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ALL THAT GLITTERS…Gold in Cosmetics

Mankind always had an obsession with gold. From the Egyptians who used gold as a sacrifice for the Sun God, to Aztecs who treated gold as a substance from Gods, to our modern fixation on this precious metal. Gold was historically thought of as a prized precious metal. Even today at the Olympic Games a gold medal is awarded as the top prize. In another far flung scientific field, another obsession is looming, that of the Nanotechnology and the seeming endless benefits it promises. Nanotechnology is a relatively new field, and is mainly focused in the fields of electronics and medicine, but is spreading through the science of dermatology into topical skin care treatments. We see it used in consumer products including sunscreens, cosmetics and perfumes in the form of Nanoparticles. What are Nanoparticles? They are generally classed as any particle that is 100 nm or smaller in size, that is one hundred thousandth the size of a grain of rice. The power of going “nano” is that any particle at this size begins to exhibit special characteristics due to the overall surface area that it generates, and other more selective surface chemistries that are exhibited. However, the concern is that on such a small scale nanoparticles can penetrate the skin barrier causing allergic reactions, dermatitis and hypersensitivity. For example, sunscreens using nanoparticle technology can generate reactive oxygen species and be harmful to the skin. Also on the nano-scale, penetration into the cell wall is possible, but may not be beneficial, based on the particle in question. It has been popular in recent years to include colloidal gold, a suspension of gold nanoparticles in water, in cosmetics as a luxurious ingredient that is good for skin. Some of the cosmetics companies’ claim that colloidal gold promotes anti-aging by strengthening and firming the skin. Other claims include reduction in inflammation and damaged skin healing. In fact, there is no scientific basis for any of these claims because gold is one of the least reactive chemical elements. Gold nanoparticles cannot release gold ions and thus are inert. They potentially have little to no effect on the skin, and any negative side effects are uncertain. Although it is still important to use nanoparticles in therapeutic applications, such as skin care imaging, drug/ vaccine delivery, and wound healing, their place in cosmetics is highly contested and unclear. Do not believe the hype and save yourself from unnecessary skin reactions. NuVsio does not use any colloidal metallic particles in any form, including Gold, and never will.

Wishing you a healthy, glowing skin,

Dr. Brei, PhD NuVsio Founder