A gold facial is honestly one of the most indulgent spa treatments we can think of. But while they were once a pampering method reserved only for celebrities and ancient royals, these days you’ll find gold facials and gold face masks popping up on high-end spa menus everywhere. Sure, they can be pricey, but sometimes, you just have to spoil yourself. And unlike a bottle of wine, a tub of ice cream, or a night spent vegging out in front of the TV, gold facials are actually good for you.
But what does all that gold actually do? Read on to find out all about how the luxury metal can transform your skin—we promise you’ll never again consider it an extravagance to buy raw cookie dough just for snacking.
What is a gold facial?
Gold facials can differ from spa to spa, but generally they follow a traditional facial format—cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, etc.—but include one of the most decadent add-ons ever invented: a gold face mask. Depending on the technique used, this might involve the aesthetician massaging sheets of 24-karat gold leaf onto your skin. Or, they might coat your face with colloidal gold, a liquid solution with gold nanoparticles suspended in it.
If this whole idea seems to have trended rather suddenly, there’s good reason for that. The gold facial has grown in popularity since 2006, when a Japanese company pioneered a method for helping the metal penetrate surface layers of skin.
What are the benefits of gold facial treatments?
Other than giving you a great excuse to take a selfie, what is all that gold doing on your face?
Gold has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine and ancient skincare—Cleopatra may have been a fan—and modern aestheticians stand by its firming and anti-aging benefits. Gold’s antioxidant properties are said to fight off environmental toxins and sun damage. Clients may find their skin feeling softer and more supple thanks to accelerated cell regeneration and elastin production.
Dermatologists, however, caution that some people can have an adverse reaction, particularly those who experience contact dermatitis when wearing jewelry.
What about DIY gold facials?
Many at-home beauty treatments are also incorporating gold into their list of ingredients. Using one of these in your routine can be a great way to get some of the benefits of gold without breaking the bank.