I have long used thyme as an effective cold and flu remedy for bronchial congestion, sinus pressure, sore throat, and for boosting immunity, but did you know that thyme's amazing anti-bacterial properties give it an edge over acne? Would you believe me if I said it's actually more effective than benzoyl peroxide without all the side effects?
Is Thyme Better Than Benzoyl Peroxide?
In recent months, research has suggested that thyme tincture is just as effective as a natural acne treatment, if not more so, than the traditional over the counter remedy known as benzoyl peroxide.
The antibacterial, antiseptic, and astringent qualities found in thyme makes this common garden herb an inexpensive, natural, and powerful ally to have in your fight against acne.
When applied topically as a tincture, its alcohol content inhibits the replication of bacteria that causes breakouts. Thyme also improves circulation, so when you apply it to acne, be sure to do it before bed as your skin may redden in those areas while your white blood cells get to work. Its medicinal properties will help eradicate acne causing bacteria which will help prevent future breakouts from happening.
Why Ditch The Benzoyl Peroxide in Favor for Natural Alternatives?
So what is benzoyl peroxide anyways? Well, according to Wikipedia, benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound of the peroxide family that upon contact with the skin, breaks down into benzoic acid and oxygen. This oxygen acts as a free radical that destroys the skin cells and bacteria it comes in contact with. The oxidation action of benzoyl peroxide also destroys the cells that clog the pore as well as the white blood cells that trigger inflammation.
Say what now?
Yes, you read that right, it's a free radical that DESTROYS skin cells and bacteria and even your own white blood cells! That doesn't sound like it should be put on your face.
Benzoyl peroxide also has a nasty habit of drying out the skin, increasing its sensitivity to the sun, and is the cause of unsightly peeling and redness. It's also been found to increase premature aging (read: it's a free radical) and in some cases has caused cancer in mice. The stuff is so bad for your skin it's even been banned in Europe.
Tinctures Are Awesome as Natural Acne Treatments
If you're wondering what a tincture is, it's basically an herb that's infused in a mixture of grain alcohol and water (for brands sold in health food stores), or 80 proof vodka (the way I make them at home). In this way, all of the alcohol soluble AND water soluble medicinal qualities of the plant are drawn out of the plant material and into the alcohol. This creates a potent medicine that can be taken conveniently at any time. I keep a few tinctures in my purse and hardly notice they're there.
The one awesome detail about tinctures is since they're made with alcohol, the time it takes for your body to absorb the medicine is just 7 minutes. Just imagine the benefits you would get if you used thyme tincture externally and internally! Not only would you be fighting the acne on the outside, but you would be boosting your immune system on the inside which will help your body heal acne even faster.
How Get Rid of Acne Breakouts Using Thyme Tincture
To use thyme tincture topically, put a few drops of tincture on the end of a q-tip. Gently apply it to acne prone areas as well as currently existing acne twice a day. You can find thyme tincture at your local health foods store (if they don't have it, they can most likely special order it for you). The brand I like is this one.
If you're an herbie like myself, then you like to get your hands dirty and make it yourself! The method I use is considered the folk method.
Folk Method for Tincture Making:
• Gather the fresh herb from your garden or buy some at the grocery store. Be sure to buy enough to fill the jar you have chosen about ¾ full. You can also use the dried herb!
• Be sure that the plant material is free of any critters that might be hiding in there and rinse them off along with any dirt. Really try to buy organic herbs if you don’t grow your own!
• Place the clean herbs into the jar. LABEL the jar with the type of plant you’re using and the date.
• Fill the jar very near to the top with 80 proof vodka.
• Seal the jar and shake vigorously.
• Place the tincture in an area where you can see it out of direct sunlight and away from heat.
• Shake it daily for a week and then forget about it. If the plant material soaks up some of the vodka, just top it off again with more vodka.
• Let it sit for 4-6 weeks
• After 4-6 weeks, strain the tincture over a large non-metal bowl using fine cheesecloth.
• Place it back in the jar or bottle in amber glass bottles.
And viola! You now have your very own tincture that will last indefinitely if stored in a cool dark place, tightly closed.
So let's say that you're unable to make this tincture or find it locally, what do you do then? Well, you're in luck! There are many ways to prepare effective homemade remedies for acne using thyme.
One way to do so is by making thyme tea from the fresh or dried herb, and use it as a soak for the skin. Do this by dipping a cotton ball with strong thyme tea (be sure to cover your mug or cooking pot with a lid to prevent the essential oils from escaping while boiling), and apply on the breakout. Check that it isn't too hot. Gently hold the cotton ball to the area until the cotton ball cools and then reapply as many times as you wish.
If you have body acne (like backne or chestne), add strong thyme tea to your bath water, make a bath pouch with dried thyme, or even just toss in a few fresh thyme sprigs! Feel free to add more thyme to the bath (DO NOT put thyme essential oil in the bath as it will burn your skin).
Another remedy would be to infuse fresh thyme in raw apple cider vinegar (this one is my favorite way to use it). Prepare it in the same way as the tincture method except that you are using apple cider vinegar instead of vodka. When the preparation is finished, put aside some of it in a separate jar and dilute it with pure water. I use a 1/1 ratio, but you can play with it to see what works best for you. Apply this with a cotton ball at night before bed as an excellent anti-acne toner.
Remember, acne doesn't go away over night, but if you eat clean, drink pure water, exercise, and get quality sleep, then you are well on your way to acne free skin. And heck, if's there is a better way to go about treating acne than using benzoyl peroxide, then I say give it a try! It certainly can't hurt, whereas benzoyl peroxide certainly does.
Be sure to check out my acne fighting thyme serum recipe for some extra kick.
Don't miss out on learning more about the properties of thyme here.
So what do you think? Is thyme better than benzoyl peroxide?
For more clear skin articles look below:
The 7 Step Routine You Need to Get Clear Skin
How to Pamper your Face for Clear Skin
6 Skincare Tips That Cleared My Acne Naturally
Get Clear Skin With These 10 Foods
Are Papaya Enzymes the Answer to Banishing Red, Splotchy, Uneven Skin Tone?
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