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Egg Whites for Acne

By Megan Griffith

Reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Jaggi Rao,
MD, FRCPC Double board-certified dermatologist

Egg whites are often used in homemade facial masks for treating acne1. They are cheap, they are effective, and they don’t require any special skill or expensive ingredients. The best egg white facials, however, don’t use just egg whites.

egg white acne mask
An egg white face mask can help reduce discoloration, as well as firm and tone the skin.

Summary:

  • Egg whites can be used to make a facial mask that helps reduce discoloration of the skin caused by acne.
  • Egg white masks also firm and tone the skin.
  • The best way to use egg whites in a face mask is to beat them into a meringue-like foam first.
  • Lemon juice helps loosen blackheads and whiteheads when added to egg whites.
  • Don’t use egg yolks on your skin. They are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria than egg whites, and they can react to benzoyl peroxide.
  • If contamination of egg whites is a concern, use pasteurized egg whites to make your mask.

How to Make and Use Your Own Egg White and Lemon Juice Mask

One of the best ways to use egg whites in a facial mask for acne2 is to combine egg whites and lemon juice. The lemon juice loosens clumps of dead skin cells at the openings of pores and on the skin, and the egg white sticks to the clumps so that they can be washed off the skin.

To make the mask, you will need 3 eggs, 1 lemon, one clean mixing bowl, two smaller clean bowls, and two clean towels. A copper mixing bowl is ideal, since copper will stabilize the foam you will make by whipping the egg whites. (But don’t add cream of tartar to this mixture to make the egg whites fluffy. It’s not good for your face.)

Break the eggs and separate the egg whites, placing the yolks in one of the small bowls (they can be used in cooking) and the whites in the mixing bowl. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the lemon through a strainer (to catch seeds) into the other small bowl.

Take about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice and add to the egg whites. Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice until you have a white, foamy, meringue-like mixture that begins to show peaks. Wash your hands and cleanse your face, patting it dry with a clean towel.

Next, apply the egg white mixture evenly over your face. Allow it to dry for about 15 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water. Pat your skin dry with the other clean towel and inspect in the mirror.

Your egg white and lemon mask should leave your skin with a more even finish and deeper tones. It probably won’t have an immediate effect on acne blemishes, although it may loosen blackheads and lighten pimples. After you have inspected your skin, apply a light moisturizer to your face to seal in the moisture left in your skin by the mask.

Is There a Scientific Basis for Using an Egg White Mask to Treat Acne?

Researchers have investigated the enzymes in egg whites as a source of lighteners for the skin. The lysozyme in egg white is about 20 times more active than the natural skin lightener kojic acid. Like kojic acid, egg white lysozyme helps prevent oxidation and browning of the skin3, and it helps preserve red and pink colors in the skin. It may even help reverse the black and blue discoloration of the skin that can occur after the use of hydroquinone skin lighteners in people who have a condition called ochronosis.

Many users of egg white masks report that putting egg whites on the skin leaves it feeling tighter and firmer4. That effect is due to the interaction of albumin in the egg white with salts in the skin. If you desire a tighter feel after you use an egg white mask, add up 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) of salt to the egg white mixture before you whisk it for application to your face.

There is also a scientific basis for not using egg yolks to make a mask to treat acne. The yellow color in egg yolks is due to pigments known as xanthophylls. These pigments can interact with hydrogen peroxide to make your skin more sensitive to the sun. There is a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide released by acne bacteria. There is a lot more hydrogen peroxide released by benzoyl peroxide. If you have active acne, and especially if you are using benzoyl peroxide to treat it, egg yolks can leave your skin much more sensitive to sunburn. This does not happen with egg whites.

