'Acne cure' app marketers agree to stop making false claims, sez FTC

September 08, 2011|Liz F. Kay

You may hate your acne, but unfortunately you can't treat it by holding your phone to your face.

The marketers of the apps “AcneApp” and “Acne Pwner” have agreed in two separate cases to stop making claims without scientific evidence, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“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.

According to the FTC, "the cases involving mobile apps “AcneApp” and “Acne Pwner” are the first the FTC has brought targeting health claims in the mobile application marketplace."

Both claimed to treat acne by displaying colored lights, based on research published in the British Journal of Dermatology that showed "blue and red light treatments eliminated p-acne bacteria (a major cause of acne) and reduces skin blemishes by 76%", according to ads for AcneApp. According to the FTC complaint, AcnePwner was downloaded 3,300 times at a cost of 99 cents in the Android Marketplace. There were about 11,600 downloads of AcneApp from the iTunes store, which cost $1.99.

The FTC charged that the marketers of AcneApp falsely claimed that the journal stated that blue and red light therapyis an effective acne treatment.

According to the settlement, Koby Brown and Gregory W. Pearson of DermApps are required to pay $14,294, and Andrew N. Finkle of Acne Pwner must pay $1,700.

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