Eggs are a staple ingredient in numerous recipes, from omelets to cakes to stir fry dishes. But did you know that egg whites may also offer several skin benefits?
A DIY egg white face mask is touted to tighten and tone your skin, reduce excess oil, and even provide anti-aging benefits. To determine if these claims are true, we’re going over exactly what’s in an egg white and how this DIY mask may benefit your skin.
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Do You Know What Egg Whites Actually Are?
As you probably already know, there are two parts of an egg: the egg white and the yolk. The egg white, also called albumen or glair/glaire, is the clear liquid inside the egg. In chickens, the egg white is formed around both fertilized and unfertilized egg yolks and has an important job of protecting the yolk. Furthermore, the egg white provides proper nutrition for the growth of the embryo once fertilized.
The egg white mostly consists of water (about 90%) into which about 10% proteins are dissolved. The types of proteins found in egg white include albumins, mucoproteins, and globulins. The main protein in egg white is called ovalbumin, which makes up approximately 55% of the total protein. Unlike the yolk, which is high in lipids (fats), egg white contains almost no fat, and less than 1% carbohydrate content.
Egg white face mask benefits
A DIY egg white face mask is claimed to help with multiple skin conditions, such as acne, scarring, dark spots, dry skin, oily skin, and signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles, etc.). It is also said that you can use an egg white face mask for glowing skin. That’s a pretty impressive list of benefits! But are these claims true? To determine the validity of these claims, we must evaluate how each of the components in an egg white affects the skin.
Boost skin hydration
One of the benefits of an egg white face mask is its ability to increase skin hydration. The proteins in an egg white face mask may function as humectants. A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water-loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2). Ovalbumin contains both OH and NH2 groups in its chemical structure, as do many of the other proteins found in the egg white. The OH and NH groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin. Humectants slow water from evaporating and therefore keep the skin hydrated.
Temporarily plump skin
Since the proteins in an egg white face mask can help to bind moisture to the skin, they may also lead to temporary anti-aging benefits. This is because the extra hydration is extra volume, which effectively plumps out the skin and makes lines and wrinkles less noticeable. However, this effect is transient – as soon as the moisture content in skin decreases, lines and wrinkles will return to normal size. Due to this, an egg white face mask can be used to provide a temporary skin-tightening effect.
Destroy acne-causing bacteria
Another egg white face mask benefit is its antibacterial activity due to the protein lysozyme. Lysozyme has the ability to lyse (break down) the wall of certain Gram-positive bacteria. Propionibacterium acnes is the Gram-positive bacteria that causes acne. Specifically, blemishes form when pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Then, P. acnes accumulates and the pore becomes inflamed, thus leading to pimple formation. Since the lysozyme protein in egg white can destroy P. acnes, an egg white face mask could help to prevent the formation of blemishes. An egg white face mask can also help to absorb excess oil from the skin, which further helps to reduce the chances of pores becoming clogged.
False Claims About DIY Egg White Face Masks
Since this post is giving you the truth about egg white face masks, we also want to share with you some claims about egg whites that are simply not true. For instance, numerous beauty blogs claim that egg whites are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals that can benefit the skin’s overall appearance. However, egg whites are primarily composed of water and contain few nutrients other than protein.
Another purported benefit of an egg white face mask is that the egg white will help “shrink” or “tighten” pores. However, this is not possible because pores do not have muscles around their opening to allow them to open and close. Like we said above, an egg white face mask can help to temporarily tighten and plump the skin, however, it won’t do much for your pores.
What You MUST Know Before Trying An Egg White Face Mask
Since eggs are a very common food item, you might assume that using an egg white face mask is pretty safe. However, there are several things you must know before trying an egg white face mask. Before you crack that egg, read these tips to ensure your safety.
Remember when you were younger and you wanted to lick the bowl after making a cake recipe, but your parents always said no? Well, this was for good reason: the raw eggs used in that recipe could have contained a type of pathogenic bacteria called Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. The same thing goes for DIY egg white face mask recipes. If you apply the raw egg white to your face and accidentally ingest it, there’s a possibility you could contract food poisoning.
The next thing you must know before trying an egg white face mask is that not all DIY egg white face mask recipes are the same, and some could even be harmful to your skin! For example, it is commonly recommended to mix lemon juice into your egg white face mask. Lemon juice is claimed to be a natural option for brightening the skin. However, there is no research demonstrating that lemon juice has a positive effect on brightening an uneven skin tone. Plus, lemon juice is highly acidic, with a very low pH that’s quite sensitizing to skin. Lemon juice is also known to cause photosensitivity (reaction causing redness and inflammation on patches of sun-exposed skin) due to the volatile fragrance chemical limonene, which is abundant in lemon juice.
Another popular ingredient that is suggested to be used in a DIY egg white face mask recipe is baking soda. Baking soda is claimed to be a “natural deep cleanser and oil remover”. While baking soda is abrasive and will exfoliate the skin, skincare experts consider it to be too harsh. Plus, baking soda has a high pH of 9, which is typically too alkaline for skin to tolerate since the skin’s normal pH is about 4.5 to 5.
DIY Egg White Face Mask Recipes
A simple DIY egg white face mask recipe starts with separating the yolk from the egg white. Once the egg components are separated, mix the egg whites into a frothy foam. After cleansing your face, spread the egg whites over the skin of the face evenly. Leave the egg white face mask on for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water and apply your normal moisturizer. It is typically recommended to use an egg white face mask once per week; however, you may adjust the frequency according to how your skin reacts to the mask.
There are also DIY egg white face mask recipes that include additional ingredients. However, as we mentioned above, it’s important to avoid adding in ingredients that will do more harm than good, such as lemon juice and baking soda. You can either try just a simple egg white face mask with only frothed egg white, or you could add in ingredients like honey, plain yogurt, coconut oil, almond oil, or avocado, which are beneficial to the skin. Plus, many of these foods are probably readily available in your kitchen so that you can easily whip up a DIY egg white face mask.
Final Thoughts On DIY Egg White Face Masks
As you can see, egg white contains beneficial proteins that can increase skin hydration, destroy the bacteria that causes acne, and provide temporary anti-aging benefits, such as tightening the skin and plumping fine lines and wrinkles. While an egg white face mask may provide some benefits to your skin, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to get the same benefits of using a professionally formulated skincare product.
Our final thoughts are that while a DIY egg white face mask is an at-home and cost-effective skin treatment, you are going to see much better results by using an actual skincare product, such as a cream or serum, that is designed to specifically target your skin concerns.
References: Wikipedia “Egg white”, Medical News Today “Are egg white face masks good for your skin?” Nov 2018, DrAxe.com “Egg White Nutrition Benefits the Skin, Heart, Muscles & More” Sep 2018