BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Determined Stiefel Laboratories Can Support Certain Claims For MaxClarity Acne System

New York, NY – Sept. 21 , 2010 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Stiefel Laboratories provided adequate support for several general efficacy and performance claims for the MaxClarity Foam Acne Medication System, but recommended the marketer modify certain claims.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention through an anonymous challenge.

ERSP examined claims in broadcast and online advertising that included:

  • “Only treatment that works for moderate to serious acne suffers.”
  • “Kills acne at its source without irritation.”
  • “The MaxClarity Foam system is gentle, non – irritating and effective for all skin types and ethnicities.”
  • “82% saw results in 1 week”
  • “96% saw results in 4 weeks”
  • “With no irritation, no fake promises, just real science and MaxClarity.”
  • “Delivers 60% more medicine, per dose, than, Proactive, Murad or skinID.”
  • “95% of the people love the foam and prefer it to creams and lotions.”
  • “Dramatic Scientific Breakthrough”
  • “Get ride of acne. It’s simple. But only MaxClarity Foam has the scientific complex VersaFoam technology to help you achieve it”
  • “Dermatologist Julie Harper: At two weeks even we saw a dramatic improvement in acne.”


During the course of ERSP’s inquiry, the marketer voluntarily agreed to discontinue or modify a number of claims at issue.

With respect to its analysis of Stiefel’s testing evidence as support for the remaining claims, ERSP concluded that the independent testing provided by the marketer had provided adequate support for its core general efficacy claims and representations that MaxClarity will help users “get clear.”

ERSP determined that the marketer has provided independent evidence showing that MaxClarity is well tolerated, use of the formula results in little irritation, and the claims that “82% saw results in 1 week” and “96% saw results in 4 weeks” were consistent with the results obtained from an Open-Label study.

However, ERSP determined that the claim MaxClarity effectively treats severe acne conditions was not adequately supported and recommended the marketer discontinue depictions of consumers with severe acne conditions in the testimonial section of its advertising.

Further, ERSP determined that the marketer could not support, in its original context the claim that “95% of the people love the foam and prefer it to creams and lotions,” or the claim that the product “Delivers 60% more medicine, per dose, than, Proactive, Murad or skinID.”

ERSP further recommended that the marketer modify future advertising to qualify claims related to exclusive foam formula and technology.

The marketer voluntarily discontinued its claim that the MaxClarity acne treatment system is “doctor recommended” and demonstrated that its expert’s opinions and one month free offer of MaxClarity were in compliance with the appropriate FTC Guides.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “Although Stiefel disagrees with ERSP’s conclusions regarding the use of MaxClarity for severe acne, in support of the self-regulatory process Stiefel agrees to accept ERSP’s recommendation and to modify its advertising accordingly.”