Is the secret to younger-looking skin as simple as slathering a beloved breakfast dish all over your face?
Sure, there's the beauty myth that using egg whites will shrink pores and tighten skin. But there's some truth behind that whole thing about eggs — and the world of skincare is taking note.
In late 2013, celebrity dermatologist Dr. Nicolas Perricone unveiled OVM, an anti-aging cream highlighting eggshell membrane, promising to deliver smoother, firmer skin. Perricone says this morning cream can improve skinâ€™s texture and possibly provide â€œthe appearance of (a) youthful cushion.â€
â€œThe egg has always been an interest of mine,â€ Perricone says on his site. â€œIn fact, the egg white portion of the egg is a key component of the metabolic diet system because it is highly nourishing, 100 percent absorbable by the body, and has complete amino acid profiles…I was inspired to do further research on the egg. I soon learned that the membrane that surrounds the developing embryo (the chick) possesses amazing qualities and nutrients.â€
â€œI hypothesized that its ability to nurture and sustain the rapidly growing embryo could also mean that it could be beneficial to the skin and the concept of OVM was born,â€ he adds. â€œ(The eggshell membrane) is the ideal substance to use in a skincare product because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also supplies nutrients and growth factors known to prevent and treat the aging process. OVM helps to reduce the appearance dry, fine lines, wrinkles, and pores.â€
For those stopping in their tracks at Perriconeâ€™s $165 price tag, there are other far less expensive options. Thereâ€™s also the petite size and more affordable egg white facial soap from Sweden that costs less than 10 dollars and claims to â€œdraw out impurities,â€ resulting in â€œglowing skinâ€ if used daily. Also featuring rose water and lanolin, it promises to soften skin and correct redness and dryness.
However, for those looking to turn back time, is it really an egg-cellent idea to look for skincare products featuring, well, eggs? Some experts say to think twice before buying into it.
â€œAlthough egg whites are an excellent source of protein in the diet, their use in skincare has been controversial for years,â€ says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC. â€œIn fact, some find those â€˜egg white facialsâ€™ can actually cause worsening of acne. Itâ€™s important to remember that just because something is â€˜naturalâ€™ doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s automatically good for the skin."
Tanzi says the products containing egg may moisturize but sheâ€™s â€œskeptical that they can reverse the signs of aging.â€
And as for applying it straight from the fridge? Donâ€™t even think about it, she insists.
â€œItâ€™s not a good idea because raw eggs can harbor bacteria, which can be detrimental to the skin,â€ she warns.
There's no scientific proof that eggs contribute to youthful skin.
â€œI canâ€™t say I am aware of any major studies in the literature exploring topical application of eggshell membrane on collagen formation or inflammation in the skin,â€ says Dr. Julia Tzu, clinical assistant professor of dermatology from New York University.
â€œThere really isnâ€™t much evidence-based medicine behind the topical application of (hen) eggs for skin rejuvenation,â€ Tzu says. â€œIt is possible that any benefit people experience with topical application of eggs, including yolk, could be theoretically traced to its vitamin A and sulfur content. Topical application of vitamin A is frequently used for its anti-aging and acne-reducing properties.â€
Tzu also states one could easily avoid an unwanted mess and consult a dermatologist instead, who can prescribe a product for your skin type featuring similar ingredients.
Another reason why some are skeptical of the claim? One expert points out that Perriconeâ€™s cream, in particular, include one other anti-aging ingredient.
â€œDr. Perriconeâ€™s cream also contains retinol, a proven vitamin A derivative called a retinoid, and a proprietary â€˜carryingâ€™ system that is likely the excellent moisturizing ingredients found in most anti-aging products,â€ says Dr. Jessica Krant, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. â€œIt's the moisturizers and retinoids that do most of the heavy lifting. Egg whites and eggshell membrane likely are of added superficial and temporary benefit.â€
But not all disagree with the concept. Beauty expert Alexis Wolfer of The BeautyBean.com prefers adding eggs to some of her homemade facial masks to tighten fine lines.
â€œEgg yolks, with their fat, cholesterol, and retinols, are also great for helping to reduce the appearance of acne scars, making this ideal for post-pimple skin, too,â€ says Wolfer in her upcoming book, â€œThe Recipe for Radiance: Discover Beautyâ€™s Best Kept Secrets in Your Kitchen,â€ slated to be released in May 2014.
And even one dermatologist isnâ€™t completely opposed to adding eggs every now and then to your skincare routine.
â€œEgg whites tighten the skin, giving the illusion of smaller pores, but itâ€™s temporary effect,â€ says Elizabeth McBurney, clinical professor of dermatology at New Orleans-based Tulane University School of Medicine, to Real Simple.
So, are eggs a major do or don't? For more permanent results, experts do recommend applying moisturizer daily to hydrate fine lines, as well as maintaining a diet rich in fruits and veggies. However, there's one more beneficial thing you can do for lasting results.
â€œAlthough as a dermatologist, I may sound like a broken record, but the number one thing people can do to minimize the signs of aging is to avoid the sun,â€ says Tanzi. â€œWearing sunscreen and a hat to completely keep the face, neck, and chest out of the sun will help so much more than any cream ever will, no matter the price.
Still curious? Wolfer shares two of her homemade facial masks recipes including eggs. If youâ€™re wondering whether they will suit your skin, itâ€™s recommended to consult a dermatologist first before application. You can also make a quick change or two to how you apply makeup — check out a few secrets to melting away the years with makeup in this video.
Hydrating + Blemish-Fighting Facial Mask: For dry, combination skin.
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. raw honey
Whisk the egg to fully combine the yolk and the white before stirring in the honey. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of the mixture to your face, neck, and decollete, avoiding your eye area. Let dry for 20 minutes to tighten pores, tone the skin, and kill bacteria, without drying your skin out. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Age-Reversing Wine Mask: For all skin types.
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 Tbsp red wine
Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer to your face, neck, and decollete, avoiding your eye area. Let dry before washing off with warm water and a washcloth.
Recipes reprinted with permission from THE RECIPE FOR RADIANCE Â© 2014 by Alexis Wolfer, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
This article originally appeared on Fox News Magazine