L’Oréal USA Inc. and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have agreed to settle allegations that L’Oréal advertised its anti-aging Lancôme Génefique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code lines as capable of targeting genes to reduce the effects of aging without reliable scientific evidence to back up its claims. FTC alleged that L’Oréal claimed its products introduced a “new era of skincare: gene science” and that they were “clinically proven” to “boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins” to show “visibly younger skin” in seven days.
“It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” said FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich, but ultimately “L’Oréal couldn’t support these claims.” Under the agreement, L’Oréal is prohibited from claiming that any of its brands’ skin-care product lines targets or boosts genes or responds five times faster to aggressors like stress and fatigue unless the representation is true, non-misleading and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. A L’Oréal representative reportedly said that the agency did not impose any monetary penalties on the company. See Law360, June 30, 2014.