Proactiv skin cream ads banned in U.K.; product missing ingredient included in U.S. version

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
July 18, 2012

Have some celebrities been unwittingly lending their names to a product that makes misleading claims? The British Advertising Standards Authority says they have.

The ASA pulled ads featuring Katy Perry endorsing a Proactiv spot cream from a British teleshopping channel, saying it doesn't carry the same active ingredient as the American product, reports the Daily Mail.

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Seven celebrities, including Perry and Justin Bieber, were sent U.K. formulations of the Proactiv product and were asked to write honest accounts of their experiences using them — testimonials which were then posted to the Proactiv website.

"The ASA banned the ads, noting that while five of the seven celebs made statements saying they had used UK Proactiv products 'for several weeks', the ads implied the benefits came from continual use," reports the Daily Mail.

The direct marketing company behind the ads, Guthy-Renker UK Ltd (GRUK),
tells the Daily Mail that while some of their U.K. products are packaged differently from the American version, for the most-part the product formulations are the same.

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The Canadian Proactiv website provides ingredient information for their products but says the exact formulation is proprietary.

"We can say that Proactiv® Solution conforms to the strict guidelines set forth by the US FDA and Health Canada and that the research has shown that its main ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, is effective in helping existing blemishes to heal and to help prevent future blemishes from occurring," states the website, implying the formulations are the same in both the Canadian and American markets.

Other celebrities who have endorsed Proactiv? Elle Macpherson, Avril Lavigne and Julianne Hough.

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