People have been concocting skincare remedies at home since the beginning of time. From dabbing toothpaste over blemishes to making an egg white mask to tighten pores, there are any number of popular DIY recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation (or found on Pinterest boards and beauty blogs everywhere).
We were curious about egg white masks ourselves after hearing a friend gush about them over dinner recently, so we put in a call to Michelle Henry, M.D. and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College Laser & Skin Surgery of New York to answer a few questions about where this particular idea may have come from, and whether or not it’s actually safe.
What's the deal with egg whites?
“Egg whites are made up of water, lysozyme and roughly 10 percent protein,” explains Henry. “Some of the purported benefits are that egg whites can help with hydrating your skin because they function as a humectant (which is an ingredient that binds water to your skin). They may also help to reduce breakouts because lysozyme is somewhat antiseptic and impedes acne-causing bacteria from entering our bodies.”
Is it safe to put egg whites on your face?
The main concern with putting egg whites in close proximity to our eyes, nose and mouth is that you have to be careful with the eggs themselves because—though rare—they can sometimes contain salmonella. To which Henry says, “if you must put egg whites on your face, make sure you know where they’re coming from.”
The other precaution to consider is the potential risk for an allergic reaction—especially if you have any infants or young children in your household. (Sensitivities to chicken eggs are more common than you think, and are in fact the second most prevalent allergy in children, next to cow’s milk.)
A final note of caution: As with any new ingredient or product, you want to make sure you do a patch test before going all in. You can do this by applying a small amount of egg white under your chin or behind your ear (i.e., a less visible area) and waiting 10 to 15 minutes. Look out for any redness, itching or swelling, which can indicate an allergy, before rinsing it off. If your skin doesn’t have any reaction, you may proceed.
A Simple DIY Egg White Face Mask Recipe:
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp avocado
- 1/4 tsp plain yogurt
- Blend the honey, avocado and yogurt together until smooth; place in a small bowl.
- Crack open the egg and carefully separate the yolk from the white. Once the two are separated, mix the whites into a frothy foam.
- Measure out two teaspoons of the frothy whites and place them into another bowl.
- Add the mixture of honey, avocado and yogurt to the whipped egg whites to create your mask.
- After cleansing, spread the concoction evenly over the skin.
- Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and moisturize as usual.
And if that all sounds like too much hassle (or you're still a bit nervous about the possible salmonella), these four products contain the extracts of egg whites (and the yolks!) to deliver the skincare benefits without any mess.
Here are some of our favorite products with egg whites:
1. Too Cool for School Egg Cream Mask ($6) which is a super soft microfiber sheet mask that’s drenched in egg extracts and coconut water to perk up and hydrate dull, dry skin.
2. Mizon Egg White Bubble Cleanser ($23) uses a potent combo of egg whites, alpha hydroxy acids and exfoliating enzymes to wash off every last speck of makeup and trace of grime that’s accumulated on your face throughout the day. The foam is dense and velvety, and our skin never feels tight or dry afterward.
3. Holika Holika Smooth Egg Skin Peeling Gel ($11) is a gentle weekly exfoliant that removes dead skin cells and excess sebum without causing any irritation. We love the egg-shaped packaging almost as much as it makes our faces feel after every use: petal soft.
4. Too Cool for School Egg Mousse Body Oil ($25) is a staple in our winter skin-care routine. It has the most magical texture (somewhere between a soufflé and a mousse) and it sinks in quickly leaving behind a radiant sheen on our limbs (and no greasy residue).