Should you believe the headline, “Thyme kills acne bacteria?” Today I’ll tell you how to read between the lines! And stay tuned until the end of this episode for the question of the day; if you answer it correctly, you'll have a chance to win a free skincare product!
Last week, Scientific American published an article titled, “Thyme Kills Acne Bacteria.” The title is an accurate statement based on the results of the study discussed in the article. But if you just read the title, it’s very easy to infer, especially if you have acne, that time can treat acne and that you should start buying products with thyme. Other similarly titled articles followed. But let’s dig deeper to understand what the articles really mean. Acne is caused by any combination of excess oil, bacteria and the clogging of pores. Oil and bacteria are needed for puss pimples, red pimples and cysts to form. So if you kill the bacteria, you can effectively treat and even stop zits.
Now back to the time study. The study did not in fact treat acne in humans. In a research lab they put corynibacterium, the bacteria that causes acne, in a dish with thyme. The thyme not only killed the bacteria, but did it better that benzoyl peroxide, a common active ingredient in anti acne products.
So according to this article, thyme was not used to treat acne, but only found to be an ingredient that may be helpful for treating zits if:
1. The results are replicated in an independent lab.
2. Thyme is then able to be incorporated into a topical vehicle, applied to normal skin, and shown to not be irritating or cause any problems.
3. That same preparation is then used in humans with acne in a split face experiment where only one-half of the face is treated to see if it works better than the untreated side
4. If it works then another split face study is done with the vehicle alone on one side and the time in vehicle on the other side to make sure it’s not the vehicle that is working
5. Then in split face experiments it needs to be compared to other acne products
6. Only when that’s all done, and only then, maybe we will have reason to believe that time will be useful in treating acne
So all of the above isn’t to say that thyme may not be an effective acne treatment. It just highlights that to draw the proper conclusions from a headline, you need to dig deeper and examine the facts. Oh. And one more thing. Acne bacteria play much less of a role in blackheads and comedonal acne so even if thyme is great for zits, it probably won’t help blackheads. You know about “buyer beware.” Today it’s also “reader beware.”
Now for today's skincare trivia! Answer today's question correctly within three days of this episode's airing and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free skincare product. Submit your answer at DermTV Dot Com Slash Trivia. Today's question is:
Since bacteria don't play much of a role in causing blackheads and comedonal acne, what class of active ingredients are most helpful for this type of acne?
And don't forget. You can find the answer to this and all questions in past DermTV episodes.