"If you don't see anything beautiful in yourself, get a mirror"
- Kendall Jenner
- Kendall Jenner
There are so many gold infused beauty products out there on the market that it make me wonder why gold is even in there in there first place. There are the "Farsali: 24K Rose Gold Elixir," "Guerlain's L'Or Face Primer", Gold eye patches and the gold collagen lip masks, just to name a few.
We know that the gold flecks in the products leave our skin looking glowy and it makes the product so much more luxurious, but is it worth it? And what the heck does gold really do when applied to skin?
Gold is supposed to leave your skin glowing, which it does. Gold is also said to rejuvenate the skin, heal wounds and sores, but how?
First of all gold does NOT rejuvenate the skin when applied topically (on top) to the skin. There was a study done in 2016 by Moulonguet et al., where gold threads were implanted under the facial skin of a 77 year old woman. The study found that the gold threads that were implanted had small myofibroblasts (a type of cell) growing around the gold threads that built/collected a thick casing around the gold thread.
The thick casing was later replaced by collagen and this is where there is an actual rejuvenation of the skin. This type of research and procedure have been around for a long time but there has been very little documentation or research done on gold itself, until recently.
Wound & Sore Healing
Another study was done in 2016 by Lee et al., looked at how "gold nanorods," affect the skin. "Nanorods" are super super tiny particles of gold. The study found that negatively charged gold nanorods penetrated the skin deepest, whereas positively charged gold nanorods penetrated just bellow the surface of the skin. This degree of penetration of the skin has to do with the charge that our skin gives off. For our purposes, we just wanna focus on the positively charged gold nanorods.
The Lee et al., (2016) study concluded that gold nanorods in general are seen as carriers for nutrients that can help speed up healing of wounds and sores, but does not repair skin all on it's own. The positively charged gold nanorods specifically carry molecules that have a fat/lipid bilayer into the surface of the skin. So oils or non-polar molecules are ideally pairs with gold in cosmetics.
Ok, you've read through all the science-y stuff and what does this all mean?
Does the gold do anything?
After reading the research, it suggests that gold does NOT rejuvenate the skin by producing collagen unless it is surgically implanted.
Gold applied topically, may have a potential to work, but we don't know if the gold in the product is positively or negatively charged. And we also don't know if the size of gold particles/flecks actually matters.
All the studies used nano sized gold particles, which means if you can barely see the gold fleck, IT'S STILL TOO DAMN BIG--that's how small those nano gold particles are.
I do think that the gold can still be beneficial in delivering certain nutrients and beneficial products into the skin more effectively. By increasing the delivery of oils, minerals or nutrients to certain levels of the skin, it can speed up the healing time of wounds and sores. But just beware of what the product claims that gold can actually do for you.
The research suggests that pairing gold with products that penetrate the skin slowy, are non-polar or are oily are best, because of how gold can easily bind to the those particular molecules within those products. The patches and gold infused oils may be beneficial to some people but not everyone.
Lee O, Jeong S, Shin W, Lee G, Oh C, Son S. Influence of surface charge of gold nanorods on skin penetration. Skin Research & Technology [serial online]. February 2013;19(1):e390-e396. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 13, 2016.
Moulonguet I, Arnaud E, Plantier F, da Costa P, Zaleski S. Histopathologic and Ultrastructural Features of Gold Thread Implanted in the Skin for Facial Rejuvenation. The American Journal Of Dermatopathology [serial online]. October 2015;37(10):773-777. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 13, 2016.