Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that cosmetics company L’Oréal USA, Inc. made deceptive advertising claims about its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skincare products.
According to the FTC’s complaint, announced in June 2014, L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims that its Génifique and Youth Code products provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes. In national advertising campaigns, L’Oréal claimed that its Génifique products were “clinically proven” to “boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins” that would cause “visibly younger skin in just 7 days.” Similarly, for its Youth Code products, L’Oréal touted the “new era of skincare: gene science,” and that consumers could “crack the code to younger acting skin.”
Under the final order, L’Oréal is prohibited from claiming that any Lancôme brand or L’Oréal Paris brand facial skincare product targets or boosts the activity of genes to make skin look or act younger, or respond five times faster to aggressors like stress, fatigue, and aging, unless the company has competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating such claims. The final order also bars the company from claiming that certain Lancôme brand and L’Oréal Paris brand products affect genes, unless the claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Finally, L’Oréal is prohibited from making claims about these products that misrepresent the results of any test or study.
The Commission vote approving the final order and responses to members of the public who submitted comments was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Terrell McSweeny not participating. (FTC File No. 132-3016; the staff contact is Elizabeth Nach, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2611)
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Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs