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ImageAn average woman spends more money on cosmetics than on gym membership or vitamins, statistics have revealed.

The average bill for hair products, make-up and fake tan in a bid to look young is $540 while just $360 is spent on healthcare, reports express .

The statistics emerged in a study of 3,000 women from age 18 to 65 quizzed on attitudes when faced with choosing between image or health.

Nearly 19 per cent admitted to crash-dieting and one in 20 have resorted to laxatives to squeeze into tight-fitting fashions.

A worrying three per cent admitted to taking up smoking to shed a few pounds and 14 per cent have turned to diet pills. Four per cent said they had suffered an eating disorder to look their best for a night out.

A spokesman for the health group behind the survey, Benenden Healthcare Society, said: "There's a real danger that British women are becoming too focused on what they look like and forgetting to look after their inner health."

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