Facials using products that are traditionally eaten and drunk are one thing; so are facials using oxygen. Even gemstone facials have their roots in ancient practices. So what could be behind the idea of using gold in facials? Although gold has been used in food and medicine for years, it was traditionally because of what gold represented. The thought was that something so rare and expensive had to be good for you. Gold has since found more practical uses in biochemical research, medicine and dentistry, but the idea of using it on the face has been purely decorative until now.
A Japanese company called UMO claims to be the originator of the 24-karat gold facial. According to the company's Web site, "gold has not been commonly used for modern day skin treatments because it is very difficult to dissolve and penetrate the skin," but UMO has developed a way to "harness the power of gold and all its benefits" [source: UMO]. The 24-karat gold facial is supposed to reduce the appearance of age spots and wrinkles as well as firm the skin. UMO's version uses Gamma PGA, a soybean-derived hydrating compound, and a special mist delivery system.
Spas around the world offer UMO's 24-karat gold facial, including the Nidah Spa at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, N.M. A single treatment will set you back $500. Other spas offer different gold facials, or you can attempt to harness the powers of gold yourself by buying facial products containing gold dust.
Perhaps next time you want a facial, you'll branch out and try one of the unusual spa facials we've mentioned here. Just remember that the spas offering them can't make any scientific claims about their benefits. The bottom line is how you think that you look and feel afterward.