Natural acne treatments always promise a lot and yet can leave you with avocado-smeared fingers, a face burning with tea tree oil, or a cupboard full of expensive lotions and potions for those pesky pimples and zealous zits.
As if there weren’t enough acne treatments already vying for your attention, researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK have added thyme to that list. Could an acne remedy recipe including thyme give you naturally healthy skin without the need to resort to expensive chemical treatments?
Thyme for Acne Relief
It appears that this little herb is a more potent antibacterial agent than plain alcohol, at least in laboratory tests on the bacteria that cause acne. What’s more, thyme is anti-inflammatory, making it a great acne therapy for acne rosacea and adult acne which can leave the face looking red and swollen. Look out for a thyme spot treatment in the skincare aisle of your drugstore or natural products store soon as marketers are bound to jump on this now scientifically validated effective acne relief treatment.
Treating Acne Bacteria to Cure Acne
The scientists steeped thyme, marigold (calendula), and myrrh in alcohol to produce tinctures and then tested their effects on the bacteria that cause acne. They compared the results after five minutes to the results of plain alcohol and found that the most potent of the samples was that produced with thyme.
Testing the thyme tincture for acne against standard acne treatments’ main ingredient benzoyl peroxide the team found that thyme was, once again, found to be more effective against the acne bacteria.
Acne Treatments Side-Effects
Thyme’s potential as a natural acne treatment was unveiled at the Society for General Micorobiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin last month, with a news release promoting the research. Lead scientist on the team at Leeds Met., Margarita Gomez-Escalada, PhD, said “If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments.”
She also observed that the current acne treatments that use benzoyl peroxide have associated side-effects such as burning and skin irritation. Thyme’s benefits include a gentler effect on the skin, avoiding these undesirable side-effects of acne treatment whilst actually being more potent than those already available.
Dermatologists Urge Caution Over Acne Therapy
Whilst the results of this recent research are exciting, dermatologists are unlikely to suddenly advise using thyme for acne relief. The evidence looks good but is still preliminary and more testing is needed before thyme acne treatments start appearing on the store shelves and in dermatology clinics.
Acne relief will still mean heading to the skincare aisle for most patients, despite acknowledgements that nutrition does play a part in the severity of acne and even the onset of acne where intolerances or allergies are implicated. Most acne treatments include salicylic acid as a cleanser and benzoyl peroxide to leave on the skin to kill acne-causing bacteria.
Where acne continues and is severe patients are encouraged to seek professional help from a qualified dermatologist who may prescribe antibiotics, retinol, or even the contraceptive pill.
Homemade Acne Remedy Using Thyme
In the meantime it is unlikely that the success of the laboratory experiments can simply be repeated at home using thyme from your herb garden and a dash of leftover rum but there are those who do make their own natural herbal acne treatments using such methods. Below is a recipe for a herbal remedy for acne treatment using thyme; maybe it can save your blushes but remember to use with caution as the safety and efficacy of such thyme acne therapy is still under investigation.
Marigold and Thyme Gel for Acne
- 8 sprigs of thyme
- 8 marigold (calendula) flowers
- 20 lavender flowerheads
- 200 ml of water
- 6 tbsp vodka
- 15 drops tea tree oil
- 1 sachet vegetable gelatine (or agar agar).
Set the water boiling and, while waiting, chop the flowers and strip the thyme leaves from the stem (run your fingers down the stalk to gently strip the leaves). Add these to a large bowl and then pour the boiling water over the flowers and leaves to infuse for ten minutes.
The water should take on the flowers’ colours at which point mix the infusion in a blender before straining it through muslin (cheesecloth) into a fresh bowl.
In a smaller bowl dissolve your gelatin or agar agar in a couple of tablespoons of cold water and then begin adding the thyme infusion slowly whilst stirring to avoid lumps forming. When the mixture looks smooth add the vodka and tea tree oil to create a gel that can be poured, once totally cool, into a pump dispenser. Save an old hand soap dispenser or buy a special bottle at an outlet such as Neal’s Yard or Escents.
The thyme acne gel can be used twice daily to spot treat acne, or more often if your skin is particularly inflamed. Stored in the refrigerator this marigold and thyme acne remedy can last six weeks or so.
Find this recipe and other natural acne cures in Eat to Beat Acne!