Beauty 101

The Beauty and Healing Power of Bird Nest 

Dr.Ingky Dermatologist
The Beauty and Healing Power of Bird Nest 

What Does Bird Nest Contain?

Bird nests are the nests of swiftlet birds, which the male swiftlet made entirely out of his edible saliva. Bird nest is usually cooked with rock sugar as a dessert commonly called “bird nest soup”, for its nutritious content and flavour. Edible Bird’s Nest contains an abundant amount of 18 different amino acids, some of which cannot be manufactured by the human body and must be obtained through dietary sources.

Edible Bird nests are rich in collagen, amino acid, glycoprotein, antioxidants, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and hormones. Collagen and amino acid help build blocks for smooth skin, such as leucine, lysine, glycine, glutamine, tyrosine, arginine, cysteine, histidine, tryptophan, and other amino acids. These are renowned for tissue regeneration and cell growth.

Can Vegetarians Consume Bird Nest?

The nutrient composition of the nest does not contain fat and other substances that are capable of causing any disease to humans. As we know, edible bird’s nest also has a very good effect in the supplement of nutrients deficiency in muscle.

Vegetarian can eat bird’s nest as it is not meat or blood of animals as these edible nests are made out of bird saliva which has dried and hardened. Other than that, it also does not destroy the lives of animals. Swiftlet will build a new nest every time for their newborn, the leftover bird’s nest is then harvested by the human as an edible bird’s nest.

The Link Between Bird Nest and Skincare

In Malaysia, many companies are opening up bird hotels where they're setting up safe spaces for the birds to create their nests. Later, the nests are harvested, boiled, cleaned, and dried before consumption. For skincare products, it is often confined to a powder and added to product formulas as an ingredient. The bird's saliva is rich in proteins, polysaccharides, trace elements, and other nutrients, all of which are good for the skin.

Skincare products that contain bird's nest have shown promising results such as lightening dark spots and lessening acne scars. Some bird's nests are also high in collagen, which can make skin softer and more elastic. Bird nest skincare products also contain vitamins that are believed to provide an anti-aging effect. Bird's Nest also has been known for centuries as a means to enhance skin's youthful glow and balanced complexion. 

Why Did Bird Nest Skincare Products Become Very Popular Among Asians?

In Southeast Asia and among Asians, there is the pervasive idea that the lighter your skin the more attractive you are. In fact, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. For example, “K-beauty” is estimated to be a 15.2-billion-dollar industry, that owes much of its success to K-pop stars (2018). A lot of K-beauty is based on skin-lightening products and melanin-reducing injections.

This is one of the reasons why Bird Nest Skincare products become very popular among Asians. Previous research has shown that epidermal growth factor (EGF) present in edible bird’s nest extract (Aerodramus fuciphagus) can increase the metabolism of skin cells and lighten skin. In the present work, bird’s nest extract was tested in four topical product types and found to impart significant skin lightening and moisturizing effects for all four treatment groups. Bird nest creams showed lightening and moisturizing effects equal to the positive control.

FIVE Reasons Why Everyone Should Consume Bird Nests Regularly

Moisturizes the Skin

The bird’s nest contains a special protein with the same structure as the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), which helps create new skin cells to replace old, degraded cells. It also helps repair damaged skin cells and makes the ski look brighter and younger.

Enhance disease prevention system

It has the ability to inhibit the production of melanin. The cyanic acid present in the bird’s nest binds to the virus and inhibits the binding process between the virus and the cell surface receptors. Prevent the virus from entering the cell thus, helping to prevent viral infections such as influenza virus.

Excellent nervous system

Sialic acid is the main component of the glycolipid group, a constituent of ganglioside involved in brain function. It improves memory and help reduce inflammation of the nervous system. This is called anti-neuroinflammatory effect.

Blood Care

Bird nests are beneficial for people who have health problems related to the maintenance of blood. Women who have given birth or the patients that are in recovering phase, it’s necessary for them to receive nourishing nutrients to restore health. The bird nest is a good help. Bird nests nourish blood and help in speeding up the recovery.

Help relieve fatigue

For people who are not getting enough rest for several days in a row, the symptoms of exhaustion are easily removed, which is one way other than getting a good night’s sleep. However, bird nest could help in providing the body with adequate nutrients to replenish accumulated fatigue.

What Are the Unique Skin Benefits?

Bird nests can brighten your skin

Bird nest skincare products have impressive whitening capabilities. It contains Vitamin A and E which are both key ingredients in a skincare routine aimed at achieving a fairer skin tone. Vitamin A and E are essential for having healthy and moisturized skin. It can also be used to soothe blotchy and reddish skin.

Bird nests can help with acne

Bird's nests have been used as a facial treatment and acne treatment method in traditional Chinese medicine for years. Bird's nests have a high concentration of antioxidants, which studies show can result in safe and effective anti-acne results when used with other acne treatments.

Bird nests good for oily skin

Bird nest extract might be a viable skincare solution for oily skin types. It is anti-bacterial and can create a matte finish on the skin.

Bird nests contain collage

Bird nest extract is rich in antioxidants, collagen, and amino acids. These properties help firm up the skin, fight wrinkles, and reduce fine lines on the face.

How to Identify Fake Bird Nests?

Since authentic birds’ nests are difficult to harvest but the demands are so high, many dubious companies resort to creating fake nests to trick the consumer. Thankfully, we’ve developed a few effective tricks to help you tell the difference between real birds’ nests and fake ones.

  1. Transparency. A fake bird’s nest does not look transparent while the genuine article has a semi-transparency quality. It does not have reflective surface.

  2. Fragility. A genuine bird’s nest is very fragile, and you need to carry it gently. It can easily break into small specks, dust-sized pieces. A fake bird’s nest is just as fragile as a genuine one, but it will break into large chunks.

  3. Shape and Appearance. After soaking it in water for 30 minutes, a genuine bird’s nest starts losing its shape, with the nest fibers easily recognizable (occasionally, the odd feather may be seen too). In a fake bird’s nest, you will see bumpy surface arranged uniformly, and there will be a slight smell of medication.

  4. Power to Absorb. After soaking for 30 minutes, a real bird’s nest will definitely bloat to about its original size. You will see no significant growth in size for a fake one, but there will be evident signs of foreign particles.

  5. Coloring. When you soak your bird’s nest in water, the genuine one will not change color, it will remain clear. Discolored water will be evident when you soak a fake one in water due to the artificial coloring it contains.

  6. Foams. Place your bird’s nest in a bowl and add some water, then stir it. If you see some foam appear on the surface of the water, your bird’s nest is real, and the water remains clear. Whereas, in the fake bird’s nest bowl, no foam will appear on the surface. Instead, the water will turn cloudy and murky.

Now you have learnt to differentiate between a genuine bird’s nest and a fake one, you should have no more worries as you include this highly nutritious drink in your daily food consumption. It will help maintain your body’s metabolism, as well as boost your immune and digestive systems. Oh, and your luminous skin too!

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