Is It Time for Thyme as an Acne Treatment?

2012-03-29 12:27

For the 40 to 50 million Americans who suffer with acne and millions more around the world, news that an herbal treatment could be more effective than current acne medications is good news. Results of recent research indicate it may be time for thyme as an acne treatment.

Acne is the most common skin disorder in the US

Approximately 85% of all people will experience acne at some time during their lifetime, although acne typically begins during puberty. The American Academy of Dermatology points to three major factors that cause acne:

  • Excessive production of oil by enlarged oil glands in the skin
  • Blocked hair follicles that release the oil
  • Growth of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in the hair follicles that infect skin pores and then form spots

Conventional medical treatments for acne, including commonly used products that contain benzoyl peroxide, can be harsh to the skin and often are not effective. Therefore there has been much interest in finding more gentle options.

Under the guidance of Dr. Margarita Gomez-Escalada, investigators from Leeds Metropolitan University tested the effect of tinctures of marigold, myrrh, and thyme against P. acnes. All three killed the bacteria within five minutes, but thyme was the most effective.

The investigators also discovered the thyme tincture was more effective as an antibacterial agent than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide.

This study is important because, according to Gomez-Escalada, “While thyme, marigold and myrrh are common herbal alternatives to standard antibacterial skin washes, this is the first study to demonstrate the effect they have on the bacterium that causes the infection lead to acne.”


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