Marketers of Acne Apps Agree to Drop Unfounded Claims

Marketers of two smartphone acne apps have agreed to stop making health-related claims that lack scientific backing.

The marketers of two smartphone apps advertised as having the ability to treat acne have agreed to stop making health-related claims that lack scientific backing, the Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday.

The apps in question, AcnePwner, sold in the Android Marketplace for 99 cents, and AcneApp, sold in the iTunes store for $1.99, both claimed to treat acne with colored lights beamed onto the user’s skin from a smartphone. The marketing materials of AcneApp claimed, “This app was developed by a dermatologist. A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology showed blue and red light treatments eliminated p-acne bacteria (a major cause of acne) and reduces skin blemishes by 76%.”

The FTC determined that claims made by the marketers of both apps were unsubstantiated and, specifically, that AcneApp’s marketers misrepresented the results of the study they referenced. “Smartphones make our lives easier in countless ways, but unfortunately when it comes to curing acne, there’s no app for that,” said FTC Chairman, Jon Leibowitz, in a press release.

The terms of the settlement would prevent the marketers from claiming that their mobile apps or other medical devices are effective at treating acne as well as from making claims about the safety, performance, benefits, or efficacy of any device without substantive scientific evidence. The marketers of AcneApp would be prevented from misrepresenting research, tests, or studies. The settlement would also require the marketers of AcneApp to pay $14,294 and the marketers of AcnePwner to pay $1,700.

The FTC voted 5-0 to approve the terms of the settlements. After a 30-day public comment period, it will decide whether to make them final.

Source

"Acne Cure" Mobile App Marketers Will Drop Baseless Claims Under FTC Settlements [Federal Trade Commission]