La prairie platinum: the most over-priced skin cream in the world

Kristen’s curious: I just read about La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare. It is currently the most expensive skin cream on the planet at $1,000 for 1.5 ounces and is infused with Platinum. So Beauty Brains- what’s the REAL deal with this face cream?

The Right Brain responds:

The real deal is that La Prairie’s tiny, $1,000 jar of skin cream is worth every penny! Yeah, right.

Medicinal Platinum

Platinum is a precious, gray-white transition metal used in jewelry, dentistry, automobile emissions control devices and, apparently, La Prairie skin creams. Does platinum have ANY beneficial healing properties whatsoever? Yes, as a matter of fact it does. Complexes made with platinum, like cisplatin, are well known cancer treatments and somewhat less well known for their ability to treat skin diseases that involve accelerated cell growth. Some studies even indicate that platinum complexes can be helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis and certain allergic diseases. So in a medical context, platinum is a powerful ally in the fight against disease.

Pretty Platinum

So does this magic metal do anything in cosmetics? We tried to find out what La Prairie had to say about their Cellular Cream Platinum Rare, but their website is woefully lacking in specific information. Here’s what they have to say:

The most precious metal on earth now empowers your most precious asset: your skin. Modern science has shown platinum to be not only one of the rarest elements on earth, but most astonishing in its abilities: impervious to time, incapable of being oxidized by air, so precious, all of it that has ever been mined could fit in a single room.

When La Prairie scientists discovered that platinum had the incredible ability to bond with human skin, they knew the implications were tremendous. La Prairie’s distillation of the rarefied powers and pleasures of platinum into an extravagant anti-aging masterpiece is the most exciting advance in skin science of this decade. The result is Cellular Cream Platinum Rare, a skin-transforming formula that recharges the skin’s electrical balance with pure platinum to ensure ageless performance, protects the skin’s DNA, and replenishes moisture continuously for a look of soft splendor.

This is pure science at its best, offering unparalleled benefits; quite simply, the skin looks, feels and moves like younger skin.

While we don’t doubt that this cream can “replenish moisture” we’re very skeptical about the rest of their claims. Especially since we could find no reference in the technical literature to cosmetic benefits from topical application of platinum. Aside from the the medical applications mentioned above, all we could find was an article in W magazine written by Jane Larkworthy that featured several quotes by Jacqueline Hill, the chemist who worked on this product. According to Ms. Hill “The skin has an ionic buffer zone that holds in moisture while protecting against free radicals and other damaging forces…. When the balance between negative and positive is out of whack due to exposure to pollution, sun damage or stress, the buffer can’t do its job properly, leaving skin both dry and more vulnerable. Platinum re-established a good electrolyte balance, improving moisturization and helping protect the skin.”

We don’t doubt that the Platinum product can improve the moisture level of skin (since ANY skin cream will do that). But we’re disappointed by the lack of evidence that platinum metal can have this effect. And we’re not the only ones who aren’t convinced that platinum is worth a pretty penny when it comes to skin care. Ms Larkworthy also quotes New York dermatologist David Colbert who says “Although some precious metals are used in medicine as anti-inflammatories, they require large amounts to be effective, platinum is a very stable precious metal that can act as an antioxidant, but its use in a skin cream in nano amounts is unlikely to exert any visible effect on skin.” Requires large amounts, eh? Well since platinum currently costs about $1,500 per ounce La Prairie should raise their prices!

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Color us skeptical on this one – if La Prairie had really developed such an incredible breakthrough we’d expect to see some discussion in the technical literature on platinum. At the very least we’d expect evidence of patents in this space. Without any kind of evidence we’ll pass on La Prairie Platinum but, as always, we would be happy to review any technical literature that La Prairie would care to share with us on their behalf. Widgets


“W” magazine article by Jane Larkworthy

The effect of platinum complexes on human skin cells in vivo and in vitro. Author: Featherstone, J : Dykes, P J : Marks, R Citation: Skin-Pharmacol. 1991; 4(3): 169-74