What Are The Benefits Of Gold in Skincare?

All that glitters isn’t gold — but you can make sure your skincare is.
Written by Témi Adebowale
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What Are The Benefits Of Gold in Skincare?G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

From bubbly face masks to cool pimple patches, there are more Instagrammable beauty and skincare products out there than ever before. And, while many of these serums, masks, and treatments are formulated with actives that we all know and love, there are also some trendier ingredients that aren’t as widely reported on.

Gold is one skincare ingredient that has been growing in popularity — with the selfies to prove it! — but its complexion-perfecting powers are a little less known than, say, hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. Here, we’re breaking down exactly what gold can do for your complexion.

The Benefits of Gold in Skincare

Gold is shiny, sparkly, and nice to look at, and, when it comes to skincare, the precious metal has a similar effect. “Besides being a luxurious product, micronized specks of gold can make our skin reflect a golden, glowy tone,” says Natalie Aguilar, a celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse.

In fact, the glow is so real that Aguilar opted for a gold-infused treatment before tying the knot. “I gave myself a gold facial the morning of my wedding because I really wanted my skin to radiate light and look tight,” she shares. “It worked wonderfully under my makeup and reflected beautifully in my photos.” It should come as no surprise then that such facials are also favorites during awards season.

But gold is believed to deliver more than just superficial radiance. “Gold can also provide a physical shield that can protect our skin from environmental damage, thus protecting our cherished collagen,” she explains. “And the ingredient is also known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”

You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t looking for a bit of radiance, but gold can be particularly beneficial for those dealing with what La Prairie director of innovation, Daniel Stangl, PhD, and director of strategic innovation and science, Jacqueline Hill, PhD, call “devitalized skin.”

The Swiss skincare brand recently debuted its Pure Gold Collection, which is centered around — you guessed it — the precious metal, to address skin that appears dull, dry, and fragile. The line features both large gold particles (for an instant glow) and submicron gold particles that deliver additional active ingredients deeper into the skin for long-term smoothing and strengthening benefits. “The [collection] is particularly suited for dull skin, for dry and dehydrated skin, and for skin that has lost its youthful vitality,” they note.

The Cons of Gold in Skincare

Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold. Momoe Azama, general manager of Makanai, cautions that some people can have gold allergies. “We recommend a patch test or consultation with a physician for those who are concerned about having skin reactions, as a gold product may not be suitable for those who are allergic to metal,” she explains.

Additionally, gold is an ingredient that some brands may try to cut corners with. “Mica is a mineral that shines like gold and, although not harmful, it can be irritating to sensitive skin,” Aguilar warns. As always, a little research goes a long way. “Just like mica, other materials that look and shine like gold can attempt to be marketed as gold, so it’s important to read ingredient labels and buy from reputable sources and brands,” she says.

Speaking of research, it should also be noted that, at this point, there haven’t been many studies about the efficacy of gold in skincare and the benefits of gold for the skin. As we wait for more data, being probing of the products you are purchasing, as Aguilar suggests, will help to ensure you are using formulas that work best for your skin concerns.

How to Add Gold into Your Skincare Routine

If you do decide to go for the gold with your skincare regimen, it’s important to pick a product because it features ingredients that will work well for your skin type, in addition to being infused with gold. The good news is that gold plays well with other actives, and it isn’t known to increase sun sensitivity. “Gold can reflect 99 percent of light, and it’s used by NASA inside space shuttles and spacesuits to block radiation,” Azama notes.

Another consideration? The format of the product. “Gold generally works best when left on the skin, so a leave-on mask, serum, or moisturizer is preferred over a rinse-off product,” Aguilar explains. And consistency is key. “In order for gold to be beneficial to the skin, it should be in a product that can be used daily such as a serum or moisturizer,” she continues. “We want this element to protect our skin and using it for just one day isn’t enough.”

Now that you know what gold can do for the skin, here are some ways to add it into your beauty routine:

The Topper: Makanai Goldays 24K Gold Perfector Sheet


Gold is the only ingredient in these gleaming gold leaf sheets that will boost your glow like never before. To use, place the sheet on your face after cleansing and toning and massage it into the skin in circular motions with the brand’s Jewel Oil Serum or a face cream. $25 for 4 sheets, makanaibeauty.com

The Splurge: La Prairie Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate


This luxe serum can only be described as a splurge, but it provides both immediate and lasting benefits. Its multi-phase diffusion system allows large gold particles to impart an instant glow, while smaller particles penetrate the skin to refine tone and texture over time. $850, laprairie.com

The Pout Perfecter: Tatcha Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm


There’s no better place for a 23K gold glimmer than the lips, and this nourishing balm also contains camellia oil, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids to seal in moisture and protect the fragile skin on your lips. $30, sephora.com

The Prep Step: Masqueology 24K Gold Toner


Prep your complexion for the rest of your skincare routine with this lightweight, water-based toner that contains hydrating sodium hyaluronate, smoothing niacinamide, and, yes, collagen-boosting 24K gold. $22, masqueology.com

The Skin Smoother: Mimi Luzon 24K Pure Gold Glow Brilliant Super Oil


This shimmering face oil from celebrity aesthetician Mimi Luzon combines 24K gold with grapeseed oil and omega fatty acids to improve skin elasticity, stimulate cell turnover, and boost collagen production for smoother, firmer skin. $239, revolve.com

The Multitasker: Chantecaille Gold Recovery Mask


Whether you use it as a 15-minute pick-me-up treatment or leave it on overnight, this multi-purpose mask combines antioxidant-rich 24K gold and silk extracts with blackcurrant and sunflower seed oils (to calm redness and strengthen the skin barrier), probiotic ferment (to promote cell turnover), microalga (to brighten), and peptides (to soften fine lines). $275, chantecaille.com

The Eye Opener: Benton Snail Bee Ultimate Hydrogel Eye Patch


Buzzing with, well, buzzy ingredients, these gels pair gold with snail extract, tea tree leaf water, hyaluronic acid, and seaweed extract to brighten and tighten the delicate skin around the eyes. There’s even pearl and diamond powder for extra radiance. $28, sokoglam.com

The Hydrator: Orogold 24K Deep Moisturizer


This cream manages to be richly hydrating with a light and non-greasy finish. A plumping blend of gold, vitamin E, and shea butter protect against moisture loss for a supple and glowing visage. $88, orogoldcosmetics.com

The Quick Fix: Masque Bar Gold Foil Detoxifying Peel Off Mask


Formulated with grapefruit and raspberry fruit extract, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, and gold, this 15-minute peel-off mask is ideal for those with oily skin who want to balance their sebum production and clear clogged pores. $4, masque.bar

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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TÉMI ADEBOWALEis an editor at AEDIT.

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