A website, www.skinspaceuk.com, for SkinSpaceUK, a beauty clinic seen on 11 December 2021 stated, “DARK EYE CIRCLES Are you looking to eliminate dark circles around the eye area, for a fresher, healthier appearance? … If you’re looking to eliminate dark eye circles, then the ClearLift Laser Facelift is a breakthrough in cosmetic laser technology, ideal for tightening and firming delicate areas of skin.”
IssueThe complainant, who had had a course of ClearLift Laser treatment and did not notice any improvement, challenged whether the claim that it could eliminate dark eye circles could be substantiated and was misleading.
ResponsePCK Skin (Manchester) Ltd t/a SkinSpaceUK said that they had removed the word “eliminate” from this page of their website. They sent a screenshot of the summary of a pilot trial of a laser device used on seven middle aged women, which had been provided by the manufacturer. They also sent their client consultation and consent form that stated that results of the treatment were not guaranteed.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claims to mean that the ClearLift Laser Facelift treatment would remove dark under eye circles.
SkinSpaceUK had provided a summary of a trial for a cosmetic laser device, but they had not sent the full trial and we considered it was not clear that the treatment trialled was the same as the advertised laser treatment. Furthermore, we noted that the trial tested the efficacy of the treatment on the appearance of wrinkles, not dark circles, and was conducted on a very small number of people. We therefore considered that the trial summary document was not adequate substantiation for the claims.
We also considered that the client consultation and consent form was not relevant substantiation for the claims.
For those reasons, we concluded that the claims that the ClearLift Laser Facelift treatment would remove dark eye circles had not been substantiated and were misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product.
Objective claims must be backed by evidence, if relevant consisting of trials conducted on people. Substantiation will be assessed on the basis of the available scientific knowledge.
Medicinal or medical claims and indications may be made for a medicinal product that is licensed by the MHRA, VMD or under the auspices of the EMA, or for a CE-marked medical device. A medicinal claim is a claim that a product or its constituent(s) can be used with a view to making a medical diagnosis or can treat or prevent disease, including an injury, ailment or adverse condition, whether of body or mind, in human beings.
Secondary medicinal claims made for cosmetic products as defined in the appropriate European legislation must be backed by evidence. These are limited to any preventative action of the product and may not include claims to treat disease. (Medicines, medical devices, health related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told PCK SKIN (Manchester) Ltd t/a SkinSpaceUK to ensure that their future ads did not claim that their laser treatment could remove or reduce dark eye circles unless they held adequate substantiation.