Thyme More Effective Than BP for Acne

While thyme may be useful for savory dishes, little did you that it is a powerful topical antibacterial ingredient. Professor Margarita Gomez Escalada and her team of researchers at the Leeds Metropolitan University have found that thyme is even more potent than the highest strength benzoyl peroxide (BP). Vitro modeled experiments with tinctures of myrrh, marigold and thyme were tested against controlled alcohol levels while applied on the skin. Results show that thyme was most effective against Propionibacterium acnes bacteria.

Tinctures are made by steeping plants in an alcohol solution for days to weeks. To ensure accuracy, vitro experiments require the tinctures to be measured by quantitated alcohol amounts before being applied on skin. This step eliminates the sterilizing influence of alcohol within the tinctures. Producing tinctures helps activate the plant’s active components. While myrrh, marigold and thyme are well known herbal acne treatments, this is the first time an official study has been made on them.

All three herbs were found to kill Propionibacterium acnes bacteria within five minutes, with thyme being the most aggressive annihilator. The thyme tincture was also found to be more effective against acne bacteria in comparison to the common prescribed acne medication, benzoyl peroxide. According to Prof. Gomez, this could lead to a herbal alternative to antibiotics and chemical topicals such as BP.

A handful of people have commonly experienced negative reactions to benzoyl peroxide antibiotics, such as skin irritations and burning sensations. Herbal treatments are gentler on the skin because they provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Now given the clinically proven effectiveness of the natural thyme tinctures, more types of herbals formulas for acne could be heading our pharmacy shelves. Currently, more research is being conducted on closely mimicked skin simulations to find out more about the acne-fighting potentials of these herbs.


More tips on acne care:

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  3. Constipation and Acne
  4. Essential Oils for Acne
  5. Witch Hazel for Acne