Watchdog finds flaws in anti-wrinkle cream ads

The cosmetics company Estée Lauder was not justified in claims it made about one of its anti-wrinkle skin creams because research carried out on the product was seriously flawed, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The US-based Estée Lauder had failed to follow scientific norms when it tested Tri-Aktiline Instant Deep Wrinkle Filler, ruled the ASA. Instead of running a randomised controlled trial for the product that would have eliminated bias, the company had run an open non-blinded trial where all researchers and volunteers were aware of the intended effect of the research.

The ASA described the study as "inadequate to support claims of visible changes" and banned the advertising. Estée Lauder had claimed two studies showed that the skin cream reduced wrinkles. In the ad, it stated: "Immediately: 68 per cent of subjects reported a visible filling of wrinkles."

Estée Lauder submitted a copy of a clinical test on 25 women with lines and wrinkles. It also said it conducted a consumer evaluation study with 50 participants on the final formula but it failed to submit a full copy of that second trial to the ASA. After taking expert advice on the clinical evidence, the ASA said: "We considered that a consumer evaluation study was not sufficient to support a claim for the reduction of wrinkles per se. We concluded that the clinical study and excerpts from the consumer evaluation study were not sufficient to substantiate the claim and therefore that Estée Lauder had not justified it."

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