Developers who said apps could treat acne have agreed to drop their marketing claims to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The apps purportedly treated acne by displaying colored lights on the smartphone’s display, which users were advised to hold next to the area of skin that needed treatment. Thousands of people have paid to download the apps from iTunes and Android Marketplace.
“Smartphones make our lives easier in countless ways, but unfortunately when it comes to curing acne, there’s no app for that,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.
The FTC called the claims of the AcneApp and Acne Pwner apps “unsubstantiated” and said light therapy had been falsely marketed as an effective treatment. The developers of the apps have been barred from making medical claims without scientific evidence and have agreed to pay nearly $16,000 in fines.
The FTC case is the first to target health claims of mobile apps.
Ads for the AcnePwner Android app stated, “Kill ACNE with this simple, yet powerful tool!” About 3,300 people downloaded the 99 cent app from the Android Marketplace.
The AcneApp claimed it was developed by a dermatologist and cited a study published by the British Journal of Dermatology that showed light treatments could kill bacteria that led to acne breakouts. AcneApp cost users $1.99 and was downloaded 11,600 times from the Apple App Store.
Andrew Finkle, who ran the AcnePwner app, could not be reached for comment. Koby Brown and Gregory Pearson, the developers behind AcneApp, also were unavailable.
Filed Under: Industry regulations