Over the past few years a number of the big industry players have been pulled up by advertising watchdogs over claims made in adverts for anti-aging products; many being cited for misleading claims.
One of the most recent examples saw the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warn cosmetic manufacturer L’Oréal over its Lancôme brand, saying it should stop promoting unsubstantiated claims for its anti-wrinkle product lines.
The FDA threatened to stop Lancôme from selling these products if they didn’t tone down these claims.
Dr Simon Ourian, Medical Director of Epione Beverly Hills, says that additional regulation is needed to protect the public from the wide range of potentially misleading claims and terms used by the cosmetics industry on their anti-aging product labels.
Ourian claims that “the cosmetic manufacturers don’t feel bound by the same truth in advertising rules under which physicians do business.”
The medical expert is coming from the argument of the physician, who may feel current regulations do not favour them as they are prohibited from publishing misleading advertising; although these two different industries have to be governed in different ways given their nature.
“I follow the same rules for the Signature Series line of skin care products I’ve developed; if it’s not true then we can’t say it,” he continues.
“If the cosmetics industry isn’t going to operate within this simple framework then perhaps we need to enact new regulation or do a better job of enforcing laws already on the books.”
The problem lies in that consumers expect products to perform as advertised. For anti-aging products these claims include smoothing, tightening and covering flaws, as well as making wrinkles and fine lines disappear.
The term "broad spectrum", used to describe products that offer UVA and UVB protection, is one term that is regulated and for this Dr. Ourian is grateful.
“It’s one thing if your anti-wrinkle cream doesn’t work as advertised; it’s something else entirely if the product you think is protecting your health really isn’t. I tell all my patients to use a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher,” he adds.