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South Korea Clamping Down on Spurious and Misleading Cosmetic Online Advertisements

South Korea MFDS found 1553 spurious and misleading cosmetic online advertising pages. The deceptive and misleading advertising mainly involves the use of claims related to therapeutic effects, claims that may mislead consumers into thinking that general cosmetics are functional cosmetics or medicines, etc.

Earlier, ChemLinked reported that the Korea Fair Trade Commission reinforced the supervision of cosmetics advertising on social media [1]. Recently South Korea MFDS inspected 4748 cosmetic online sales pages, mainly focusing on massage cream, cosmetics used before or after exercise, etc., and found 1553 spurious and misleading advertising pages [2]. MFDS has ordered related enterprises to stop operating these pages and imposed administrative penalties on responsible sellers of these products.

Most of the violations are:

  1. Claims related to therapeutic effects such as "anti-inflammatory", "analgesic", "promote the blood circulation", "muscle relaxation", "alleviate fatigue", "reduce the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis", "improve metabolism".

  2. Claim "anti-wrinkle" without passing the functional cosmetics registration review.

  3. Claims such as "healing wounds," "US FDA Pharmaceutical Product Registration" that may mislead consumers into thinking the cosmetics are medicines

Examples of Illegal Advertising

Prohibited Labeling or Advertising in South Korea

  • Labeling or advertisements likely to mislead consumers into thinking the cosmetics are medicines

  • Labeling or advertisements likely to mislead consumers into thinking any cosmetic other than a functional cosmetic is a functional cosmetic, or labeling or advertisements different from the examination results of its safety and efficacy

  • Labeling or advertisements likely to mislead consumers into thinking any cosmetic other than a natural or organic cosmetic is a natural or organic cosmetic

  • Other labeling or advertisements likely to deceive or mislead consumers by misrepresentation

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