Thyme, a herb commonly used in cooking, could provide an alternative treatment for acne sufferers with sensitive skin.
Thyme, marigold and myrrh are common herbal alternatives to standard antibacterial skin washes, and a new study has demonstrated the effect that they have on the bacterium that causes the infection leading to acne.
Thyme could be used as an alternative acne treatment
Researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University tested the effects of these herbs on propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium that causes acne by infecting skin pores.
The scientists steeped the plant material in alcohol for days or weeks to prepare a tincture, which draws out the active compounds in the plants. They then measured the effects of the tinctures compared with an alcohol control.
Results showed that all the herbal tinctures were able to kill the bacterium after just five minutes exposure. Thyme was the most effective herb, and it worked better than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, which is the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes.
The researchers hope that their findings could pave the way for more research into the use of tinctures as a treatment for acne, for sufferers who develop skin irritations from antibacterial creams.
Dr Gomez-Escalada - presenting her findings at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin this week - said:
"If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments.”
"The problem with treatments containing benzoyl peroxide is the side-effects they are associated with. 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."
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