BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Novahue LLC Discontinue Sun Protection Claims for the Companies’ Novahue Skin Dietary Supplement Product

New York, NY – Nov. 27, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has recommended Novahue, LLC, maker of Novahue Skin dietary supplement discontinue advertising claims made by the company promising consumers that its product provides multiple skin protection benefits against the damaging rays of the sun.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD’s decision cautions that claims a dietary supplement can prevent sunburn, reduce early skin aging caused by the sun, or protect from other harmful effects of the sun are health-related claims that should be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.  As the FDA expressed in May 2018, when it when it issued warning letters to dietary supplement makers claiming to protect consumers from the harmful effects of sun exposure, such claims may give consumers a false sense of security about the level of sun protection provided by such supplements.

NAD carefully examines such health-related claims to ensure that they are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Generally, NAD noted, such evidence consists of human clinical trials that are methodologically sound and statistically significant to the 95% confidence level with results that translate into meaningful benefits for consumers that relate directly to the performance attributes promised by advertising.  Only in this way, NAD stated, can advertisers avoid misleading consumers into believing that such products offer a greater skin protection benefit against harmful sun and environmental exposure than is actually the case.

The advertising claims made by Novahue, LLC, for its Novahue Skin product included:

  • “Protects the skin from DNA damage due to sun exposure.”
  • “Helps maintain the skin’s ability to protect against photoaging.”
  • “Helps prevent damage caused by sunlight.”
  • “The clinically tested ingredients in Novahue Skin protect and preserve healthy skin from environmental exposure and oxidative stress.”
  • “The bioactive, synergistic ingredients in Novahue Skin…allow[] the dermis to actively and effectively defend itself against sunburn.”
  • “Proven safe and effective in human clinical trials.”

In support of its claims, Novahue relied upon clinical testing on the ingredients in its product and in vitro and human clinical product testing using the Novahue product as formulated for sale to consumers.

NAD reviewed the ingredient trials and noted that none examined the efficacy of Novahue’s  proprietary Car-O-Blend Standardized “Skin Grade” Tomato Extract. Novahue also failed to disclose to NAD the amounts of constituent ingredients found in its proprietary blend. As such, NAD could not determine if the ingredients tested in the underlying studies matched the amounts of those found in the Novahue formulation. Thus, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s ingredient studies did not support its skin protection, photoaging, oxidative stress and cellular repair and turn-over claims.

NAD also considered Novahue’s in vitro study on the Novahue product. NAD found that the advertiser made no showing that this study was considered an acceptable substitute for human research and, as such it could not support the advertiser’s health-related claims.  As for Novahue’s human clinical trial, the results showed no statistically significant improvement in the treatment group for an important sun damage measure.

In light of the absence of adequate supporting testing, NAD recommended that Novahue discontinue its sun protection claims including, “Protects the skin from DNA damage due to sun exposure”; “Helps maintain the skin’s ability to protect against photoaging”; “Helps prevent damage caused by sunlight”; and its “clinically tested” claims, among others. NAD also recommended that Novahue qualify its “Proven safe in human clinical trials” claim to accurately reflect that only one human clinical trial was conducted and to disclose, prominently and in close proximity to any safety claim, the length of time that Novahue Skin supplement was studied.

In its advertiser’s statement, Novahue stated that although it respectfully disagreed with NAD’s conclusions, it agreed to comply with NAD’s recommendations.

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.