Colouring Agent/Pigment

No known benefits

Gold at a glance

  • Metallic element whose skin care benefits remain unproven
  • Potential source of skin irritation
  • Also goes by the INCI Name CI 77480 as a colorant
  • Although related to colloidal gold, the two differ greatly in their cosmetic functions

Gold description

Common sensitizer that can induce negative responses on skin, especially on the face and eyelids. Claims of gold helping to create electric charges in skin to trigger improvement in signs of ageing are completely unproven. Another form of gold used in skincare products is “colloidal gold,” which means that the gold particles have been nanosized (usually to 1-15 nanometers) so that it remains dispersed evenly throughout a solution. Although gold is a heavy metal, and heavy metals are subject to regulations, colloidal gold preparations are not regulated, so the risks are unknown. Initial research shows that it is fairly safe. Colloidal gold also is used in the world of medicine, where there is a minor amount of research that it might have benefit because of assumed skin-soothing properties. Most of that research, however, is either very old or was performed on only a very small group of people, not enough to prove efficacy. Even if gold were a good skin-soothing agent, its effects have never been compared with the effects of the numerous potent and stable skin-soothing ingredients that are commonly used in skincare products and that have a great deal of research proving their benefit and safety. What is for certain: There is no published research proving that gold, normal or colloidal in size, has any anti-ageing benefits.

Gold references

  • Personal Care Products Council, Accessed August 2023, ePublication
  • Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, November 2018, pages 119-128
  • Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2011, pages 1,184-1,188
  • Dermatology Nursing, July-Aug. 2010, ePublication
  • American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, March 2001, pages 3-5

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.