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FTC Targets Skin Care Companies with ‘All Natural’ Claims

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by Josh Long -

Four marketers of skin care products, shampoos and sunscreens have agreed to settle charges that they falsely depicted their products as “all natural" or “100% natural," the FTC announced Tuesday.

The products contained synthetic ingredients, such as dimethicone, ethhexyl and glycerin, according to an FTC news release. Under proposed settlements, the companies are prohibited from making similar representations, and must possess competent and reliable evidence to substantiate any of their ingredient-related, environmental or health claims, the agency noted.

“‘All natural’ or ‘100 percent natural’ means just that—no artificial ingredients or chemicals," said Jessica Rich, director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a written statement. “Companies should take a lesson from these cases."

FTC also has filed a complaint against a fifth skin care firm, California Naturel Inc., seeking similar relief. The Sausalito, California-based company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“It was just a misunderstanding," said Sean Zimmerman, general manager of Rocky Mountain Sunscreen, which has entered into a proposed settlement with FTC in response to the agency’s complaint that products such as “Natural Face Stick" were marketed as “all natural."  “We thought the all-natural part pertained to the active ingredients" and not inactive ingredients.

Zimmerman said the Arvada, Colorado-based company immediately stopped selling the product after hearing from FTC and has relabeled the product. He also noted FTC did not impose a fine.

“If you go on our website now, it just says mineral-based sunscreen," he said in a brief phone interview.

Beyond Coastal, a Salt Lake City-based company that reached a proposed settlement with FTC, said in an emailed statement, “We're grateful to the FTC for pointing out an editing error in some legacy text in our website. We take full responsibility for the error, are grateful that there were no financial penalties, and are glad to have moved into compliance with FTC regulations."

FTC also announced reaching proposed settlements with Santa Rosa, California-based ShiKai and Memphis, Tennessee, based EDEN BodyWorks. ShiKai, and Sally Beauty Supply, a retail distributor of EDEN’s products, did not immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

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