Is TikTok's Thyme Ice Cube Hack Actually An Effective Way To Treat Acne?

Cystic breakouts and inflamed zits are often a puberty rite of passage. Yet while acne fades away for some as they enter the next stage of life, others find that acne continues to follow them into adulthood. Just like acne during puberty, Harvard Medical School reports that adult acne can be caused by a poor diet, stress, hormones, increased oil production, or beauty products.

If you've struggled with acne for a while, you've probably gone down a rabbit hole of possible solutions, particularly if the skincare that has been marketed towards you is yet to work. You're definitely not alone with this predicament. In the latest TikTok skincare trend, the search for "thyme ice cubes for skin" has garnered over seven million views on TikTok.

The user who seemingly started the trend, @mzansinatural, adds a green tea bag and a teaspoon of thyme to a cup of boiling water in her video. She also adds a pinch of Himalayan salt, which she recommends for oily skin only. She then freezes the mixture in an ice tray and then rubs it on her face.

When she first debuted the practice in her original video, she claimed that "thyme is more effective at killing bacteria than benzoyl peroxide creams," adding that she hadn't had a breakout in weeks. But can thyme really heal all wounds?

Thyme has anti-inflammatory properties

The claims that thyme has acne-fighting benefits aren't false. According to Medical News Today, thyme is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal; it's even been used to help with eczema. As for its ability to get rid of acne, the study the TikTok user references does say that thyme was proven to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide.

However, the method used to test it by Leeds Metropolitan University was to create a tincture of thyme. Essentially, they steeped it in alcohol for days or weeks in order to extract its true potency (via Healthline).

Boiling thyme for a few minutes will most likely not replicate the acne-fighting efficiency of thyme when soaked in alcohol for weeks. Shape notes that a thyme ice cube pales in comparison to the strength found in salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. It may help with temporary feelings of inflammation on the skin, though.

Additionally, putting ice on your skin may provide relief in the moment, but for people with sensitive skin or broken capillaries on the face, Cleveland Clinic says you should avoid the process. As fun as it may be to experiment around in the kitchen, using professional treatments will always be the most effective way to combat acne.