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When a serum is $580.00 retail, it raises eyebrows. But when a serum is $580.00 and has been on the best-seller list at Saks Fifth Avenue for weeks, it inspires a review.
La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold ($550.00, Amazon.com) is a serum that contains peptides and – get this – 24 karat gold particles suspended in a colloidal gel. The purpose of both the peptides and the 24 karat gold is claimed to be “to help prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin and improve elasticity and firmness.” But does it work?
Gold: Looks Good, Makes You Feel Better?
According to a historical review, gold therapy has been a component of the physicians stock in trade since the earliest days of civilization. Its efficacy in treating rheumatoid arthritis inspired the development of auranofin, an arthritis drug with an improved pharmacokinetic profile and decreased toxicity. Gold has also been developed in various complexes to have anti-tumor properties that may be of use in future anti-cancer therapies, as suggested in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
In skin care, gold complexes could have two effects:
- Gold interacts with thiol groups on proteins that are responsible for regulating the transcription of cytokines involved in inflammation. This means that gold may inhibit inflammation in the skin.
- Gold has also been found to inhibit the breakdown of collagen by reacting with thiol groups in matrix metalloproteinases, according to a 1987 study.
However, the gold particles in La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold are unlikely to have much effect. For one, the concentration of gold in the product is quite small, as you might imagine, even from a product with a $580 price tag. Second, the gold particles themselves are not micronized or packaged for delivery across the stratum corneum; rather, they are suspended in a colloidal gel, in which they glisten and reflect the light. Which is a rather nice cosmetic effect, but it is not likely to be stimulating collagen and elastin in life-altering amounts.
Other Ingredients = Superb
The other ingredients in La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold include lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid, panax ginseng root extract, equisetum arvense horsetail extract, ascorbyl glucoside (vitamin C), phyllanthus emblica fruit extract, pisum sativum and arginine. It is likely that most of the increased brightness customers report after using the product come from the combination of the AHAs (lactic acid, glycolic acid, and malic acid). According to renowned dermatologist Dr. David E. Bank, author of Beautiful Skin, alpha hydroxy acids have been found to cause increase exfoliation, unclog pores, hydrate the skin, and stimulate collagen and elastin production in the dermis.
However, it has been noted in a study by Yu et. al that using other ingredients together with AHAs may cause irritation. Given the mix of ingredients in La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold, it is unlikely that patients with sensitive skin would handle this formulation very well. As always, ask your dermatologist first.
Bottom Line: Keep the Gold in Your Jewelry for Now
La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold is likely to give your skin increased brightness from its inclusion of three potent AHAs: lactic acid, glycolic acid, and malic acid. It is also silicone-based, so it may temporarily fill in surface lines and wrinkles, and the gold therein will catch the light, causing the skin to appear smoother.
Unfortunately, I can’t justify recommending to my readers that they spend $580 – even if they can afford it – for this serum. For one, there are numerous other AHA-based products out there with even greater concentrations, such as the new Brazilian peel ($78.00, Amazon.com) with 30% glycolic acid, and the reformulated Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength ($79.00, Amazon.com), with glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid — just like La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold, but for a fraction of the price.
And if, say, reducing the appearance of wrinkles is your primary concern, there are numerous treatments that are available from your dermatologist’s office for less than $580 that will last much longer, such as Botox (approximately six months), Restylane (approximately six months), and CO2 laser resurfacing treatments (these will typically require 4-6 visits to achieve lasting results; duration of results may vary).
Don’t get me wrong – I love luxury just as much as the next girl. But, as much as I like some of the items from La Prairie, I simply can’t justify recommending that you spend more than the price of one Louboutin on La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold. Sorry. If you’re really looking to treat yourself, check out this post on Luxury Items that are Worth It – I think you’ll find a little somethin’ somethin’ to boost your spirits and your skin!
Product Rating: 6/10 (High concentration of effective ingredients: 3/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value for the money: 0/3. Sunscreen: 0/1).