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Smartphones Can't Cure Acne, FTC Rules 205

Posted by timothy
from the that-is-one-spiteful-ftc dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Your smartphone can send texts, surf the Web, and update your Facebook page, so it stands to reason that it can cure acne too, right? Well, maybe not. Two companies that marketed acne-cure apps have settled with the FTC and have been forced to take the apps off the market. (Colored light can kill acne-causing bacteria, but needs to be much more powerful than what a smartphone screen can put out.) Almost 15,000 people bought the apps."
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Smartphones Can't Cure Acne, FTC Rules

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  • by Surt (22457) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @05:29PM (#37345380) Homepage Journal

    I'm actually surprised teens turned out to be that smart. That seems like a very low number of suckers to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by frisket (149522)
      All scams involve a movement of money from stupid people to smart people (that includes, of course, our current economic crisis, which is just a banking scam to get money out of gullible governments). Maybe teens are just getting smarter. I'd love to know the geopolitical demographics of those 15,000 though.
      • If it is was only a buck I bet a lot of kids bought it just because "hey it's only a buck" or even 5 bucks. In the very off chance that something like this would help, 5 bucks is a small price to pay, but still I'd bet that most of the kids who bought this were spoiled rich little idiots that don't have many other things worthwhile to blow their parents cash on.
        • by Renraku (518261)

          Actually, I've found that the most wasteful people are the poor ones. The people I know living paycheck-to-paycheck mostly end up spending every dime on crap instead of keeping some for savings. As an example, I know someone that will go out and eat at an expensive restaurant ($30+ a person) right after getting paid, for their 20 hours a week minimum wage, then complain about not having much money left over for gas. Did I mention they have the latest iPhone, pay $80/mo for mobile service? They can barel

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            No Way!

            People who are bad at managing their money tend to end up living paycheck-to-paycheck and running out of money.

            What an amazing coincidence.

            • It reminds me of what Robert Kiyosaki wrote in "Rich Dad Poor Dad".

              If you do the things that make you rich, you will be rich. If you do the things that make you middle-class, you will be middle-class. If you do the things that make you poor, you will be poor!

              • by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday September 09, 2011 @12:06AM (#37348178)

                What a completely useless tautology.

                Yes "if you do the things that make you X, you will be X". After all that's what "things that make you X" means by definition.

                The problen is there us no X that will make you rich univerally. That garbage book is just full of things that happened to work in one particular time frame (along with the completely made up). How did all the people who took his advice and invested in real estate in 2006 do?

              • by lxs (131946)

                He was wrong on one count.

                If you do the things that make you middle-class, you will be poor and unhappy.

              • by tehcyder (746570)
                Bollocks, if you're rich enough to start with and you spend your life taking drugs and not working, you'll still be rich.
            • by russotto (537200)

              People who are bad at managing their money tend to end up living paycheck-to-paycheck and running out of money.

              What an amazing coincidence.

              A lot of people think it is just coincidence. If you criticize the poor, they will cluck their tongues and suggest you remember that "There but for the grace of God go I."

          • by slippyblade (962288) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @07:20PM (#37346594) Homepage
            Or, here's another thought... Maybe the person's life is so miserable they see that splurge of eating out after payday as the one bright spot in an otherwise desperate and pathetic existence. Or maybe they are stupid. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference.
            • Or, here's another thought... Maybe the person's life is so miserable they see that splurge of eating out after payday as the one bright spot in an otherwise desperate and pathetic existence. Or maybe they are stupid. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference.

              I do the same, except I've learned to turn that bright spot into a $17 bottle of Jack Daniels once a week. Far, far cheaper than $100 meals out, and I've managed to eek out a savings, too!

              Yay, Jack Daniels!

          • Actually, I've found that the most wasteful people are the poor ones.

            If I had mod points, I'd mod you up. This is so true it's tragic.

            I interact with a lot of people at the low end of the income spectrum, and the very last thing any one of them will ever give up is the damn cell phone. Food, shelter, heat, transportation to work, who cares about any of that stuff? Normally you don't see this level of addiction unless crack or something is involved, and it's just tragic to see.

