BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Examines ‘Before-and-After’ Photos as Part of Challenge to Claims for NeoStrata’s Exuviance Products
New York, NY – March 23, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has examined before-and-after photographs that that appeared in print advertising for two anti-aging products – “Exuviance Retexturing Treatment” and “Exuviance Body Tone Firming Concentrate” – made by NeoStrata, Inc. NAD determined that the advertiser provided adequate substantiation for the claims related to photos of one product, but not the other.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
In this case, NAD asked NeoStrata to provide substantiation for claims that included:
- “Exuviance [Body Tone] helps erase the appearance of crepiness while it massages, firms, tones and contours age revealing zones with a Triple Firming Complex + Pure Caffeine.”
- Exuviance Body Tone Firming Concentrate before and after photos.
- “Exuviance Retexturing Treatment resurfaces with 10% Glycolic Acid, PHA/Bionic Blend with Vitamin E and Shea Butter.”
- Exuviance Retexturing Treatment before and after photographs.
- “Look Younger All Over.”
- “The Antiaging Body Care Super Duo that restores youthful texture & firmness while reducing crepe-like appearance.”
As NAD noted in its decision, before-and-after photographs are product performance claims; they must be supported by reliable evidence and provide an accurate representation of the product performance that a reasonable consumer can expect when using the product as directed. In this case, the photographs were coupled with strong product performance claims which NAD determined reasonably convey the message that the Exuviance products significantly reduce crepey skin and increase skin firmness.
NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claim “Exuviance Retexturing Treatment resurfaces with 10% Glycolic Acid, PHA/Bionic Blend with Vitamin E and Shea Butter.”
However, NAD took issue with evidence provided by the advertiser in support of before-and-after shots related to Exuviance Retexturing Treatment. The advertiser presented a summary of an in-house study of three subjects to demonstrate the immediate smoothing effect of Exuviance Retexturing Treatment. The study protocol didn’t provide information on the age or skin condition of the subjects, any inclusion/exclusion criteria, whether there was a washout period and any controls to guard against bias. In addition, the sample size – three subjects – was extremely small and insufficiently representative to provide support for any performance claims. NAD determined that the study was insufficiently reliable to support the depicted visual product performance claims and recommended that the advertiser discontinue the before and after photographs.
Following its review of the claim “Exuviance [Body Tone] helps erase the appearance of crepiness while it massages, firms, tones and contours age revealing zones with a Triple Firming Complex + Pure Caffeine,” NAD determined that certain aspects of the advertiser’s clinical study were appropriate, including its long-term nature, the fact that it was double-blinded, the use of objective and subjective assessments, the use of appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria and the use of digital photographs taken in a uniform manner by a medical photographer.
NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the statement that portion of the claim that stated “helps erase the appearance of crepiness,” and the reference to “Pure Caffeine.”
However, NAD found the advertiser’s evidence sufficient to support the before-and-after photographs related to Exuviance Body Tone Firming Concentrate.
NAD recommended that the claims “The Antiaging Body Care Super Duo that restores youthful texture & firmness while reducing crepe-like appearance and “Look Younger All Over” be discontinued.
Finally, NAD determined that the depiction of a youthful model was aspirational and did not reasonably imply that the Exuviance products restore skin texture and tone similar to that of the young model depicted.
NeoStrata, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company agreed to comply with NAD’s recommendations.
“While NeoStrata respectfully disagrees that the clinical study is insufficient to support the other claims in its advertising, NeoStrata will take NAD’s guidance into account for future advertising. NeoStrata appreciates the opportunity to participate in the NAD’s self-regulatory process,” the company said.
Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.