Egg Based Skin Care

Eggs are inextricably bound with Easter (not to mention breakfast!) but eggs and skin care?

Eggs have been touted as a super food, and they do indeed contain many vitamins, amino acids and minerals that support skin health. Eggs are known for their high protein content, an amino acid essential for collagen production and maintaining skin elasticity. Eggs also contain vitamins A and E, both fundamental to fighting free radicals and keeping the skin healthy and strong. Essential fatty acids are also part of the egg appeal, which keep the top outer layer of the skin supple and intact while bolstering its moisture barrier.

Before commercially manufactured cleansers and moisturizers were available, eggs were used for various skin care purposes: in China in the late 600’s, egg whites and cinnabar (a toxic mercury sulfide mineral) were mixed as a face treatment. Later, in Renaissance Italy, egg whites were mixed with bread crumbs and vinegar for softening the skin. Egg whites were also used as a finishing touch to give the skin a luminous sheen.

Today, egg whites are still popular for DIY face masks. Whipped up either alone or with the addition of lemon juice or honey, they are used mainly to purportedly tighten the skin and treat acne. While it is true that egg whites have astringent properties, the tightening sensation is temporary and wears off soon after the mask is washed away.

Although we aren’t proponents of applying raw eggs to the skin (there is a small but real chance of salmonella if accidentally ingested), we have been noticing that eggs have been gaining a bit of attention in the skin care world. A few brands have begun to feature egg whites, egg yolks and even egg shell membrane extract in their preparations. From cleansers to masks, creams and serums, eggs are touted as the next big thing for the skin.

Cute packaging aside, the few egg-based skin care products we looked into seem to feature some form of egg further down the ingredient list. One product had it listed in the 19th spot. It’s always supported by other more traditional skin care ingredients like AHA’s, fruit extracts, retinol and surfactants for cleansing, exfoliating and minimizing fine lines, but that just makes me wonder if the inclusion of eggs is more a fad than a fact?

We prefer to consume eggs as a good source of protein in a healthy diet, which will, in turn, benefit our skin from the inside out. However, if the lure of using eggs for DIY beauty is just too strong for you to resist, maybe start with a deep hair conditioner of one whipped egg plus 1 Tbs. olive oil. Coat hair, cover with a shower cap for 20 minutes and then rinse off with cool water. After all, you don’t want the egg scrambled.