            It's even more tragic to think about how the government is pissing my money away to feed and clot

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              I'm not saying all welfare recipients are automatically worthless parasites. I'm just saying people who are on welfare should have some shame.

              No, you should never feel ashamed of your life.

          • yup.. a very large percentage of the people living Below Poverty Line spend money on stuff like mobile phone wallpapers, ring tones and call back tones.

            Most of those having more money just dont change the defaults, or download the free stuff

          • by tehcyder (746570)
            Yes, God forbid that someone should spend any of their own hard earned money on enjoying themselves.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        "All scams involve a movement of money from stupid people to smart people "

        Smart people get scammed as well, and usually easier.

        • "All scams involve a movement of money from stupid people to smart people "

          Smart people get scammed as well, and usually easier.

          It really varies. People who are experienced at detecting scams are more likely to detect scams. And people who are smarter will me less susceptible to scams in their field, but (if they have less experience with scams because they tend to interact with more reputable people) will often be more susceptible to scams in unrelated areas.

    • by errandum (2014454)

      I'd say that desperate teenagers would do almost anything to get rid of acne.

      The mind can rationalize almost everything when trying to achieve a dream like this one.

      I would never call them dumb, just victims of a scam.

    • The other numbers in TFA are also interesting...

      About 3,300 people paid US$0.99 for Acne Pwner on Google's Android Marketplace and about 11,600 people paid $1.99 for AcneApp through Apple's iTunes store, according to the FTC.

      There you have it. Proof that iphone users are uglier and dumber than droid users.

      -sent from my ipad using the slashdot pro app

      • Since Android has the "used by Geeks only" image, while the iPhone has the "just works, a shiny smartphone for the masses" image.

        Its obvious

    • by Dthief (1700318)
      how long was it available.......and how many people KNEW about it......
      • how long was it available.......and how many people KNEW about it......

        This was a good result--it's nice to the FTC doing their job and policing false advertising practices, at least a little. Complaints are relatively easy to make to them--and though most go unanswered, enough of them show patterns that the FTC will investigate.

  • UV kills bacteria. But I don't think the iPhone makes UV. Hey, that gives me an idea... iSolarium! I'll be rich!
    • by mark-t (151149)
      To answer your opening question... black.
      • Actually uv has it's own colour on the spectrum, it is similar to blue/violet but not. The human retina can perceive this colour just like all the others, but the lens of the eye is opaque to ultra violet, so most people cant see it. You can get an operation to strip the opaque layer so you can see ultra violet but it is not recommended as the uv light destroys retinal cells, so you won't see any colours after looking at uv too long.
    • by DJRumpy (1345787)

      Actually the article mentions red and blue light, so it sounds like visible light per the study, but it would have to be far more intense than anything a smartphone could ever produce:

      "This app was developed by a dermatologist," the marketers of AcneApp said. "A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology showed blue and red light treatments eliminated p-acne bacteria (a major cause of acne) and reduces skin blemishes by 76%."

      Houston dermatologist Dr. Gregory Pearson worked with developer Koby Bro

    • I'm interested in signing onto your enterprise. My idea is to offer an ad-supported "free" version which basically just tells you when and where to get UV light. I have no programming skills, but it would basically show the time until it was daylight and tell the user to go outside naked.
  • You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @05:45PM (#37345548)
    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
  • by nblender (741424) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @05:46PM (#37345568)

    Does that make them 'oxy-morons'?

  • Are we really sure bacteria is the CAUSE of acne? Sure, a lot of doctors seem to think this, but I've never seen any evidence suggesting bacteria is really to blame.

    • by jabuzz (182671)

      My understanding is that we are really sure that bacteria are *NOT* the cause of acne. The cosmetic/drug industry has spent large sums of money on the issue on hopes of coming up with a "cure".

