IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Is gold in skin care a gimmick or worth it? We asked dermatologists

This luxurious skin care ingredient might have more benefits than you think.
Getty Images

When you think of gold, you most likely think of luxury jewelry, Olympic medals, or precious bars stored deep within bank vaults. But in recent years, you might have noticed that beauty brands have been using this versatile metal in their products, from under-eye masks to serums. And not to mention, some gold-infused products have gone completely viral on social media (#goldskincare on TikTok has over 30 million views!).

So should you be "going for the gold" and adding another ingredient to your skin care routine? While it might seem like a luxurious addition and pampering experience, we naturally have a lot of questions. That's why we turned to two board-certified dermatologists to help us break down this metal ingredient.

Benefits of gold as an ingredient

As an ingredient, dermatologists told Shop TODAY that colloidal gold or gold nanoparticles are formulated to a size that is allowed to penetrate the skin. And if you were wondering if this could just be a fancy gimmick, dermatologists say that gold actually has its presumed skin benefits.

"Gold works in skin care to help reduce inflammation and has both antibacterial and antioxidant benefits," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick. "It can help other skin care ingredients be more effective by serving as a carrier.  It may help rejuvenate the skin while also leaving the skin more radiant."

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Teresa Song, it is also a popular ingredient for anti-aging and maturing skin and she says that it really can be for anyone looking for a little luxury in their skin care routine.

"Gold has presumed benefits in improving wrinkles and reversing aging through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. However, there [have] been no clinical studies demonstrating such an effect in humans," she says.

Who should avoid gold as an ingredient?

Anyone with sensitive skin or a gold or metal allergy should avoid using gold skin care products, which the dermatologists warn can be very common. “It may be irritating in large doses or trigger a potential allergic contact dermatitis in some individuals. Whenever using a gold-containing product, it is best to perform a patch test first to ensure no reaction,” says Garshick.

That’s because this ingredient works as a gentle exfoliant, similar to a BHA/AHA/PHA, which can cause potential irritation and make the skin sensitive, Song adds.

How do you use gold in your skin care routine?

Whether you noticed those best-selling eye masks on Amazon or splurge-worthy serums, gold can easily be incorporated into your routine. Song says the easiest way to add it to your regimen is by using a gold-infused face or eye mask once a week, or you can use it daily in a cream or serum form.

And dermatologists agree that it also can work well with other hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, ceramides and peptides. But they warn to avoid pairing it with potentially irritating ingredients, including acids, benzoyl peroxide or retinol.

Song does note that this ingredient shouldn't be a replacement for other ingredients in your routine. "Gold does not replace the tried and true antioxidants such as vitamin C, ferulic acid, [and] resveratrol. It should be incorporated as an additional step if desired," she says.

If you're looking to add a bit of luxury to your routine, or perhaps looking for a gift to pamper your skin care-loving friend, our experts shared a few favorite gold beauty products that are worth splurging on.

Best gold-infused skin care products

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Hydra-Gel Eye Patches

When you think of gold eye patches, this option by Peter Thomas Roth might immediately come to mind, the brand tends to go viral on TikTok. Song says they can be a luxurious and glamorous addition to your skin regimen and especially likes that they contain caffeine to help de-puff the eyes.

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask

If you're looking to pamper yourself, the brand says this 24 karat gold mask is best used two to three times a week for healthier and revitalized-looking skin.

"This mask contains both 24K gold and colloidal gold and works to lift and firm. It also contains caffeine to tighten the appearance of the skin as well as hyaluronic acid and glycerin to boost moisture and nourish the skin," Garshick says."

Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil

According to the brand, this oil can be used on most types of skin and is formulated with camellia, which is an ancient Japanese ingredient used by women for over 2,000 years, says the brand.

Garshick likes this oil because she says it can be used on the face, body and hair. "It works to moisturize and protect the skin and also incorporates the Hadasei-3 which helps improve skin signs of aging. It also incorporates crushed 23 karat gold flakes to leave the skin radiant," she says.

More gold skin care to shop

Dermora 24K Gold Eye Mask

If you're looking for a more affordable option but still want to add a little luxury while enjoying the anti-aging benefits, these eye patches have over 22,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. The brand says they can help reduce puffiness, smooth fine lines and more.

Partnerships editorial assistant Lauren Biggerstaff loves them, too. "I use them all the time! I really like how cooling they feel, especially during those heat waves we had this summer. I like to put them on while I do my nails for a little DIY spa day," she says.

ZPM 24K Advanced Gold Serum

This serum is infused with tiny gold foils that the brand says can help remove skin impurities, treat acne and improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It even includes other skin-loving ingredients such as vitamins E and C and hyaluronic acid.

Physicians Formula 24-Karat Gold Collagen Serum

According to the brand, this 24 karat gold serum can be used daily and is said to boost collagen production for brighter and more youthful-looking skin. One reviewer called it liquid gold, "Since I've been using it my expression lines have gotten smaller and the texture on my face has gone away my skin looks better than it ever has."

111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask

You can try using gold in sheet mask form with this option by 111Skin. According to the brand, the mask is a cooling hydrogel material that's made with colloidal gold, peptides and rose damask. You can expect hydrated skin and a radiant glow, says the brand.

Meet our experts