Do Your Skincare Products Contain Gold?

Posted on July 30, 2013 by Cynthia M. Poulos, M.D.

It sounds like gold within a skin cream might be a wonderful, rich idea, doesn’t it? Apparently, several skincare manufacturers think so. Gold is included in these skincare formulations: Carita’s Profressif product, $290 for 1.7 oz., and in Perfect Gold Serum ($346 for 3.3 oz); Yum Gourmet Skincare’s 23 Karat Intensive Eye Treatment($52 for half an ounce); and La Mer’s Diamond Dust Refining Facial and Body Refiner ($75 for 3 oz.).  As you can see, these gold-containing skin creams are expensive. Is it worth it? Can gold actually “instantly erase imperfections, producing smooth, radiant, line reduced skin” (quoted from La Prairie’s website regarding its Cellular Treatment Gold Illusion Line Filler, which retails for $165 per ounce)?

According to a study at Stony Brook University in New York, the answer isn’t just “no.” It’s “no, and” gold in skincare products is bad for you. Read on for the details!

A specific team of researchers at Stony Brook University was given the task of creating replacement skin tissue for burn and trauma patients. Inasmuch as gold is claimed (at least by some of the skincare manufacturers) to be a healing element, the researchers decided to run tests to see if gold nanoparticles could increase collagen production and speed healing. If so, gold might be a worthy, though expensive, addition to skin tissue products to help burn and wound patients.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go well. When the gold nanoparticles were injected into cells, the particles were essentially “stuck” inside the cells. This is a problem because cells need to be able to move freely in order to grow and multiply. Researchers also found that the gold nanoparticles actually interrupted the cells’ genetic regulation, diminishing a protein called adiponectin, which helps regulate glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown, two key components of healthy metabolism.  Essentially, gold nanoparticles speed the aging process!

Professor Mironava, one of the Stony Brook researchers, said, “Reductions caused by gold nanoparticles can result in systemic changes to the body. Since they have been considered inert and essentially harmless, it was assumed that pure gold nanoparticles would also be safe. Evidence to the contrary is beginning to emerge.”

Here at our Boston area plastic surgery practice in Northborough, we don’t offer skincare products that contain gold nanoparticles. Based on the study above, our advice is that, if you have any skincare products containing gold, you throw them away. Unfortunately, they won’t help your skin and they may harm you.

To your health and beauty,
Cynthia Poulos, MD