WASHINGTON Cosmetics maker L'Oreal USA has agreed to settle U.S. complaints that its advertisements for skin care products Lancome Genifique and L'Oreal Paris Youth Code were deceptive, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.
Under the settlement L'Oreal USA, a subsidiary of L'Oreal SA, is barred from making claims about the products that have not been substantiated by scientific proof, the FTC said.
In its complaint, the U.S. agency said L'Oreal claimed the Genifique line of products would cause "visibly younger skin in just 7 days" by prompting genes to "stimulate the production of youth proteins." The ads for the Genifique products, which cost between $60 and $132, ran from about February 2009 to April 2013.
L'Oreal advertised the Youth Code products by saying they would "instantly improve skin quality while revealing the new youth of your skin," the FTC said in its complaint. These products start at about $15.
The FTC alleged that L'Oreal had no studies to back up its assertions.
"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. "But L'Oreal couldn't support these claims."
L'Oreal said in its response that the claims that concerned the FTC had not been used "for some time now."
"The safety, quality and effectiveness of the company's products were never in question," said L'Oreal USA spokeswoman Kristina Schake in a statement. "Going forward, L'Oreal USA will continue to serve its customers through industry-leading research, scientific innovation and responsible advertising."
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Ros Krasny and Chizu Nomiyama)