Smart phone app draws criticism - Providence Eyewitness News

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Updated: Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011, 7:37 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011, 7:37 PM EDT

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) - Smartphones make our lives so easy these days.

But can they cure acne?


There is no app for that.

For 26 years, Dr. Ellen Frankel, a dermatologist in Cranston has been curing acne, and she's heard of just about every gimmick and gadget that claims to help cure it.

"Well, people will buy anything, they'll try anything just to get better," says Dr. Ellen Frankel.

That includes the latest gimmick.

Apps that claim to treat acne with colored lights emitted from smartphones or other mobile devices.

According to the FTC, once you download the app and activate it, customers are told to hold the phone over the areas they had acne for several times a day to see results.

The FTC immediately cracked down on two marketers of these mobile apps.

Acneapp and Acne PWNER.

The FTC alleged the acne treatment claims for both apps were unsubstantiated and baseless and are now barring the companies from making certain health related claims without scientific evidence.

But unfortunately, thousands of customers already bought into the acne apps.

3,300 downloads of Acne PWNER which offered the app for 99 cents.

11,600 downloads of acne app which sold for $1.99.

Blue light does clear acne, but only under a doctor's supervision.

"It's not something that you just buy as an app on your phone and treat!  It's a serious light and you want to know what you're doing," says Frankel.

The settlement also bars the companies from making false statements about their acne treatments. 

The companies must also pay fines in the thousands.5

15 Sep, 2011

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