The inspiration for this post came from this reply about gold on the strangest ingredient topic, where many claims were made about the benefits of gold in skin care.
In fact, typing “Benefits of Gold for Skin Care” yields the following article in what is currently the first position in Google:
I’ll highlight the claims here for your reference, and include my reply below. While I’m not a metalurgist or dermatologist, I don’t think you have to be either if you take a moment to peel back the onion and consider what they are claiming. Many of the answers to what they have alleged can be found here in Skin Care Uni.
Claim: Wrinkles, Fine Lines, Spots Can Be Reduced
To have a clear skin, free from wrinkles & spots is every woman’s ultimate desire. Gold can activate the basal cells of the skin which reduces the elasticity of the skin. It thus reduces wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes and marks on the skin, and will make you look younger.
Reply: Inert metals like gold don’t penetrate the skin or body, which is why they are used in dental care, earrings, and other applications where you don’t want reactions occurring. Gold won’t do anything by sitting on your skin, so we certainly know it certainly can’t get to the 5th layer of the epidermis to stimulate basal cells. Note: There are some studies being done today regarding gold nanoparticles, which may be able to permeate the skin, but this is not yet available in skincare. Furthermore, we have no idea how deep they would penetrate, or their function on the basal layer.
But wait, what about their claim it will reduce elasticity, and therefore wrinkles? Well, you’d never want to reduce skin elasticity, and wrinkles are not a function of too much elasticity, it’s literally the opposite, too little elasticity is one of the major causes of wrinkles. Inelastic skin doesn’t snap back into place, instead it hangs, producing the appearance of wrinkles.
Claim: Gold Stimulates The Skin Cells
The ions present in gold help in stimulating the cells, nerves and veins in your body which leads to improved blood circulation. This will increase the metabolism of skin cells and secretion of the waste. Gold can help to stimulate the cells and have a healthy skin.
Reply: Nerves are in the dermis, which is skin below the 5 layers of the epidermis. Since we learned above that gold won’t penetrate the top layers of your skin, it certainly won’t go any deeper to the bottom layers.
Claim: Premature Aging Of The Skin Can Be Prevented
Dryness of skin can lead to its premature aging. Use of gold can reduce the dryness of skin and helps in increasing the metabolic rate. This would prevent the skin from premature aging.
Reply: This is just made a statement, nothing more. By what method is dryness reduced exactly? Why not aluminum foil? At least you can wrap your body in aluminum foil. Don’t like aluminum? How about Saran Wrap, I imagine it would help reduce dryness better than gold.
Claim: Gold Can Lighten The Complexion
As we recollect history, it was rumored that one of the beauty regimes that Cleopatra followed was the use of gold. Cleopatra used a gold mask every night to enhance her complexion and keep her skin youthful, glowing and beautiful.
Reply: What a beautiful rumor. Maybe the rumor was true, maybe not, that’s the benefit of citing rumors in this way… no one can unsubstantiate the claim. However, if she painted her face with gold, then I agree, it would be glowing, otherwise there’s nothing in gold that’s going to react with skin to lighten it.
Claim: Collagen Depletion Is Slowed Down
Collagen is naturally produced in your body which keeps the body flexible. It is responsible for giving smooth skin and shining hair. The collagen level in the body starts depleting from the age of 25 and this is when you notice the changes on your skin. Skin care with gold can slow down the depletion of collagen level in your skin cells.
Reply: Collagen does help with flexibility, and does start depleting around 25, but there’s nothing gold can do to replace it. Rubber bands are flexible, I suggest wearing rubber bands around your forehead to absorb the rubber ions, which will help keep skin tight and youthful.
Claim: Sun Damage Can Be Treated
We all are very concerned for our skin getting tanned under the sun. Production of melanin or black pigment in the skin is responsible for tanning of the skin, when exposed to sunlight. The production of melanin in the body can be reduced with the use of gold.
Reply: Melanin gives our skin color, but reducing melanin won’t treat sun damage, and gold won’t reduce the production of melanin in your body. Fun fact, melanin protects your skin from sun damage, so if gold were able to reduce melanin in your body (which it can’t) you would actually be increasing your chances of getting burned, not reducing them.
Claim: Allergies Can Be Treated
Egyptians believed that gold has medicinal properties that can help in healing a few diseases. The antioxidant properties present in gold helps in increasing blood circulation which leads to reduction in acne and other skin allergies.
Reply: Egyptians and other ancient cultures believed in lots of things science had yet to discover. Egyptians believe in over 2000 dieties, that cats were sacred, death was temporary, and many other things. Today, we all know dogs are sacred, not cats . I will say, though, Mr. T has aged very well, maybe there IS something to gold and skincare! Seriously, they should have gone this route.
Claim: Inflammation Can Be Treated
Gold is said to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammation properties that help oxygen to enter into the skin for renewal of the cells. This helps in treating ulcer and other inflammatory disorders of the skin. It is also known to rejuvenate your skin.
Reply: Gold nanoparticles are being studied for possible antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, but that doesn’t mean there’s a connection to helping oxygen enter the skin for cell renewal, or treating inflammatory disorders. Why not rub grandma’s earrings instead?
Claim: Elasticity Of The Skin Can Be Increased
Skin tends to sag when its elasticity decreases or is completely lost. Use of gold can breakdown the elastin gradually and restore the elasticity of the tissues. This would further prevent the skin from sagging. Gold increases the elasticity of the skin, thus makes it firm and toned.
Reply: Hold up, their first claim was gold would activate basal cells decreasing skin elasticity, how is it all of a sudden increasing skin elasticity?!?
Claim: Glowing Skin
Gold helps in improving the blood circulation, hence it helps hydrate and maintain the skin’s moisture level. The small particles of gold get absorbed into the skin imparting a rich glow. This makes the skin healthy, fresh and radiant.
Reply: If this were true, gold jewelry would simply disappear over time as it was absorbed by their wearers.
In conclusion Many personal care companies have adopted the strategy to celebrate an ingredient as the foundation for their brand, or to feature a new product. It’s smart, whether it’s bees, seaweed, gold, shea… companies are looking for ways to differentiate and appeal to consumers. But the ingredients should actually do something. It’s my opinion that gold-infused skin care products are more marketing than science, and you would be better served at this time to buy gold jewelry than gold skin care.