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FAQ about Unsupported Product Claims



Establishing trust with your customers is essential for the success of any consumer brand, including skincare and supplement companies. When making claims about your products, it's crucial to have solid evidence to support them. Making unsupported claims can lead to severe problems that could harm your brand's reputation. We address common questions about unsupported product claims, their consequences, and provide practical advice for consumer brands in the skincare and supplement industry.


What are unsupported product claims?

Unsupported product claims are statements made by consumer brands that lack scientific evidence or support from clinical research. These claims often exaggerate the benefits or effectiveness of a product, potentially misleading consumers. In the skincare and supplement industry, examples of unsupported claims include promising immediate and miraculous results, or stating that a supplement can cure a specific medical condition.


On a smaller scale, these kinds of claims can also describe the benefits of a product without exaggeration -- but provide no clinical backing for them, making transparency and consumer trust impossible.


What happens if a brand makes unsupported claims?

Making unsupported claims can have serious consequences for consumer brands. Regulatory bodies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Federal Trade Commission (FTC), may take legal action against the brand. This can result in significant fines and penalties. The FTC in particular has recently cracked down on false or unsupported product claims, and brands can face official warnings and government action if they are found advertising unsubstantiated product claims.


Additionally, unsupported claims can lead to negative publicity, which can damage your brand's reputation and result in poorer customer relationships. This lowers sales and may even leave your brand vulnerable to legal action from dissatisfied consumers.


How can consumer brands avoid making unsupported claims?

To avoid the pitfalls of unsupported claims, consumer brands should follow these best practices:


Research is First: Before making any claims, make sure you have solid scientific evidence to support them. Conduct comprehensive research, seek expert input, and gather evidence demonstrating your products' effectiveness.


Clinical trials and other research, such as consumer perception studies, are essential for supporting your product claims. Any published information about your formula’s performance must be adequately backed up by clinical research which demonstrates clear safety and efficacy.


Be mindful of regulatory guidelines:

The regulatory landscape can be overwhelming for brands, but it is still vital to familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines that apply to your industry. For example, in the skincare industry, claims must adhere to FDA regulations, while the supplement industry is subject to regulations by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). Stay up to date with any changes or updates to these guidelines.


Working with a Contract Research Organization can make this process easier, as these companies are experts in their field and can provide you with reliable guidance on the latest industry developments.


Be transparent:

Customers value transparency and trust above flashy unsubstantiated marketing, and stating your product claims clearly with easily accessible evidence will protect your brand from the consequences of unsupported claims. Clearly communicate the actual performance, limitations, and potential risks, if any, of your products. This kind of transparency builds trust with consumers and shows that your brand values their well-being above all else. Clear product claims with proven efficacy statements enable your consumers to trust that your formula will do exactly what it’s supposed to.


Use testimonials and endorsements responsibly:

Testimonials and endorsements can be powerful marketing tools, but use them responsibly. Make sure they align with regulatory guidelines and avoid endorsements that make broad and unsupported claims. Always disclose any connections between endorsers and your brand. Remember -- this includes any collaborations with social media influencers or other industry professionals, no matter the size of their audience!


Wrapping Up

In the competitive world of consumer brands, maintaining trust is crucial. Making unsupported product claims can have severe consequences, from legal and financial penalties to damaged brand reputations. Research should always be the foundation of your product claims, as without substantiation, you put your brand at risk and jeopardize the well-being of your customers. Approaching product claims as the result of clinical research rather than working backward is the ethical way forward, and it will bolster your brand’s reputation and overall success. Remember, honesty, integrity, and a commitment to providing accurate information are key to building a strong and reputable brand in the long run.


Want to create your own clinical trial?

Citruslabs provides a simple and affordable way to prove that your products actually work. At Citruslabs, we design a clinical trial that is right for you and your budget, so you can start sharing research-backed product claims without spending a fortune. We offer the cohesive planning and management required to conduct successful clinical trials, from start to finish. Ready to get started? Let's talk! You can contact us here.

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