The Victoria’s Secret fashion show is taping in Paris today, and if social media is any indication, the models have been working hard to look their best beforehand. One pre-show ritual in particular seems to be huge this year: gold face masks. Models like Irina Shayk, Alessandra Ambrosio, Elsa Hosk, Iza Goulart, and Sara Sampaio have appeared in Instagram photos wearing gold sheet masks on their faces.
According to “skin wellbeing expert” Mimi Luzon, who applied the masks for the models, the face masks are made of 24-karat gold. Luzon’s website lists the sheets for $300 for a three-pack, making these pretty masks pretty pricey.
While they look cool, Luzon’s product description says the sheet masks have a host of skin-boosting properties, including preventing wrinkles and giving skin “immediate lift and radiance.” The masks contain peptides that “reduce wrinkle depth” and “relax facial tension,” and they also treat redness and give skin an even tone and healthy glow, the site says.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen celebrities in gold face masks—Bar Refaeli and Jessica Alba have posted photos online of themselves using something similar. And it’s not just hype: New York City dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., author of Forget the Facelift, tells SELF there’s something to this. “Gold is anti-inflammatory,” she says. “Topically, if you use enough of it for long enough, you may have some benefit.”
Gold is often used for arthritis and blistering skin diseases due to its anti-inflammatory benefits, Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, tells SELF. “Gold is also anti-aging and has skin-brightening properties,” he says. “By reducing skin inflammation, it helps slow aging, minimize wrinkling, and brighten the skin tone.”
It can even help with breakouts, Gary Goldenberg, M.D., medical director of the Dermatology Faculty Practice at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. “The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of gold can improve skin appearance by decreasing acne and blemishes,” he says.
This treatment might seem made for Instagram, but it’s actually old-school. ”In the past, when we didn’t have other modern ingredients that could do the same thing, we had to rely on the elements,” Day says. If your bank account isn’t on board with the models’ gold face mask, there are cheaper options out there—but you don’t need gold to get great skin.
Day says products that contain vitamin C, niacinamide (a water-soluble vitamin), caffeine, and retinol can achieve the same effects for much less money. “These ingredients help stimulate production of skin cells and help your skin look even and toned in a more reliable way,” she says. Soy is also a good ingredient to look out for. “It also has anti-aging and skin-brightening properties and does much less damage to your pocketbook [than gold],” Zeichner says. To find products with these ingredients, you can simply check the label, but experts say brands like Aveeno, Roc, and Olay tend to contain them.
Ultimately, everyone’s skin is different. “The key is to find a product that works for you that contains enough of these agents to make a difference,” says Goldenberg. “Otherwise, you’re simply buying a product that has more than 99 percent moisturizer with very little of the other stuff—and likely paying a lot more for it.”
If you really want to try a gold face mask and your budget allows for it, experts say you’ll probably be fine to do so. Putting gold on your skin is generally seen as safe, but like with any other skin care ingredients, allergies can develop, Zeichner says. Just keep an eye out for any redness, itching, burning, or a rash. If that happens, Zeichner recommends washing off the mask immediately and seeing your dermatologist for an evaluation.
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