If you tell someone there’s a way to reverse the aging process, chances are they will be in line eager to learn. On our never-ending quest to find the fountain of youth, we have spent hundreds and hundreds on facial creams and bizarre beauty treatments created by cosmetic companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has cracked down on one particular offender — L’Oréal USA and its product lines, Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code — that falsely claimed to fight aging by targeting consumers’ genes, based on the concept of “gene science.”

L’Oréal Youth Code Photo courtesy of FTC.

L’Oréal agreed to settle the FTC charges of “deceptive advertising” about their two products in question. The FTC complaint explained the cosmetics company made false and unsubstantiated claims that its skincare products provided anti-aging benefits. “It would be nice if cosmetics could alter our genes and turn back time,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a FTC statement released Monday. “But L’Oréal couldn’t support these claims."

Lancôme Génifique Photo courtesy of FTC.

In national advertising campaigns ranging from television to social media outlets, L’Oréal claimed its Génifique products were “clinically proven” to “boost genes” activity and to stimulate the production of youth proteins that would cause “visibly younger skin in just 7 days.” Similarly, for its Youth Code products, L’Oréal touted in both English- and Spanish-language advertisements the “new era of skincare: gene science,” and how consumers would have the ability to “crack the code to younger acting skin.”

Under the administrative settlement, L’Oréal is now prohibited from claiming that any Lancôme brand or L’Oréal Paris brand facial skincare product targets or boosts the activity of genes to make the skin look or act younger. The cosmetic company would highlight its products could respond five times faster to aggressors like stress, fatigue, and aging. Moreover, the settlement goes on to say L’Oréal is prohibited from making claims that Lancôme brand and L’Oréal Paris brand products affect genes, unless the claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Kristina Schake, L'Oréal USA chief communications officer, said in a separate statement on Monday: "The claims at issue in this agreement have not been used for some time now, as the company constantly refreshes its advertising," The Huffington Post  reported. "The safety, quality and effectiveness of the company's products were never in question."

The company charged as much as $132 per container of their Génifique product since its debut in February 2009 at Lancôme counters in department stores and at beauty specialty stores. Youth Code costs up to $25 per container since November 2010, being sold at major retail stores across the U.S. The beauty products were an expensive lie to its consumers.

Despite the recent settlement, this isn’t the first time L'Oréal’s products have been called into question. In 2012, U.S. regulators warned the company it had gone too far with its claims about some of its expensive antiwrinkle products, and warned sales could stop if they didn’t tone down their claims, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Food and Drug Administration also criticized the company’s marketing claims, acknowledging a product which claimed it "boosts the activity of genes and stimulates the production of youth proteins."

While L'Oréal isn’t the only company known to tout its products benefits, possibly including false advertising, there are still beauty product aficionados who look for hope in a jar. If these facial creams could actually achieve similar effects to medical procedures, they would constitute as drugs, rather than beauty products. Rather than ruminate over what skincare products can reverse the aging process, try these three scientifically-proven foods that can boost your genes and leave your skin looking young and healthy.

1. Drink Tea

Choose tea, specifically white tea, to reduce your risk of cancer, rehumatoid arthritis, and even age-associated wrinkles. A 2009 study found the small amounts of enzymes in white tea could protect the body from enzymes that breakdown collagen and elastin. These two work together to make sure your skin is firm and elastic.  

2. Eat Fruits and Veggies

Yes, eating fruits and vegetables is not only healthy for you but good for your skin health. To prevent signs of aging, consume antioxidant fruits, such as berries, that can also slow the growth of certain cancers, improve brain function, muscle tone, and balance. A 2009 study found a topical application of the antioxidant ellagic acid can prevent collagen destruction and inflammatory response — the major causes of wrinkles.

3. Drink plenty of water

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Staying hydrated promotes skin circulation and can help prevent skin repair from decreasing. A 2007 study found drinking 500 milliliters of water increases the blood flow through the capillaries in the skin, after being evaluated 30 minutes later. This is attributed to the fact skin contains up to 30 percent water, so consuming plenty of water can help give it a plump-like appearance.