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FTC/REVLON SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ON FUTURE CELLULITE, SUNSCREEN CLAIMS

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

FTC/REVLON SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ON FUTURE CELLULITE, SUNSCREEN CLAIMS stipulates that the company can base such claims only on "competent and reliable scientific evidence." Announced by the Federal Trade Commission Aug. 24, the proposed settlement agreement would resolve a September 1989 complaint by FTC asserting that Revlon had inadequate evidence on which to base cellulite and sunscreen claims in advertising and promotional materials for its Ultima II ProCollagen Anti-Cellulite Body Complex and PhotoAging Shield products. Neither Body Complex nor the PhotoAging Shield is currently being marketed; Revlon discontinued Body Complex in 1987 and PhotoAging Shield in 1991. In both cases, the company said, its determination to halt sales was based on a marketing decision unrelated to the FTC complaint. The proposed agreement, which does not constitute an admission of guilt, will be subject to a 60-day comment period prior to being made final. The order bars Revlon from making claims for any cosmetic product to "reduce or eliminate cellulite . . . reduce bumpy texture, ripples, or slackness of the skin caused by cellulite . . . disperse toxins or excess water from areas where cellulite appears" or "reduce or eliminate cellulite by increasing sub-skin tissue strength or tone" unless "they possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation." The order further stipulates that Revlon will not make any claim, other than identifying the SPF value, regarding a sunscreen's ability to protect against the sun's harmful rays unless "they possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation." The order also mandates that Revlon "disclose, clearly and prominently, the SPF value of the product." Adequate substantiation, the agreement says, should rely on "any tentative final or final standard promulgated by [FDA] which establishes that such representation is supported by scientific evidence acceptable to the FDA." Under the agreement, "competent and reliable scientific evidence" is defined as "test, analysis, research, studies, consumer surveys, samples or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results." According to the original FTC complaint, Revlon claims for the PhotoAging Shield product included: "While you can't prevent biological aging, you can prevent photoaging. That's because now Ultima II Research Laboratories have developed a product designed to prevent photoaging. This revolutionary product acts as a shield for your skin." Claims for Body Complex included: "Now, thanks to Ultima II research, no woman has to resign herself to unattractive ripples, bumpy texture, and slackness caused by cellulite . . . Massaging Anti-Cellulite Body Complex into the skin attacks your cellulite problems two ways: first, it increases your skin circulation to help disperse toxins and excess water that contribute to cellulite pockets, and second, it builds subskin tissue strength and tone for smoother support." FTC asserted that "through the use of such statements," Revlon "represented, directly or by implication, that they possessed and relied upon a reasonable basis for the representations." However, the commission concluded, "in truth and fact, [Revlon] did not possess and rely upon a reasonable basis for the representations."
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