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L’Oreal Settles U.S. Claims on Anti-Aging Cosmetics Ads

L’Oreal SA settled claims by U.S. regulators that the cosmetics company engaged in deceptive advertising for anti-aging products.

The company’s L’Oreal USA Inc. unit made “false and unsubstantiated claims” that its Lancome Genifique and Paris Youth Code skin-care products provided anti-aging benefits by targeting users’ genes, the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement today.

“It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, said in the statement. “But L’Oreal couldn’t support these claims.”

In national advertising campaigns, L’Oreal claimed its Genifique products, which cost as much as $132 per container, were “clinically proven” to boost gene activity and “stimulate the production of youth proteins,” the FTC said.

Under the settlement, L’Oreal, based in Paris, is prohibited from claiming that any Lancome or L’Oreal Paris branded facial skin-care product targets or boosts the activity of genes to make skin look younger unless the company has “competent and reliable scientific evidence” backing the claims, the FTC said.

“The claims at issue in this agreement have not been used for some time now, as the company constantly refreshes its advertising,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “The safety, quality and effectiveness of the company’s products were never in question.”

The agreement is with L’Oreal USA and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the commission. It imposes no monetary penalties and states that L’Oreal USA doesn’t admit any improper advertising practices, the company said.

L’Oreal shares were little changed at 125.85 euros at the close in Paris. The stock has declined 1.4 percent this year.

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