Safe Handling of Egg Whites

Most eggs are free of disease-causing microorganisms, but from time to time raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella. When the egg is passing through the chicken to be laid, there can be tiny cracks in the shell that admit disease organisms5. The longer the egg is allowed to remain in the hen house before it is cleaned and refrigerated and the longer it waits in a wholesaler’s distribution center or on the shelf before it is bought, and the longer you have kept eggs in the refrigerator, the more likely it is to have grown enough bacteria to cause disease. Simply buying fresh eggs and using them right away offers excellent protection against disease6.

The egg white, however, is always safer than the egg yolk. Egg whites are deficient in iron, while egg yolks are high in iron. Like people, bacteria need iron to be healthy. You are far more likely to be exposed to a disease-causing microorganism by placing egg yolks on your skin that by placing egg whites on your skin. Egg whites also contain enzymes that can kill bacteria both in the egg and on your skin.

What About Egg Allergies?

Allergies to egg whites are usually triggered by lysozyme, which is also the component of egg whites7 that corrects discoloration of the skin. If you have never had an allergic reaction to eggs or egg whites before, you are not likely to suffer an allergic reaction the first time you use an egg white mask for acne. However, if you use a commercially prepared egg white mask (available in parts of Europe and in Latin America), you might suffer an egg white allergy due to the addition of lysozyme to the product. Don’t use commercial egg white masks, and don’t use egg white masks if you are allergic to eggs8.

An egg white mask is a useful addition to day to day acne skincare. To cover the basics of getting acne under control and keeping your skin clear, however, you need a complete acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care.

References:

  1.  Rachel Nall. Egg w’hite face mask: Benefits and how to make one. Medical News Today. 2019
  2. How to Treat Pimples and Acne Naturally – Health & Human Research. Hhdresearch.org. 2019.
  3. Chang TS. An updated review of tyrosinase inhibitors. Int J Mol Sci. 2009 May 26;10(6):2440-75.
  4. Jensen GS, Shah B, Holtz R, Patel A, Lo DC. Reduction of facial wrinkles by hydrolyzed water-soluble egg membrane associated with reduction of free radical stress and support of matrix production by dermal fibroblasts. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016 Oct 14;9:357-366.
  5. Gantois I, Ducatelle R, Pasmans F, Haesebrouck F, Gast R, Humphrey TJ, Van Immerseel F. Mechanisms of egg contamination by Salmonella Enteritidis. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2009 Jul;33(4):718-38.
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellaeggs/index.html
  7. Petrosino MI, Scaparrotta A, Marcovecchio ML, Panichi D, Rapino D, Attanasi M, Filippo PD, Pillo SD, Chiarelli F. Usefulness of molecular diagnosis in egg allergic children. Arch Med Sci. 2018 Jan;14(1):132-137.
  8. Caubet JC, Wang J. Current understanding of egg allergy. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2011 Apr 1;58(2):427-43, xi.
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jessica Reply

How long will the egg white facial last in the fridge? Do I just discard the unused portion, or can i use it again?

December 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm Reply
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ehdz Reply

Is calamansi juice can be the replacement for a lemon juice?

August 31, 2013 at 3:47 am Reply
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Mamiro Reply

No, Calamansi has accidous reaction than Lemon

March 2, 2018 at 11:04 pm Reply
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corazon Reply

how often shld i use egg white facial mask n cn i apply on my back which has acne spots?

October 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm Reply
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Justus prosper Reply

is there any other ingredient that could be used with an egg white in the treatment of an acne apart from lemon?

September 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm Reply
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richiet Reply

I have done egg white masks before and they do help with blackheads because egg whites form an easy mask - and it tightens my pores, thus reducing chances of future blackheads. It does get a bit messy though. When I do not want to get mess, I use the Clay Blackhead Mask from Citrus Clear. Both are excellent!

March 17, 2016 at 2:26 am Reply
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kavya Reply

minimum how long i have to take this treatment...

March 28, 2016 at 11:11 am Reply
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Alyss Reply

Does it have to be a fresh lemon or does bottled lemon juice work?

August 3, 2017 at 3:17 am Reply

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