The standard by which worth is often measured, gold continues to shine on treatment menus thanks to its luxury appeal. BY HEATHER MIKESELL
WHEN MARIE PARODI, DIRECTOR OF SPA & FITNESS AT THE Spa at JW Chicago wanted to entice guests with a series of lavish services, she turned to gold, one of the most decadent ingredients in skincare. The spa’s 24K Gold Luxe Package ($775, 4 hours), featuring a 24K Gold Body Envelopment with Scalp Massage, a 24K Gold Signature Luxe Massage, and a 24K Gold Collagen Facial, has proven to be a real crowd-pleaser, as has each of the individual gold treatments, which can be booked a la carte. “Our intention was to create a package that truly emanated luxury while providing optimal results,” says Parodi. As a result, gold was a natural choice. It has long been a valuable ingredient in the beauty industry. While there are few studies on its cosmetic use, that hasn’t stopped industry insiders from singing its praises.
THE MIDAS touch
Gold injections were once commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although they’ve become less common today as new drugs have proven more effective, some still subscribe to the benefits that made gold one of the original RA treatments. “The same anti-inflammatory agents used to treat arthritis can prevent inflammation in the skin, and therefore, minimize the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which causes wrinkles and loss of firmness,” says Lejla Cas, cofounder of Knesko Skin. And that’s just for starters. “It also aids in speeding up the healing process,” says Metaxia Dalikas, owner and board member of Lira Clinical. “Limiting skin’s inflammation is vital in addressing many skin conditions, including premature aging, pigment prevention, and inflammation caused by acne breakouts.” Others, like Nick Irani, director of operations and brand development for Subtle Energies, cites gold’s ability to rejuvenate the skin, increase cell renewal rate, and boost cellular energy. At Premier57 (New York City), spa-goers can even take advantage of a sauna made of real gold. According to general manager Ellis Kim, the response has been great. “Some of the benefits from the gold sauna include its ability to improve mental sharpness and concentration through increasing the conductivity between nerve endings,” says Kim. In addition to treating RA and other autoimmune diseases, gold is also reputed to rejuvenate and brighten the complexion. Of course, with limited studies, it’s difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. One undisputed benefit, however, is the fact that gold generally leaves spa-goers feeling like royalty.