Glomail Celltone – ASA ruling

Posted 8 November 2012

On the 3rd November 2011 a complaint was laid with the ASA against the claims being made for this product. It has taken a year for the ASA to consider the complaint, Glomail’s response, and to make a ruling.

In essence the consumer complained that there is no peer-reviewed evidence to confirm that the claims for this product as a whole, or for the individual ingredients, are true, and therefore that this product is misleading consumers. The ASA agreed.

Interestingly, many complaints against the effectiveness of this product has been received by CamCheck.

Update 15 January 2013:
A good reason why the claims for Celltone are probably false – read here (opens in separate window/tab)

Glomail Celltone / HA Steinman / 18897
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Glomail (Pty) Ltd Respondent

25 Oct 2012

Dr Harris Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against Glomail for their website advertising promoting the Celltone Regenerative Gel with Snail Extract.

The advertising states, inter alia, the following:

“Do you want your skin to feel more regenerated and your wrinkles to appear smoother?

Celltone is an advanced skin care product with Snail Extract Gel.

Celltone assists with the management of various skin afflictions
Helps diminish the appearance of stretch marks, scarring, spots and wrinkles
Properties include Allantoin, Collagen, Elastin and Vitamins that help enrich the softness of the skin
You will feel and enjoy smoother, more regenerated and younger looking skin
Easy to use soft gel with a pleasant fragrance”

In essence, the complainant submitted that the claims cannot be substantiated and are therefore misleading. He explained that he has searched both “orthodox” and “natural” research sites, and none of them document the benefits of the ingredients to which it attributes it effects. In particular, the complainant disputed the veracity of the following claims or references:

• “Regenerative gel”,

• “Celltone assists with the management of various skin afflictions”,

• “Helps diminish the appearance of stretch marks, scarring, spots and wrinkles”.

In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into account:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims

Adams and Adams attorneys, on behalf of the respondent, effectively denied the allegations, and referred to several websites where positive reviews for this product were posted. The response also states that in August 2006 clinical studies were conducted in respect of the Celltone product to test its carious skincare benefits. It submitted confidential copies of these studies, and explained that they were sponsored by Zaphiredelcor Cia Ltda, an Ecuadorian company specialising in the testing and manufacturing of cosmetic products.

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Clause 4.1 of Section II stipulates that advertisers shall hold documentary evidence for any claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation. In addition, this clause requires such evidence to “…emanate from or be evaluated by a person/entity, which is independent, credible, and an expert in the particular field to which the claims relate and be acceptable to the ASA”.

There is no question that the claims at issue are capable of objective substantiation in the manner envisaged by the Code. The Directorate therefore has to determine whether or not the respondent’s substantiation is adequate.

In considering the evidence submitted, the Directorate was faced with the following concerns / inadequacies:

The “sponsoring laboratory”, is indicated on the reports as “Zaphiredelcor Cia Ltd”. It appears that this entity manufactures and sells a product which uses snail gel extract. According to this company is “… dedicated to the manufacture, customized development, design and commercialization of cosmetic products …” one of its listed cosmetic products is called Dyara, which is touted as “… a renovating facial gel with 50% of snail dribble extract that stimulates the cellular renovation avoiding the formation of wrinkles …smooths [sic] the skin remarkably and protects of the visible signs of the aging [sic]”. This clearly calls into question the independence of this “laboratory”, and it should also be noted that the respondent submitted nothing to indicate why this laboratory on its own should be regarded as an independent and credible expert as required by the Code. It is also unclear to what extent the “sponsoring laboratory” was involved in the study or the respondent’s product.

Similarly, the respondent has not advanced any reason why the “Authors” of the confidential studies should be regarded as independent, credible experts in this field. The authors are listed as “Dr. Ximena S. Guerra G.”; “Dr Tatiana M. Rivera E” and “Dr Inés E. Benítez R.”, yet there is nothing in the report or in the respondent’s submissions to convince the Directorate of their expertise, their independence or their credibility. It is not clear whether these authors are employees of the “sponsoring laboratory” or not.

Each one of the confidential reports contains an “APPROVAL” page, with the above-mentioned names in a table that provides space for their approving signature. None of the three reports submitted have been signed and presumably therefore none have officially been approved by the authors.

Given this, there is currently nothing to verify the respondent’s claims that its product is appropriately regarded as a “regenerative gel” as implied by the question “Do you want your skin to feel more regenerated …”

Likewise, there is nothing to verify that the respondent’s gel “… assists with the management of various skin afflictions” or “Helps diminish the appearance of stretch marks, scarring, spots and wrinkles”.

As a result, these claims are currently unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

By virtue of this, the respondent’s advertising is likely to mislead people in a manner that contravenes Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code.

