Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

All That Glitters: Gold as a Skincare Ingredient May 27, 2010

When I saw this article in The New York Times it immediately reminded me of an article I had read about a year ago in New Beauty.  The article in New Beauty, in the Spring/Summer 2009 edition of the magazine, was entitled “Bizarre Beauty: Powerful Products with Unusual Ingredients” (pages 48-52).   The article featured products with rare and even strange ingredients like snake venom, snail secretion, and placenta.  Certainly the article was intriguing, but frankly it didn’t want to make me go and seek these products out.

So when I read the following article in The New York Times – “Gold Face Cream: A Costly Leap of Faith” – I had a similar reaction – interesting but I won’t be buying these products with gold in them any time soon.  What was most interesting about the article to me was the contrast between the claims made by the manufacturers of the skincare products that included gold compared to the doctors’ opinions about these claims.  To say that the two sides have opposing views would be a huge understatement.  Those producing the skincare products with gold as an ingredient claim that gold is anti-aging and anti-inflammatory while doctors say that gold is irritating, can cause allergic reactions, and is toxic in high doses.  Yet despite what the doctors say people keep buying these creams and claiming that the gold in them helps their skin.

Two things were very interesting to me about this article.  One was the opposing opinions of the doctors and product manufacturers about what gold can do for the skin.  And the other thing that interested me was the fact that these products were popular despite the very high costs (see this related article “Even Cleopatra Didn’t Have These“).  I guess some people figure the more expensive a product the better it works?  Of course, high cost doesn’t mean much when it comes to good skincare product formulation.  I guess people buy into the idea  that if gold is rare and costly than it must be good for you?  In my opinion there is no need to buy products just for the gold they contain.  There are so many other great skincare ingredients that have a proven track record of both effectiveness and safety.  I would steer clear of rare and unusual ingredients if that is all the product has to offer.


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