Trouble With Acne? Give It Thyme.


Pardon the pun, but a recent study of thyme’s acne-fighting properties could change the face of skin care.

Research began with scientists at Leeds Metropolitan University soaking thyme in alcohol to create an herbal tincture. “The plant material is steeped in alcohol for days or even weeks to prepare a tincture,” explained lead researcher Dr Margarita Gomez-Escalada. “This process draws out the active compounds from the plant.”

When the tincture was applied to acne-causing bacteria, researchers found it had a particularly potent effect. In fact, the authors claim that the thyme solution was more powerful than a standard dose of benzoyl peroxide (the active ingredient in most over-the-counter acne medications). This could be great news for acne sufferers who rely on the ubiquitous ingredient.

“The problem with treatments containing benzoyl peroxide is the side-effects they are associated with,” explained Dr Gomez-Escalada in a press release. “A burning sensation and skin irritation are not uncommon. Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments.”

So should you make a bee-line for the herb garden the next time you get a breakout? Not quite. Until the thyme-tincture is properly tested, researchers won’t know how safe or effective the treatment will be. “More research needs to be done to evaluate thyme,” said Mount Sinclair’s Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “But it is an exciting prospect and would be a welcome addition.”

Image: Fresh Thyme, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from cookbookman17’s photostream.