The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached an agreement with L'Oreal USA Inc. to settle allegations that the cosmetics giant falsely advertised its Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skin care products by claiming they provided anti-aging benefits through targeting users' genes.

The FTC said in a statement that it had reached an agreement with L’Oréal, barring the company from claiming any Lancôme or L’Oréal Paris brand facial skin care product targets or boosts the activity of genes to make skin look or act younger, or respond five times faster to aggressors such as stress, fatigue, and aging, unless the company is able to back the claims with reliable scientific evidence.

The cosmetics giant allegedly claimed its Génifique line, with products costing as much as $132 per container, was "clinically proven" to boost genes' activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins that causes its users' skin to look younger in only seven days, according to the FTC. L’Oréal also claimed its more affordable Youth Code line, available for upwards of $25 a bottle, presented a “new era of skincare: gene science,” and that the product's technology was inspired by "the science of genes." 

The FTC’s complaint alleged that L’Oréal made false and unsubstantiated claims regarding its Génifique and Youth Code products, claiming they could reverse the aging process by targeting its users' genes in advertisements that appeared in print, radio, television, Internet, and social media outlets.

The proposed administrative settlement, apart from prohibiting the cosmetics company from making such claims, also bans it from making claims about the products that misrepresent the results of any test or study, the FTC said.

Tip: When making “clinically proven” claims, be sure that such claims are based on at least one, if not two, randomized controlled clinical trials that test the exact claim you seek to make.