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Cosmetics company L’Oréal USA has admitted that adverts for its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products were deceptive.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had claimed L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims that the products provided anti-ageing benefits by targeting users’ genes.
Using social media and the internet as well as traditional media outlets such as print and TV, L’Oréal claimed its Génifique products were “clinically proven to boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins”.
For its Youth Code products, the company touted a “new era of skincare: gene science”, and claimed consumers could “crack the code to younger acting skin”.
“It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, on June 30. “But L’Oréal couldn’t support these claims.”
Under the proposed settlement with the FTC, L’Oréal cannot claim that any Lancôme brand or L’Oréal Paris facial skincare product target or boost the activity of genes to make skin look or act younger, or respond five times faster to aggressors such as stress, fatigue and ageing.
That is unless the company has competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate such claims, the FTC said.
Claims that certain Lancôme brand and L’Oréal Paris products affect genes are also prohibited, unless they are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. L’Oréal is also barred from making claims about these products that misrepresent the results of any test or study.
A description of the agreement is now available, with a public comment period open until July 30. The FTC will then decide whether to make the proposed order final.
In the US, L’Oréal sells Génifique products for $132 per container, while Youth Code goods are available at $25 each.
L’Oréal; skincare; FTC; advertising; social media