      As I understand it what happens is that a reaction to testosterone causes the sweat in a hair folical to become stickier than normal. This neatly explains why it starts at pubeity. As a consequence there is a tendancy for the pore to become blocked easier. This neatly explains why good hygene can reduce the symptons.

    • Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit resulting from androgen-induced increased sebum production, altered keratinisation, inflammation, and bacterial colonisation of hair follicles on the face, neck, chest, and back by Propionibacterium acnes [nih.gov]

      Wiki on Propionibacterium acnes [slashdot.org]

      is a relatively slow growing, typically aerotolerant anaerobic gram positive bacterium (rod) that is linked to the skin condition acne... Preliminary research shows healthy pores are only colonized by P. acnes while unhealthy ones universally include the non-pore-resident Staphylococcus epidermidis, amongst other bacterial contaminants. Whether this is a root causality, just opportunistic & a side-effect, or a more complex pathological duality between P. acnes and this particular Staph is not known

      So it sounds like bacteria are a necessary part of it.

      • by Frangible (881728)
        It's not entirely androgen dependent either. It can happen merely with elevated levels of corticosteroids, even in women or with androgen blockade, through activation TLR2 (toll-like receptor 2).

        Activation of TLR2 makes you hypersensitive to lipopolysaccharide, which is part of the bacterial cell wall. So your immune system develops hypersensitivity to normal conditions.

        I was on prednisone for over a year for autoimmune problems and you can develop some very nasty acne.

        The bitch of it is, because predn
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Acne is caused by the effects of hormones on sebaceous glands.

      The 70's called, they want their mystery back.

      Also:
      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acne/DS00169/DSECTION=causes [mayoclinic.com]

      Now, what cause an increases sebum production? well that's the question now.

  • "Your smartphone can send texts, surf the Web, and update your Facebook page...

    ...but does it know why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?"

  • Homeopathy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 08, 2011 @06:04PM (#37345772)

    So how come they get fined while producers of homeopathic "medicines" don't?
    I'm asking seriously.

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      I would bet they went wrong by actually claiming a medical benefit. Most homeopathic things I've seen make it pretty clear that there's no proven medicinal benefit to their use. To the right kind of wacko, that's almost a selling point.

      Maybe they should have just marketed this as a 'cheek-warming' app, with a notice 'acne-curing effects are not scientifically proven'. People would still buy it to cure acne.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      If you don't claim in advertisements (including on the label of the object) that it has medical benefits, you can sell almost any vaguely-safe crap you want.

    • DSHEA. [aaos.org] Essentially, the supplements industry bought off Congress and had them pass a law exempting themselves from FDA regulation of their claims as long as they avoided treating specific conditions and diseases. You can't cure acne but I'm sure you can "promote skin health" or whatever.

    • Because homeopathic remedies are sold as 'diet supplements', which are regulated as foodstuffs rather than as drugs.

  • Smartphones Can't Cure Acne, FTC Rules

    So is the FTC telling us that smartphones are unable to cure acne or that they're not going to allow them to do it? What is this, a guv'ment conspiracy to protect the benzoyl peroxide cartel?

  • "...Almost 15,000 people bought the apps."

    Ah, you misspelled "dumbasses".

    Cripes, where's Red Forman when you need him...

  • ...doth not a smart user make.
  • ... isn't going to be happy to hear this.

  • ... stupid people shouldn't have money anyway.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      ... stupid people shouldn't have money anyway.

      Well i think that's stupid, so give me all your money.

  • That's what it was called 2 centuries ago. And people will be selling it as long as there are idiots who are buying it.

  • (acne killers): But why? It is a medicinal app.

    (FTC): Take this hokum down yesterday. There will be no other warning.

    (acne killers): Okay, you got me.

  • Almost 15,000 people bought the apps.

    There. Making stupid apps for iOS will not make you a millionaire.

  • A test file with the following bullet points:

    Wash your face properly with soap and water.
    Go out in the sun.
    Try to eat some food that isn't fried
    Have a shower after you've finished wanking.

The amount of weight an evangelist carries with the almighty is measured in billigrahams.

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