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Thyme as an antioxidant

Extract derived from the leaf or flower of the thyme plant. It can have potent antioxidant properties. Its fragrant component can also cause skin irritation (as thyme oil is used in perfuming & soap making for its fragrance), but thyme extract can have its beneficial components utilized to benefit skin.

Thyme extract shouldn’t be one of the only or main antioxidants used in skincare products, but if it’s in lower amounts (later on in the ingredient list) and mixed with other antioxidants, it can be a great addition to the overall formula.

Thyme as an antifungal

A team at the All African Leprosy and Dermatology Education and Training Center, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, carried out a two-arm, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the therapeutic benefits of a 10% chamomile extract cream and a 3% thyme essential oil antifungal cream for eczema-like lesions.

The investigators reported in the International Journal of Dermatology that 66.5% of those treated with thyme essential oil fungal cream were completely healed, compared to 28.5% of those using placebo. There was no significant difference between the chamomile extract cream and placebo.

The conclusions were: A 3% thyme essential oil cream could represent a cheap and easily available opportunity to treat and heal mild to moderate cases of fungal infections; a common emollient cream could be a very effective intervention when treating mild to moderate cases of pityriasis alba and eczema-like lesions. Further research is needed.

Thyme Vs Benzoyl Peroxide on acne

Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University tested the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes — the bacterium that causes acne by infecting skin pores and forming spots, which range from white heads through to puss-filled cysts. The group found that while all the preparations were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes exposure, thyme was the most effective of the three. What’s more, they discovered that thyme tincture had a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide — the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes.

Common Thyme vs. Wild Thyme

Thymus serpyllum (aka wild thyme) is a yellow liquid, with a weaker scent than that of oil of Thyme extracted from T. vulgaris, and is called oil of Serpolet. It contains 30%-70% of phenols: Thymol, Carvacrol, etc. It is made into an artificial oil, together with the oil of Common Thyme. In perfumery, oil of Serpolet is chiefly used for soap. Wild Thyme or Serpolet has the same properties as Common Thyme, but to an inferior degree. In skincare and cosmetics, wild thyme is likely used for its fragrance, but for the purposes of this site will be lumped together with common thyme when matching products.


“Thyme may be better for acne than prescription creams.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2012.
A Modern Herbal
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, March 2002, pages 1845–1851

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