The skin lotions that definitely aren't worth it

Last updated at 09:15 17 August 2005

Women are being misled over the effectiveness of creams which claim to reduce cellulite and wrinkles, according to advertising watchdogs. Two TV commercials for L'Oreal products have been banned for failing to provide enough evidence to support their claims.

Adverts for Wrinkle De-crease and Perfect Slim should be banned unless L'Oreal can back up those claims, the Advertising Standards Authority said.

The wrinkle cream commercial featured model Claudia Schiffer pulling different facial expressions, giving the impression that the product worked on human face lines.

It claimed that 76 per cent of 50 women who self-evaluated the effects of the cream after three weeks reported visible reduction of their expression lines.

The product is "...the first anti-creasing cream with Boswelox to counteract skin micro contractions" and could "rapidly reduce wrinkles", the advert said.

After an investigation, the ASA ruled that L'Oreal did not have enough evidence to prove that the cream's effect was anything more than cosmetic.

The industry watchdog ruled: "The ASA's expert considered that there was insufficient evidence to allow such a claim about the effect of the product on the human face. We therefore considered the advertisement misleading on that point."

The watchdog also upheld complaints about a TV advert which claimed L'Oreal's Perfect Slim cellulite cream was "...judged best anti-cellulite product in an independent study (based on an independent French consumer study)".

And that it "... visibly reduces the appearance of cellulite (48 women tested; 71 per cent agree)." An ASA expert found that L'Oreal's consumer study was limited and was not scientifically evaluated.

Not enough evidence

Viewers would think the product could eliminate or reduce cellulite but this was not backed up by evidence, the watchdog said. "Because the evidence produced was below the standard that would be expected to back up claims relating to physiological action, we did not believe it was sufficient to support the claim that the product could help banish cellulite," the ASA ruled.

Trials carried out by the advertiser showed the average improvement was not noticeable to the user and that half of those using the product had not registered the improvement claimed, the watchdog said.

The Perfect Slim commercial must not be shown again without "sufficient evidence" to back up its claims, the ASA ruled.

Responding to the ASA's findings, L'Oreal said both commercials had been approved by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre on the basis of the "technical substantiation of the product benefits".

The statement added: "Both L'Oreal Paris Wrinkle-De-Crease and Perfect Slim have been very popular with customers, demonstrated not just by their overall sales, but also the repeat purchases.

"In addition, research that was presented to the ASA shows a high rate of satisfaction for both products: 92 per cent for Wrinkle De-Crease and 84% for Perfect Slim."

"Although we disagree with the elements of the complaint that were upheld, L'Orial will comply with the ruling of the Advertising Standards Authority and adapt future advertisements accordingly."

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