Did you know that two mobile app makers claimed to have apps that could help cure acne? Neither did I.
But many people did. In fact, 3,300 people paid US$0.99 for Acne Pwner on Google's Android Marketplace and about 11,600 people paid $1.99 for AcneApp through Apple's iTunes store. They were surprised and, naturally, upset when the apps didn't deliver the glowing complexions users expected.
Well, not to dash teenage dreams of having a smartphone that also cures acne, but the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (via PC World) has ruled that these apps do not in fact help zap zits. According to the FTC release, the app makers' claims were unsubstantiated by scientific evidence that they actually helped clear up complexions. This is the first ruling "FTC has brought targeting health claims in the mobile application marketplace."
“Smartphones make our lives easier in countless ways, but unfortunately when it comes to curing acne, there’s no app for that,” said FTC Chairman, Jon Leibowitz in the statement.
According to PC World:
"This app was developed by a dermatologist," the marketers of AcneApp said. "A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology showed blue and red light treatments eliminated p-acne bacteria (a major cause of acne) and reduces skin blemishes by 76%."
Houston dermatologist Dr. Gregory Pearson worked with developer Koby Brown on AcneApp, according to FTC documents. AcneApp generated significant media attention in late 2009 and early 2010, just after the app launched, including reports in the New York Times and on Fox News.
. . .
Brown and Pearson misrepresented the British of Journal of Dermatology study on light therapy.
Light therapy can help treat acne, but not at the low levels of light iPhone devices emit, some dermatologists have said.
To resolve complaints over the apps' ineffectiveness, FTC is requiring Brown and Pearson to pay $14,294 and Acne Pwner developer Andrew Finkle $1,700.