While we here at American Spa love a good gold product, unfortunately, all that glitters isn’t gold. In a study published in the journal Nanotoxicology, a team of researchers from Stony Brook University found that gold nanoparticles accelerated the aging process. The gold particles were also shown to inhibit fat storage and slow healing from wounds. Gavee Gold’s Tiffany Andersen says she believes products that claim to use nano (colloidal) particles of gold should be avoided, as they can speed up aging. “Benefits of gold in the skin can only be truly achieved with the removal of the ‘dead outer shell’ or the metal, and the living minerals are extracted,” says Andersen. “This is where all the therapeutic benefits are contained.”
Still, in other research, gold nanoparticles are being studied for their ability to serve as a drug delivery system. Such studies lend credence to the idea that gold could potentially work as a delivery agent to the skin. “Because gold aids with penetration, it is therefore helping the other ingredients to work better,” says Knesko Skincare’s Lejla Cas.
While gold may be toxic in large doses, most skincare products don’t contain enough of it to be an issue. What could be an issue for some spa-goers, however, is an allergic reaction, such as contact dermatitis. In fact, gold was elected the “allergen of the year” in 2001 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. For clients who are allergic to gold jewelry, you’ll probably want to skip the gold-infused facial.