Chantecaille's Nano Gold Energizing Cream recently launched with a price tag guaranteed to ensure a waiting list: $420.

The key ingredients - gold and silk - are delivered as nanoparticles so minute that they penetrate deep into the skin. Even if they do, are they likely to do any good?

This is not the first cosmetic to incorporate gold. There are several on the market, such as Shahnaz Husain. Gold is used in medicine, particularly during operations. Radioactive gold nanoparticles are used to help cure ailments such as rheumatism.

What is it about gold that makes it so valuable in modern medicine? First, it is very safe to use. It is biologically benign. It does not corrode. It is unaffected by moisture, oxygen or ordinary acids. only salts and radioisotopes of gold are of pharmacological value, as elemental (metallic) gold is inert to all chemicals it encounters inside the body, according to Wikipedia.

Now those would seem to be fairly good reasons why gold is unlikely to be absorbed by the skin and actually do anything useful, such as reduce the odd wrinkle.

Silk seems to be a somewhat better bet.

Sericin Q is a silk protein that binds with other proteins.Therefore, it is said that it can bind with keratin to protect hair and skin.

One study measured the moisture content of the skin after using sericin. Six adults had their forearms tested and found after one hour that moisture content had increased by 10% (two hours later this had reduced to 5%). A study at the University of Thailand conducted on wounded rats using 8% sericin cream revealed complete healing, no ulceration, and an increase in collagen.

So far, no one seems to have tried it out on sow's ears.