If you've researched natural and DIY beauty products, you've no doubt heard that eggs make great skin-care products. There is a wealth of advice recommending egg masks and skin treatments, including celebrity recommendations and ancient Chinese wisdom. However, it can be hard to find information on exactly how eggs improve your skin. As it turns out, eggs' skin-care benefit is limited but possibly legitimate. Here's the plain truth about eggs and your skin.
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Eggs have been used as beauty products for millennia. CosmeticsInfo.org states that Chinese people began using egg to create fingernail polish as early as 3000 B.C. The All-China Women's Federation tells of Zhang Lihua, a renowned beauty who lived around 600 B.C. and used a facial cream made from egg white and powdered vermilion. In about 1300 A.D., according to CosmeticsInfo, women in England began applying egg white to make their skin look lighter.
A 2008 article in Planet Green recommends applying egg white as a facial mask for acne. According to the author, egg white "works like crazy" to firm skin, reduce redness and inflammation, and stop breakouts. Planet Green is not alone: Such advice abounds. CareFair.com lists several egg-based home beauty recipes, saying that egg whites and yolks work to narrow pores and tighten the skin. Neither of these sources, nor many other home-beauty articles touting the benefits of egg masks, explain just how this actually works.
The bloggers at TheBeautyBrains.com, who claim to be cosmetic scientists writing under pseudonyms, have tackled the egg beauty claims head-on. In a 2007 article, they explain that egg white, or albumen, is a liquid consisting of about 15 percent protein and 85 percent water. When you apply albumen to your face, the water evaporates and the proteins change their texture, forming a film. This makes your skin feel tight. As they describe it, it's "like putting a coat of paint on your face and letting it dry."
The tightening sensation is what may lead you to believe that an egg mask is firming your skin. The reader who originally asked the Beauty Brains about egg whites reported that it felt "like I imagine Botox feels." In addition, CareFair.com states, albumen contained in eggs has a drying effect on skin that may make it feel temporarily cleaner. However, according to the Beauty Brains, as soon as you wash away the egg, the tightening film is gone, leaving you with dry skin.
Useful Egg-Based Skin Treatments
Still, eggs can be useful for your skin. CareFair.com recommends whipping an egg white until it is foamy, then applying a thin film under the eyes to firm eye bags and wrinkles and give yourself a temporary "eye lift." Apply makeup over the film once it has dried; it should last a few hours. Eggs can also be used as a liquid base for other masks, salves and treatments; mix ingredients such as bananas, oatmeal, honey or vinegar, adding egg to improve the mixture's texture or, if desired, to temporarily tighten and dry oily skin.