A good foundation for healthy skin includes the use of astringents and toners.
Their objective is to…
- penetrate and remove all traces of dirt, perspiration, and oil
- hydrate the skin
- contract and tighten the pores
- balance the pH level
…making blemished skin feel exceptionally clean.
Many commercially-prepared astringents contain strong — often times synthetic — solvents such as isopropyl alcohol and/or acetone. These ingredients can have a very drying effect and further damage acne-prone skin.
On the other hand handcrafted, herbal astringents are gentle and restorative.
And the good news…they can easily be made from the bounty of our garden.
Benefits of Thyme in the Treatment of Acne
…it is much more than a spice for use in the kitchen!
According to an article published on March 27, 2012 by Society for General Microbiology titled Thyme may be better for acne than prescription creams,
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.
Additionally, thyme’s primary actions include — but are not limited to:
In the garden it is fairly hardy and grows well in a multitude of climates.
Read more about growing, harvesting, and using thyme in this Thyme Growing Guide…
Blemish: An Herbal Astringent for Acne-Prone Skin
- 2 cups witch hazel extract
- fresh thyme leaves and flowers
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) rosemary hydrosol
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) peppermint hydrosol
- 1 cup (240 ml) tea tree hydrosol
- 1 cup (240 ml) thyme hydrosol
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) calendula extract
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) thyme extract
- 15 drops essential oils blend: tea tree, juniper berry, thyme, rosemary, and/or peppermint
- Pack a pint-sized mason jar with fresh cut thyme leaves and flowers, and based on basic tincturing principles, proceed to prepare the tincture. (Note: If using dried herbs, fill jar with no more than 1 ounce of dried thyme.)
- Pour organic witch hazel over the thyme until it covers the plant material entirely.
- Place a lid on the jar and shake well to combine.
- The jar should rest in a warm place, near a sunny window, and somewhere that allows you to shake it at least once daily (twice is best).
- Steep for 2-6 weeks.
- Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined, fine mesh sieve. Reserve the herb-infused witch hazel and compost the plant material.
- The astringent is ready to use at this point…however this is where you will mix in any of the optional add-ins if using.
- This astringent will keep in a dark-colored glass bottle or clear glass in a cool, dark place for approximately 2-3 years.
- Label each bottle with the name, date, and contents.
- This Blemish Herbal Astringent does have a long shelf life and does not require refrigeration. Use as you would any commercially-prepared astringent product.
Where Can I Get This Stuff?
–Mountain Rose Herbs…they have everything you’ll need for this remedy! I LOVE the quality of their oils and essential oils. Including strictly medicinal, non-GMO herbal seeds for your home herb garden. It’s your one-stop-shop!
–The Bulk Herb Store also carries a few of these ingredients if you’d like to price check.
–From Nature With Love likewise carries a HUGE selection of high-quality raw materials.
Bee Girl says
This is brilliant! Thank you so much for posting it…I can’t wait to try it! I have always struggled with my skin and am always looking for new (natural) things to try 🙂
This is so easy and useful! Thank you so much for this recipe. This will be my first DIY herbal remedy and I can’t wait to make it. If I want to add aloe vera gel, should I do that when I strain the thyme out?
This is perfect! I have been looking for something I can add to my OCM regiment. About 80% of my face absolutely loves OCM, with the other 20% (mostly on my chin and jawline) still getting breakouts.
I have Thyme in my garden, but it was only planted about a month ago so it doesn’t have any flowers. Is the lack of blooms on my Thyme going to make this tincture ineffective?
This looks awesome! I have already picked up thyme from my garden to give it a try.
I wonder if it is possible to use distilled water instead of witch hazel extract (which is fairly expensive in my country)? To prevent mold I would boil it for half an hour or so and then strain it trough cloth and put it in refrigerator. What do you think?
P.S.: Your blog really is inspiring to me =)
It needs to be made with Witch Hazel to be affective.
Does the thyme have to have flowers on it to work? I have a thyme plant but it hasn’t flowered yet.
Could you also add rosemary and calendula flowers to this? Instead of using the extracts? I definitely plan to try this once my order from Mountain Rose Herbs arrives! I am loving your site 🙂
if i’m using dried thyme do i still fill the jar up to the shoulder line with witch hazel?