Using Thyme Ice Cubes for Acne Is the Latest TikTok Hack, But Experts Aren't Convinced

Learn all about the herbal acne treatment taking TikTok by storm.

TikTok True or False: Thyme Ice
Courtesy of Greenhouse Juice.

TikTok True or False is the answer to your burning questions about the health, beauty, and fitness fads taking over your social feeds. Each story breaks down a buzzy wellness trend with the help of experts and scientific research to uncover the truth and safety behind the viral "advice" you see online. You'll never have to wonder what's actually legit — or what to skip — again.

A scroll through the #beautytok hashtag on TikTok will quickly send you down a digital rabbit hole of beauty tips, hacks, secrets, and remedies. ICYMI, the hashtag has more than 24 billion views.

A recent trend that users have taken to the app to share is rubbing thyme-infused ice cubes all over the face to help stop acne breakouts and soothe inflammation. With the majority of the necessary ingredients for the DIY skin-care treatment likely right at home in the kitchen, it's no wonder the #thymeicecube hashtag has more than 11.6 thousand views on TikTok right now.

If you haven't seen it, here's what the trend entails: Users are bringing a concoction of dried thyme, tea bags, and water to a boil, freezing it in an ice cube tray overnight, and rubbing the herb-infused cubes all over their faces. The users are specifically rubbing the ice cubes over their acne in hopes that the thyme will help treat or diminish their breakouts.

One user tried the hack and shared a step-by-step tutorial of how she creates the ice cubes. She freezes the mixture in a sphere ice cube tray and inserts toothpicks to make mini versions of another TikTok skin-care favorite: ice rollers. To seal the deal, she adds that she "10/10 recommends" trying the hack while rolling the ice ball on her face in the video, and it now has more than 390,000 views.

Curious to know if this TikTok thyme hack for acne is really worth the hype and hassle? Ahead, learn everything you need to know from a celebrity esthetician and dermatological nurse about the skin benefits of thyme and whether or not rolling ice cubes infused with the herb works as an acne treatment.

What is the thyme ice cube hack for acne?

TikTok users are making thyme-infused ice cubes to soothe skin and treat acne.

Creating the thyme-infused ice cubes is pretty simple, and the ingredients might already be in your kitchen. Many users are boiling water and adding about a tablespoon of dried thyme. Some also add a green or chamomile tea bag and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. For example, one TikToker mixes these ingredients in a pot and cooks them over low heat for 15 minutes. Then, she uses a strainer to drain the liquid into a bowl to let it cool before pouring it into an ice tray. Finally, she advises viewers to massage the herb-infused ice cubes all over a cleansed face or use the liquid as a toner.

Other than being a common herb to add to dishes, thyme actually has some great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits for the body. So, it's no wonder TikTok users took to the app to share yet another way to put the herb to use. But can thyme ice cubes really fight acne?

Does massaging thyme-infused ice cubes on your face kill acne-causing bacteria?

It isn't a mandatory skincare-step step, but using frozen or chilled rollers and masks or actual ice cubes is great for minimizing inflammation and redness often associated with acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions, says Natalie Aguilar, a celebrity aesthetician, dermatological nurse, and the co-founder of N4 Skincare. While the cool sensation of rubbing an ice cube on your face can be soothing, there are actually some skin benefits from using thyme.

"Studies show that thyme has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory skin benefits," says Aguilar. "In addition, thyme may also help soothe irritated skin and calm inflammation commonly associated with breakouts." Plus, thyme contains thymol, an essential oil that contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It's a natural and safe alternative to other acne-fighting or acne-inhibiting ingredients, explains Aguilar.

There are two types of bacteria commonly associated with acne formation: Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermis, according to Aguilar. When these two bacteria are present in the pores and mix with sebum (the skin's natural oils) that can clog the pores, it prompts an immune response that triggers inflammation and creates an environment for acne to form.

Thyme ice cubes can help with soothing and calming the inflammation often associated with the development of acne and pimples. For acne that has already formed and is visible, thyme ice cubes can also help soothe and address redness, especially in painful pimples, according to Aguilar. However, using thyme ice cubes will not heal breakouts nor prevent acne from recurring.

While thyme ice cubes won't replace the potency or effectiveness of salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide cleansers, and other proven treatments for targeting and killing acne-causing bacteria, they can offer some cooling and soothing relief to red or achy pimples, according to Aguilar.

Is it safe to massage thyme ice cubes on your face?

Before you can safely use thyme ice cubes on your skin, it's important to first identify any thyme allergies. You can do a patch test before using thyme ice cubes if you're unsure of how your skin will react, according to Aguilar. A patch test is best done by applying a drop of the thyme concoction to the skin after it has been cooled but before freezing it, preferably the back of the wrist, and waiting at least an hour to see if any rashes or reactions occur.

So long as you're not allergic to thyme, the DIY skin-care treatment is safe to try. However, it's best to not experiment with thyme ice cubes if you've recently had professional skin-care treatments such as chemical peels or laser treatments, as there might be an adverse reaction, warns Aguilar.

You can use thyme-infused ice cubes for acne: True or false?

TikTok True or False: Thyme Ice
Courtesy of Greenhouse Juice.

While thyme has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to kill bacteria, there isn't enough research to show that it's effective or potent in killing acne-causing bacteria specifically, says Aguilar.

Massaging thyme-infused ice cubes around the skin may be more effective at de-puffing and soothing the skin than at healing and treating existing acne and preventing recurrent acne. So, it's worth a try if you're looking for some temporary relief and an easy DIY skin-care treatment, but don't expect it to zap away blemishes. Just remember to do a patch test first to ensure you don't have any reactions or sensitivities to the herb.

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