Although Diane De Poitiers was 20 years older than her royal lover, King Henry II of France, they looked the same age. Her secret? Gold. Or so she thought. Believed to be an elixir of life, harness the powers of the sun, and have aphrodisiac properties, gold was used in the Renaissance as a treatment for various illnesses. Diane drank it regularly to preserve her looks, and while it seemed to have worked, in the end, it poisoned and killed her.
Nowadays, gold is still used for beauty purposes. More and more companies are adding gold flecks and nanoparticles to their skincare products, claiming that this metal can boost collagen production, firm skin and fight wrinkles. Despite their high price, they seem to be pretty popular. But just because gold is a rare and precious metal, it doesn’t mean it is good for skin too.
So, what’s the deal about gold in skincare? Is it worth its weight or is just another expensive, glistening gimmick?
What does gold do in skincare products?
That’s a very good question and one we don’t have an answer to yet. That’s right. Although brands that use gold in their products claim it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging ingredient, no study has as yet confirmed it has any benefits for the skin. So, how can they make such claims? Well, gold has some medicinal uses. According to the British Journal of Radiology, gold nanoparticles are emerging as a promising treatment for cancer. In addition, it is also an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Now, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease and inflammation is believed to be one of the main causes of aging. Therefore, gold is thought to have anti-aging benefits for the skin too. However, no one knows exactly how gold treats arthritis. Some theories propose it works by deactivating the proteins involved in inflammation, while others suggest it is merely a carrier that helps the active ingredients reach their intended destination.
One study conducted on patients with rheumatoid arthritis has also found that gold can boost collagen production, but there is no proof that this would happen when gold is topically applied to the skin, especially considering that most skincare products on the market contain this metal in minuscule amounts. What gold flecks can certainly do is, however, catch the light and make your face glow, but so can a highlighter or a bronzer, and at a much cheaper price too!
Any side effects?
Unfortunately, yes. While no one is as yet sure of what benefits gold has when included in a moisturizer, there is evidence that this metal is a common allergen that can cause contact dermatitis about the face and eyes. Because of this, people who are allergic to gold jewellery or have sensitive skin that’s prone to rashes and irritations should stay away from it.
The Bottom Line
If you like gold, stick to jewellery. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on skincare products that contain this glistening metal. Not only it is a common allergen, but it also doesn’t do anything for the skin, apart from giving it a lovely glow (but then so will a highlighter).
Do you use skincare products with gold?