In light of this, the respondent is instructed to:

withdraw the any and all efficacy claims as objected to by the complainant in their current format;

ensure that the process to withdraw such claims is actioned with immediate effect on receipt of the ruling;

ensure that the withdrawal of these claims is completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and

ensure that the claims at issue are not used again unless new substantiation has been submitted, evaluated, and a new ruling made in accordance with the procedures laid out in Clause 4.1.7 of Section II of the Code.

The complaint is upheld.

Update 15 January 2013:
A good reason why the claims for Celltone are probably false – read here (opens in separate window/tab)

 CamCheck posts related to Celltone

13 Responses to Glomail Celltone – ASA ruling

  1. Simone 7 February, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    Just wondering why if this ruling has been passed that cell tone is being advertised on Australian TV?

  2. Michelle 1 March, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I was wondering the same thing. Flicking through channels and saw it for the first time this eve on Aus tv.. The claims are outrageous. I can’t believe they are allowed to run these celltone ads. All the rubbish exercise machines and hair stylers are bad enough but this is pushing the boundaries of bad science too far. Are these channels not subject to false advertising claims??

  3. Lena 3 March, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    I very much agree with Michelle I quote “Are these channels not subject to false advertising claims???” regarding Celltone and everything else that’s advertised on their channels. There’s parenting rules when watching TV with the family to help distinguish the shows/movies maturity level for different age groups (children/adults)

    Why isn’t there rules for what’s advertised on TV…??? What’s Australia getting to??? Everything that’s advertised on TV should be approved and have it’s research as backup or some approval of some-sort that will claim it’s genuine. It’s the same with medicine in Pharmacies it can’t be sold unless its TGA approved which means “IT DOES AND CONTAIN WHAT IT STATED IT DOES on their packaging and advertising”


  4. Dr John Holden 14 March, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    In my opinion judging from personal and family members objectively observed after only two weeks application an improvement in skin ton / colour , resulting in a noticable reduction in wrincles and in my case total disappearance of ugly brown blemishes under both eys which I am very pleased about. In view of this I would like to have the choice of being able to buy this product freely in New Zealand.

  5. Harris 14 March, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Dr Holden’s comments should be read in context: there are an extraordinary amount of people who publicly state that Celltone does not work (or has been harmful), and there is no evidence for the claims. Anecdotal evidence does not equate to proof.

  6. Mandy Tomlin 19 April, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    They are paid advertisements aren’t they? If they are they are paying to advertise their product until enough people complain about it. I was thinking about trying it as the results look great but I don’t see how it can work if they are telling you the magic ingredient because we could all go and collect our own snail slime

  7. DD 30 May, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    From what age group can use Celltone?
    Is it good for teenage pimples

  8. Harris 30 May, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    I cannot recommend Celltone for there is no evidence that it really works.

  9. Marina 10 June, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    The reason why this cannot be guaranteed is because snails as a food date back many years – back to the poor country of france when they needed an excuse for eating the snails from their garden and puff pastry in the shape of a cone (croissant) – they were as you know in history one of the poorest countries and with scarcity of food and desperation to not show it – has made up the story of how good the gross crawling in the garden is good for your health..(need I say more)

  10. Nitty 13 June, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    I have really bad marks on my skin and this past month i was using celltone and i see no improvent. Is it best if i saw a dermatologist? Im really desperate for something that will clear my blemishes as this is takinf away from my confidence. Im disappointed that i wasted my money on celltone, it clearly doesnt work. Please help, anyone

  11. Sus 1 September, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Re: DR John Holden’s comments.
    Sorry, I do not believe that this comment was made by a Dr, as well as an independent reviewer.
    I would think a Dr would spell better than this one has.
    Yes, I’ve seen this ad just tonight on Australian Tv. Needless to say, I would not fall for this advertisement. Too many snail creams on market, all too good to be true. Aha, even dragon’s blood. Oh, please!

  12. celltone benefits 2013 18 September, 2013 at 1:43 am #

    Is it best if i saw a dermatologist? Im really desperate for something that will clear my blemishes as this is taking away from my confidence.

  13. Jane Mathebe 13 November, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Good day

    I bought celltone exfoliating gel on the 7th of November 2014, at Clicks Silverwater, i used it for 3 to 4 days then my skin started to get darker only to find out that the said product had expiried on the 31st of May 2014, i would like to be given some advice how to get my skin back to its original complexion, which celltone products to use, which i dont think i should be paying for, as its not my fault, celltone and stores that sell celltone products i believe they have a responsibility of check whether their product are fine, celltone products are a bit costly and am a loyal customer but i just got a raw deal, i hope a big a reputable establishment like celltone will respond to this grievince and remedy it.


    Jane Mathebe

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