Spa strikes gold with the anti-ageing 24-carat facialLast updated at 08:39am on 28th March 2008
For Goldfinger's Jill Masterson, being slathered in gold didn't end too well.
But a beauty company has promised that the precious metal has many benefits, leaving customers looking younger and banishing
A gold-leaf facial is the latest beauty craze among ladies of a certain age.
The Luxe 24 Karat Gold Facial uses the highest grade of gold leaf in an 80-minute procedure which costs £180. The flakes
of gold leaf are laid on the face, before being massaged in.
UMO - the company behind the facial - claimed that the procedure will result in firmer, brighter and more supple skin.
The treatment's use of the metal follows a strong historical tradition. It is said that Cleopatra slept in a gold mask
every night, and Chinese empresses supposedly used gold rollers to massage their faces.
However, the precious metal has not been commonly used for modern day treatments because it is very difficult to make it
penetrate the skin.
UMO claims that it has developed technology which allows staff at the Charleston Place spa in South Carolina, where the
24-carat facial is offered, to overcome this problem.
It is following a trend for ever more luxurious beauty treatments, such as using caviar as a conditioner on the hair. Sturgeon
eggs are also used in La Prairie's products, whose fans in Hollywood include Angelina Jolie, and facials which use diamonds
and pearls are also available.
But the supposed beautifying properties of gold would be no consolation to Miss Masterson, who betrayed her boss Auric
Goldfinger to help superspy James Bond.
As a punishment, she was killed by being painted gold, and the image of her metallic body sprawled on the bed achieved
Her supposed cause of death in the 1964 film was "skin suffocation", which scientists say is a medical impossibility. It
was thought at the time that the skin "breathed" through the pores.
In fact, the main drawback to being painted gold is the risk of overheating - and perhaps the possibility of being mistaken
for Paris Hilton in the latest Rich Prosecco advert.
The facial is not yet available in Britain but is proving a hit across the Atlantic.
Ron Razeggi, U.S. chief operating officer of the manufacturer, UMO, said: "The skin tries to reject the gold because it's
a foreign object. In order to do that, it builds new cells.
"Right now, the body produces new cells every 28 days. But this accelerates the cell-building and, as a result, it firms
and tightens the skin."