A court ruled Wednesday that the Swedish division of cosmetics giant L'Oreal breached marketing regulations when claiming dramatic wrinkle reduction in ads for two facial creams.
The consumer and competition court deemed two ads for L'Oreal Sweden's "Vichy Liftactiv Pro" and "Lancome High Resolution" creams published in Sweden's women's magazines in 2006 were misleading, court documents showed.
The ads claimed one of the creams reduced wrinkles by "laser speed" - making them 43 or 70 percent less visible, depending on the advert - and that the other cream reduced wrinkles by rebuilding the skin.
Both claims breached Swedish marketig regulations, the court said.
The company was taken to court last year by the country's Consumer Ombudsman.
L'Oreal Sweden AB was ordered to pay the ombudsman's legal fees and banned from making a number of claims about its creams, including that they "repair wrinkles from within," "reduce wrinkles up to 40 percent," or use "pictures that mislead customers about the effects of the product" in future adverts.
Failing to abide by the ruling could land the company with a fine of one million Swedish kronor (109,115 euros, 143,279 dollars).
"The verdict is a great success and a guiding principle for all the companies who market beauty creams. It is now clearer that you cannot say whatever you want in word or image in advertising," deputy consumer ombudsman Agnes Broberg said in a statement.
L'Oreal Sweden AB could not be immediately reached for comment.
The case started in 2005, when a Stockholm consumer association evaluated 58 facial cream ads for accuracy.
It reported six ads for anti-wrinkle creams it thought were misleading to the ombudsman, which in turn took L'Oreal to court over two ads.