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24-Karat Gold Skin Care: A Beauty Treasure or Fool’s Gold?

A beauty craze that started last year, gold skin care,  has now gone mainstream. In the exclusive beauty market the use of 24-karat gold became popular amongst celebrities in 2013. In 2014, products containing gold are now being sold by numerous brands, across networks such as the Home Shopping Network and QVC. Claims are being made for gold’s anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, rejuvenating and clarifying qualities. With gold prices running high at £770 ($1, 296) an ounce, and with gold’s long association with luxury and wealth, these products are commanding a high price and a fair amount of publicity. But, is gold really the secret to youthful looks? Or is it nothing more than marketing glitz to bedazzle and confound?

The £1000 Solid Gold Facial

One gold treatment to hit the headlines is the £1,000 ($1, 682) Rodial ‘Solid Gold’ facial. This ‘exclusively’ priced treatment involves covering the face with 24-karat gold leaf, and a mask made from hyaluronic acid and collagen. The mask is preceded by micro-dermabrasion and a bee-venom and gold serum. Famously the supermodel Bar Refaeli posted a picture of herself on Instagram having this facial.

But just because celebrities are willing to pay for it, doesn’t mean it works. Whilst Bar seemed pretty pleased with her indulgent treatment, in reality the gold had no real benefit. Whilst it did nothing to boost her skin it did, however, do everything to boost the price. Sure, the microdermabrasion and some of the other ingredients will have had both instant and long-lasting benefits (although if you have been following our blog, you will of course know that collagen is not one of those ingredients!). But as for the gold, the science is against it.


Bar’s £1000 24Kt Gold Facial

Potential Harm?

Dermatolgists are in agreement that gold absolutely cannot help you. As the dermatologist Dr. Judith Hellman explains “at best, they do nothing, and at worst, they can give you irritation of the skin.” Meanwhile, Dr. Jeannette Graf  searched in vain for data backing up the claims being made. What she found is that “there are absolutely no scientific studies that show that gold has any effect in firming or revitalizing the skin, nor that it reduces wrinkles or gives skin a plumped, golden glow.” However, there is evidence that gold applied in skincare may cause irritation. Gold is a more common allergen than previously reported, and might cause facial and eyelid dermatitis.

[pullquote]Even more alarming is a study published in the journal Nanotoxicology (May 2013) which found that gold nanoparticles actually accelerate the aging process and can cause wrinkles to appear.[/pullquote]

Even more alarming is a study published in the journal Nanotoxicology (May 2013) which found that gold nanoparticles actually accelerate the aging process and can cause wrinkles to appear.

So should you be using gold in your skincare routine? On consideration of the facts, gold in skincare is not just a waste of money and resources, but potentially damaging. In the words of Dr Hellman, if you are thinking of investing in a skincare treatment that contains gold, the best advice is to put that money into gold that you can wear around your neck or on your fingers.

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Ishtar Skinlights

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