Posted on February 25, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Celebrity beauties like Bar Refaeli, Karolina Kurkova, and Cameron Diaz have lauded the 24 karat gold facial. The trend isn’t entirely new, however. It’s rumored that Cleopatra slept in a gold mask every night (of course!), and gold has been used medicinally in the ancient Ayurvedic tradition. More specifically, it has been used to treat respiratory, heart, and brain diseases and has been credited with relaxing the body and mind.
In this latest iteration of gold-as-treatment, pure gold foil is applied directly to freshly cleansed skin and is promised to improve skin's texture, tone, appearance, redness, dark spots, and hydration. (Costing anywhere from $380-$1,200 per treatment, it better!) The gold treatment is usually mixed with hyaluronic acid (a hydrating agent), bee venom, collagen, and/or antioxidants and often includes a massage for increased absorption of these products.
Why gold, though? Gold facial brands claim that the softness of the precious metal means that skin will more easily absorb it, at least partially, and reap its benefits. Some dermatologists are skeptical, however, pointing out that the benefits associated with gold facials may really be coming from the antioxidants and other scientifically-backed ingredients in the treatment—and not so much from the gold. In fact, in order for the gold to actually penetrate the skin, it would have to be in nanoparticles—and most of the gold facials out there are not created with nanoparticle gold, so the gold foil simply sits on the surface of the skin.
Moreover, The Mayo Clinic notes that gold nanoparticles can be toxic to cells and are currently being used to destroy cancer cells in ovarian cancer, which suggests that we wouldn’t want to expose healthy cells to gold nanoparticles. Additionally, in 2001, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named gold the allergen of the year, so applying large patches of gold to sensitive facial skin may not be such a good idea until you can confidently rule out a gold allergy.
Our verdict? Spend your beauty budget on beauty treatments that have a little more science behind them—like massage, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and derma rolling—and, if you’re going to buy gold, make sure it is the kind you can wear (multiple times), like, you know, jewelry!