Is thyme your answer to acne-prone sensitive skin?
12nd June 2015
Recent research from Leeds Metropolitan University suggests that thyme - usually found in Mediterranean dishes - could prove to be an effective alternative for those with sensitive, acne prone skin who suffer from skin irritations developed from antibacterial creams.
The research tested the effect of thyme, myrrh and marigold tinctures - an alcoholic extraction from plants - on those who suffer from Propionibacterium acnes to identify the most effective ingredient. A standard in vitro model was used to test the effect of different substances applied to the skin. The effect of the tinctures were measured against an alcohol control in order to prove that the antibacterial action was not as a result of the sterilizing effect of the alcohol they were prepared in.
Researchers found that while all the ingredients killed the bacterium within five minutes of exposure, thyme was the most effective. In fact, they found that thyme tincture has a more significant antibacterial effect than benzoyl peroxide, an active ingredient found in the best anti-acne and breakout creams.
Dr Gomez-Escalada, the lead researcher and professor at the university said "This process draws out the active compounds from the plant. 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 leading to acne."
The findings pave the way for further research into the use of tinctures as a treatment for acne as Dr Dr Gomez-Escalada explains: "We now need to carry out further tests in conditions that mimic more closely the skin environment and work out at the molecular level how these tinctures are working. If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments."