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Friday, October 07, 2016

We bet you’ve spotted several brands bragging about their beauty products that contain precious metals, but how effective are they really? Purva Indulkar clears up the confusion

Cue the drum roll. Here’s another beauty trend that has everyone intrigued, from your “neighbourhood aunty” to Bollywood celebrities. We’re talking about precious metals in, and expensive additions to, your beauty products. And, while gold and silver have appeared in our shampoos and digestives before, this time even fancier picks such as platinum and diamonds are thrown into the mix. But, is it just a marketing gimmick? Dr. Soma Sarkar, dermatologist at About Face, tells us why precious metals are the latest buzz, saying, “Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum are added to stabilise beauty creams, but they also act as enhancers for other agents such as peptides and enzymes in the product. Metals can be used for their anti-ageing properties and can be infused in under-eye creams and facials.”

Wondering why more and more beauty brands are turning to precious metals to give their products an edge? Dr. Apratim Goel, cosmetic dermatologist and laser surgeon from Cutis Skin Studio, tells us about the most popular picks and their beauty benefits and explains how some of these metals are infused in beauty products.

Pretty in platinum
Platinum has antioxidant properties. It reduces inflammation and skin damage caused by free radicals. It protects the outer layers of your skin, which results in a healthier and glowing complexion. Platinum also improves hydration and makes your skin more receptive to nutrients. Pure platinum is coated with white gold using plasma colloid technology and blasted into skin serums. This infuses fine platinum particles into the beauty product.

Going gold
Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, gold has been used for centuries to treat ailments such as arthritis and skin diseases. In more recent times, it’s been seen in skincare products such as face serums, creams, oils, and cleansers. By reducing skin inflammation, it also helps to slow down premature ageing and wrinkles. To infuse products with metallic gold, nanoparticles of 24-karat gold are bound to silk microfibres, which are made of a natural protein that has moisturising, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Diva in diamonds
Diamond exfoliation is currently one of the most popular cosmetic treatments. It is believed that skincare products containing extra-fine diamond powder gently exfoliate the skin, allowing the vitamins, moisturisers and botanicals in skincare products to penetrate deeper and be more effective.

Cool in copper
This metal is an integral part of any healthy skincare routine and it plays a role in the formation of elastin and collagen — the building blocks of our skin. For years it has been used in the form of gels by doctors to heal and care for wounds because it kills bacteria and viruses, and helps with fungal infections. But, it’s starting to show promise as an anti-ageing ingredient as well, which is why you find it in lotions, creams and serums.

Stunning in silver
Silver is not as popular as other precious metals, but it is an excellent skincare ingredient with many benefits. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. This is why it’s used in creams and lotions that help clear up acne or soothe the skin after extraction-heavy facials or waxing. Silver also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which is why it is infused in deodorants and bandages.

Dr. Apratim tells us that in the skincare realm, nano-platinum skin care is the new fad — beauty products made using plasma technology and which contain platinum and liquid gold! These are made by blasting a platinum wire with white gold using plasma colloid technology. Then the serum is mixed with this platinum mist. It is claimed that this helps your skin detox and gives it an instant glow. This technology can be used to enhance any serum, and currently in India, it is only available at Cutis Skin Studio in Mumbai.

Creams and serums laced with precious metals such as platinum, gold, diamond, silver and copper have been doing the rounds of high-end cosmetic skincare brands. However, you should be aware of the dangers of using such products. Dr. Apratim tells us that some serious side-effects include contact dermatitis, lupus-like skin reactions and photosensitization caused due to inclusion of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and copper. She says, “With all the glamour surrounding the new trend, it is hard to distinguish between the products that are gimmicky and those that can give you the kind of skin you crave. With the anti-chemical rage, more consumers are looking at organic, natural or elemental ingredients in their skincare products. Gold, silver, platinum and copper do have benefits when added to skincare products, but they also command a very high price.”

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