Gold NanoparticlesOver the past several years, manufacturers of high-end skincare products have added gold nanoparticles to selected skincare products, with a claim that they will “instantly erase imperfections, producing smooth, radiant, line reduced skin” (quote from La Prairie’s webpage about Cellular Treatment Gold Illusion Line Filler, which retails for $165 for an ounce). Gold nanoparticles are also found in these products: Carita’s Profressif product, at $290 for 1.7 oz., and their 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.). Are these manufacturers on to something great? Is the inclusion of gold in your skincare products worth the extra price? A study at Stony Brook University in New York claims otherwise. According to their research, adding gold particles to skincare products isn’t just useless, it’s bad for you.

It was the task of a research team of Stony Brook University to create skin tissue for patients suffering from burns and other wounds. Since gold was highly touted (at least by some skincare manufacturers) as a healing element, the researchers tested gold nanoparticles on normal cells in petri dishes to see the interaction. If the gold behaved in ways that suggested it might increase collagen production and speed healing, the precious metal would be deemed a valuable addition to skin tissue derivatives for individuals with burns or wounds.

Adult stem cells were injected with various quantities of gold. The results were surprising, but not in a positive way. The researchers first noted that gold, after infusion into the cells, was “trapped” inside the cells—a big problem, because cells need what’s called “motility” (the ability to move freely) in order to duplicate. Researchers also discovered that the gold nanoparticles interrupted the cells’ genetic regulation and diminished adiponectin, a protein that helps regulate glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown, 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.”

We don’t offer skincare products containing gold here at our Houston area plastic surgery practice. We offer my exclusive skincare products, which have been thoroughly tested for effectiveness and safety. From the abov study, it’s obvious that gold doesn’t fall into either category. So, if you have gold skincare products at home, you might cry while you throw those expensive items into the trash, but you can smile that you won’t harm yourself with their use!