Herbal remedies could be the most naturally effective way to treat acne, according to a study.
Researchers from the Leeds Metropolitan University have invented a natural remedy that can cure acne. Using the common herb thyme (known as a tincture), they found it was more effective in killing the acne bacterium than traditional chemical-based creams.
Researchers say that the solution can be made using plants and herbs where the plant is steeped in alcohol for days or weeks. This extracts the different compounds from the plant and helps cure pimples.
Till now, they have tested this method with thyme, myrrh and marigold and have found that the method is quite effective compared to chemical-based creams.
Dr Margarita Gomez Escalada, a Senior Lecturer in Microbiology and Genetics at Leeds Metropolitan University, said they found that all the preparations tested were able to kill a number of bacteria. The preparation that was found the most effective was thyme tincture, even better than benzoyl peroxide. This shows the potential of thyme tincture for treating acne.
According to him, further tests need to be carried out in conditions that mimic the skin to confirm the effectiveness in practical use. If thyme tincture is proven to be effective for the treatment of acne, it will provide a natural alternative to current treatments, he said.
Acne is caused by a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes which infects the skin pore and then forms a pimple. Currently, the most common treatments for acne are antibiotics or a topical cream or wash containing the chemical benzoyl peroxide. These treatments are often associated with side-effects. For example benzoyl peroxide often causes a burning sensation on the skin and irritation.
Researchers believe the best way to cure acne is to use natural remedies. Thyme, marigold and myrrh tinctures are commonly used by herbalists as well as other alternative medicine practitioners to treat acne and other skin conditions. Little research has been done into their effectiveness and they have never before been tested against the bacterium that causes acne to see if they have any effect on its growth.