Katherine’s question: I read that you can get smoother skin by rubbing egg white on your face and letting it dry. I tried it and I could feel my skin noticeably tighten – like I imagine Botox feels. Why does this work?

The Right Brain tightens up this response:

What is an egg white?

Egg white, technically known as albumen, is the clear, liquidy part of the egg that provides nourishment for the growing embryo. It consists of proteins (about 15%) dissolved in water.

What happens when you cook an egg?

When you cook an egg, a chemical reaction causes these proteins to denature, which is a fancy way of saying they react with each other and become less soluble in water. So they turn from a clear, liquidy solution to a white, congealed solid (or goo, depending on how you cook your eggs.)

What happens when you put egg on your face?

A similar process occurs as a thin film of egg white dries out. In this case, the protein forms a film as water evaporates. The film is what makes your skin feel tight. It’s kind of like putting a coat of paint on your face and letting it dry.

Does egg white give you smoother skin?

Although it gives you a temporary feeling of tightness, once you you wash the egg white away, the film is gone. So although this tightening effect makes you think it’s doing something special, there’s really no significant benefit to this kind of facial. It doesn’t get rid of wrinkles like Retin-A does!

And by the way, just in case your boyfriend brings it up, Sarah Bellum wants you to know that other kinds of protein facials don’t really do anything for your skin either. (Ok Sarah, are you happy now??)