Luxury Gold Treatments Will Heal You Or Make Your Face Fall Off

by SUSANNAH LONG · May 26, 2010

. . . but most likely it will do nada. NYT writer Jennifer A. Kingson explores the world of gold creams and masks, and is troubled by her findings. "Does anyone remember Goldfinger?" She asks. Jennifer, that Bond girl died because she was painted gold from head to toe and her skin couldn't breathe. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

[Photo by Tina Feinberg for the NYT]

Jennifer herself tries Christine Valmy's inexpensive Golden Collagen Facial Mask, which she reports is "gelatinous, face-shaped and thoroughly golden, [and] arrives in a sheer plastic enclosure that invites you to squish it the way that bubble wrap begs you to pop it." Jennifer likes this quality, but we are faintly nauseated. After using it, she promptly breaks out in a rash. Christine Valmy prez Marina Valmy De Haydu swears the inflammation is not from gold but from arbutin, a mask ingredient that can irritate sensitive skin. However, dermatologists say it could be contact dermatitis, as gold itself can be a skin irritant. It was "Allergen of the Year" in 2001! Should we believe people with medical licenses, or people whose names sound like they may be French countesses?

Gold beauty products are gaining popularity.

The answer is obviously the latter. Go slather your face with the following pricey, shiny gold-based beauty products:

Chantecaille sells Nano Gold Energizing Cream ($420 per 1.7 ounces at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman)

LaRocca Skincare sells colloidal gold products - that is, gold products where microscopic particles of the metal float in a liquid colloid - like 24K Gold Active Vitamin Repair Mist ($29 per 1.7 ounces).

La Prairie sells three colloidal gold products, including Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold ($580 per ounce). And they've just launched a line of colloidal platinum products. They will make you beautiful, obviously.

Dyanna Spa sells a 24KT Gold Mask Facial composed of sugar, gold pigments, and betaine. ($85 for 60 minutes)

You could also try the Liquid Gold Body Wrap at Trump Tower Spa. For an hour, spa-goers can luxuriate in a full-body gold and chamomile treatment ($170 for 55 minutes. Cheaper than a therapist.)

Pre-packaged gold face masks by various companies. [Photo by Tony Cenicola for the NYT]

Those products would sound less boring if they including words like "sparkle," "glimmer," and "the most beautiful girl in the room" in their names. Another minus: retired classics prof Duane W. Roller reports that Cleopatra probably never wore gold face creams, a revelation that destroys all historical awesomeness from this cosmetics subset. And though gold is sometimes used to treat arthritis, it has no scientifically demonstrated benefits for the skin. Ouch. Disappointments on every front.