FTC says acne-zapping apps are nonsense


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Got acne? Unfortunately, there’s no app for it.

The Federal Trade Commission has just ordered two businesses to stop marketing their apps as scientifically proven cures for acne, the first time the agency has targeted apps for making fraudulent health claims.

Both apps -- AcneApp and Acne Pwner -- claimed to treat unsightly blemishes by emitting colored lights. Users were told to hold their smartphone, with the app activated, up to the affected area of skin for a few minutes every day for effective treatment, according to a FTC statement.


The purported medical benefits were ‘baseless,’ the FTC said.

“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 the statement.

Thousands of people blighted by acne apparently bought into the idea -- there were nearly 15,000 downloads of the two apps.

Acne Pwner -- which ran advertisements promising to ‘KILL ACNE with this simple, yet powerful tool!’ -- was sold in the Android Market for 99 cents. AcneApp, available on iTunes for $1.99, claimed to be developed by a dermatologist using red and blue light treatments validated by the British Journal of Dermatology.

None of that was true, the FTC said.


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-- Shan Li