Conair to Settle FTC Charges Over False Claims
for Skin Rejuvenating System Using Soundwaves
FTC News Release
March 23, 1993
Conair Corporation has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it made false and unsubstantiated claims for its "California Facial Skin Rejuvenating System," including that it tones and firms facial muscles, and that a soundwave device included with the system boosts the effect of the lotions. The proposed settlement would prohibit Conair from making the challenged claims for this and similar systems in the future.
Conair is a Stamford, Connecticut-based manufacturer of personal health care and consumer electronic products. It promoted the facial system — which consists of a hand-held soundwave device, a clarifying toner, an exfoliating scrub, a moisture lotion, and instructions for facial exercises — through ads in major national magazines, a toll-free telephone number, and a program-length television commercial (or "infomercial"). Consumers could order the system through the mail, or buy it at major retail outlets including K-Mart, Wal Mart, Target, and others. The infomercial advertised the system for approximately $60. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration advised Conair that the facial system as currently promoted is a "medical device," and that it is illegal to sell the system without first receiving FDA clearance. The system has not received this clearance.
According to the FTC complaint detailing the Commission's allegations, Conair made the following statements, among others, in promoting the soundwave facial system:
- "Surface treatments only get surface results. [The System] is designed to work on and beneath the surface of the skin, to help stimulate skin renewal, and maintain muscle tone. … More importantly, sound waves help firm and tone facial muscles that have lost their elasticity;"
- "…helps the muscles that you are exercising to achieve the maximum benefit;" and
- "…comes with three sonically-activated lotions to exfoliate, tone, and minimize the appearance of fine lines, for a radiant, younger-looking complexion."
Through these and other statements, the FTC alleged, Conair represented to consumers that the soundwaves emitted by the soundwave device firm and tone the user's facial muscles, and improve the efficacy of the clarifying toner and the exfoliating scrub. These representations are false, the FTC charged, as is Conair's implied representation that it had substantiation to support them.
The proposed consent agreement to settle these charges, announced today for a public comment period, would prohibit Conair from representing that soundwaves emitted by the California Facial Skin Rejuvenating System, or by any substantially similar product using soundwaves emitting a frequency of 20 kilohertz or fewer, will firm and tone muscles or improve the efficacy of a facial clarifying toner or exfoliating scrub. Further, the proposed consent agreement would require Conair to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support any future representation it makes that soundwaves emitted (at any frequency) from any product it sells will firm or tone muscles, or improve the efficacy of a topically-applied product.
Finally, the proposed consent agreement contains various reporting requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring Conair's compliance.
The Commission vote to accept the complaint and proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0.
- FTC File No. 912-3381. FTC Docket No. C-3431.
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.