There is a definite hype in the skin care industry right now with metals and precious stones. To honor the trend, we thought we’d take a look at the most common of the metals being used: Gold! So, what are the pros and cons to using gold in skin care, and is it worth the money to buy that gold skin cream? Read on to learn more.
How Is Gold Being Used and Marketed?
We have seen so much published about the use of gold in skin care, but really not much that can be verified. Gold is being touted as an antioxidant, and if you have been following our blog on antioxidants you know how valuable they are to the skin. They help fight free radicals which can damage our skin, and they are arguably the most widely used selling point in many skin care products.
The Importance of Antioxidants
Now, saying that, there have not really been any scientific studies to support the claim that gold acts as an antioxidant. But for the sake of being fair, let’s assume that it is. Ayr Skin Care uses antioxidants in everything that we make. Our Awaken Eye Serum, for example, is loaded with antioxidants like resveratrol, found in grapes, and also contains pomegranates and green tea. Antioxidants used in some of our other products include rosehip oil, pumpkin, berries, citrus and vitamins C and E. How do gold skin cream and other gold beauty products compare?
You’re Not Getting Much Gold
Gold is currently about $42 a gram in today’s market. In a batch of 100 grams of typical gold skin care products, for example, gold may be used at between 0.1% and 0.5%. In this “best guess” scenario, the gold would cost no more than $20, and the 100 grams of product would make maybe 2 or 3 containers of gold skin cream to be sold. In the most expensive scenario, the gold you would receive in your cream purchase would be no more than $5 to $8 in value.
Gold Is All About Perception
So…that’s the dollar value: $5 to $8. To put things into perspective, this makes it comparable to many other natural extracts that we purchase as formulators. So, gold really isn’t this super luxury thing that is beyond comparison in the skin care world. Many extracts that we use cost the same amount of money.
But the perception of gold is that it is for Royalty. So let’s talk “perception.” When selling skin care, which we all know is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide, consumers respond well to anything that is perceived as luxurious. That’s the real allure of using gold in skin care. Used in societies around the world for centuries, gold brings associations of romance and stature, and in many countries is associated with magic or religious power. This is the subtle marketing message behind the “gold” in gold skin cream and other beauty products.
People Like the Prestige that Gold Symbolizes
There is a reason that in many ancient cultures the statues of gods were made of gold. It was the very best that the humans had to offer, and so it was set above all else. The reason Cleopatra allegedly slept in a gold mask? Because she could! There’s a myth associated with her using it for its skin care benefit, but really that is just a myth. There is no proof that the gold mask was used for any other reason besides its rarity and expense.
Then, as now, those who have gold items or jewelry are considered elite. With the media obsession with the rich and famous, people want to feel that they can experience the same things as their idols. If a celebrity sleeps in a gold mask, then there will be someone, somewhere who will want to emulate that.
Gold Skin Cream Is Not Good Skin Care
The problem here is that there seems to be no proof that gold skin cream offers anything special in terms of actual skin care. In contrast, there is a lot of information available on traditional antioxidants like those mentioned above. Ayr Skin Care prides itself on using the highest-quality ingredients. If gold lived up to all the hype, we would definitely look into it.
Not All That Glitters Is Gold
So, are there any other “pros” at all to buying gold skin care products? Well, gold does impart a “sheen” or glittery tone to products. There is no doubt of that. Throughout history, the reflective quality of gold has been revered. It is important to note, however, on the ingredients listings of many gold skin care products, that they also contain micas or turmeric or other gold-colored ingredients in order to push the concept of gold. If all there is to gold is its shimmer, why not use mica?
What About Health Concerns?
In reading various studies on the safety of using gold skin cream, one thing that kept coming up was the subject of nanoparticles. According to a couple of scientific studies, there may be some truth to the fact that the nanoparticles of gold may interfere with natural cell division and turnover.
Cell division and new cell growth are important to everyone, but especially in those with older skin that may be experiencing a loss in collagen production. We want our cells to be healthy and turning over as they were when we were younger. Using an ingredient that may actually slow down cell turnover may in fact be counterproductive to anti-aging. One study from the journal Nanotoxicology also found that gold particles were shown to inhibit fat storage, slow healing from wounds, and might also tie into increasing the risk of type 2 Diabetes.*
What About a Gold Allergy?
When looking at products to use in skin care, paying attention to allergens is a high priority. Ayr Skin Care was actually founded due to my own numerous allergies, so I place a high value on formulating products without them.
Surprisingly, gold is quite a popular allergen. If you have had contact dermatitis or other problems with a gold allergy in the past, even a small amount in your skin care could be problematic. It’s not that we have anything against gold skin cream; it’s just that there does not seem to be any good that might outweigh the possible negatives that we are finding in our research.
Ayr Skin Care: Allergen-Free
By the way, we put the same amount of energy into eliminating other allergens—like eggs, gluten, soy, dairy, and most grains, in addition to many toxic synthetic ingredients—from our products.
Sources of Allergens in Gold
Now, the allergens associated with gold are really tied into the impurity or addition of other metals into gold. 24 karat gold is pure, but it is very soft. That’s why when you purchase a necklace or ring, it may be only 14 or 18 karat. The gold has been blended with other metals in order to make it harder, which makes it easier to form into jewellry.
If you have a gold allergy, chances are that you are really allergic to those other metals. Without knowing whether the gold in your skin care is 24 karat, you leave yourself open to reactions from those other metals.
So, Is There a Need for Gold in Skin Care?
The short answer is: Absolutely not! Just because something is revered, reserved for the elite, or looks shiny, does not give it any skin care value. Just because some people claim there might be some benefit as an antioxidant, doesn’t make gold skin cream more effective than any of the other numerous antioxidants that actually have well-documented value in skin care formulas.
In the opinion of this blogger, save your money! Make sure that the creams and masks you are using are designed to help your skin in the healthiest way possible, and wear your gold around your neck in the form of a necklace!
Bye for now!
*Study in Nanotoxicology journal, by a team of researchers from Stony Brook University