made reference to a number of health and beauty claims, namely ‘The NEW Anti-Ageing Pillowcase?’.

In the ad, the company said that silk pillows helped to retain skin moisture, in turn minimizing wrinkles, a claim that went unsubstantiated in the ad, The Advertising Standards Association noted.

Likewise the ad went on to suggest that pillows made of cotton or polyester were the second biggest cause of ageing, after damage from the sun.

Cure for bed hair?

Another beauty claim was that silk pillows could also help to prevent frizzy hair or ‘bed hair, thanks to the amino acids contained in silk.

The ad went on to make a number of other specific health claims, including silk's ability to prevent house mites, reduce skin conditions such as eczema and maintain moisture levels.

The complaint against the advertisement made five separate points, each referring to the unsubstantiated claims that Direct Beauty Products had made about the beauty and health properties the pillow cases were said to possess.

The five issues with the ad included claims that cotton or polyester was a major cause of skin ageing, silk is the same pH as skin and hair, it can act as a mite repellent, it has hypoallergenic qualities and that it can help retain moisture levels in the skin.

AAD study used to substantiate company claims

Direct Beauty Products responded to the complaint through the UK Advertising and Marketing Services, pointing to a study from the American Academy of Dermatology, which suggested that silk pillowcases may help reduce sleep lines and wrinkles.

Likewise, the company also made reference to the fact that the natural process involved with spinning silk meant that it was more in line with the pH levels of skin and hair, making it more compatible.

They also referred to studies by the British Allergy Foundation, which claimed to support claims over mites, as well as studies that have suggested special silk clothes may be beneficial to children with eczema.

In its decision the ASA upheld all five complaints made against the company, with all the claims found to be in breach of its CAP code, specifically with reference to ‘Truthfulness’ in the health and beauty category.

The advertisement has now been banned from airing in its current form and any future ad will not be able to contain any of the five claims previously made by the company.

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