Licorice Extract: Skin Benefits and How to Use
Licorice Extract (Glycyrrhiz aglabra) is fast emerging as a natural skincare powerhouse as a skin brightener that works to inhibit the production of an enzyme needed to produce melanin (pigment) in the skin, helps reduce excess melanin, its dispersion and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
It is therefore fantastic for mild sun damage, acne scars, discolouration and dark spots.
What is Licorice Extract?
Just like the sweet lolly of your childhood, the extract comes from the root of the licorice plant, which has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries and in skincare preparations for a long time.
I have been asked before whether certain ingredients, including Licorice, can be used as skin lighteners or as an alternative to prescription hydroquinone or retinoids. Firstly, to be clear we appreciate that the concept of lightening is a triggering subject and not a skincare goal we target.
Secondly, while Licorice contains major whitening components glabridin and liquirtin, I am not aware of any quality clinical studies on the impact in high concentrations. So if you are interested in skin lightening as a personal choice, best speak to your doctor about an evidence based approach.
Benefits of Licorice Extract for skin
- Brightening the complexion and helping with hyperpigmentation is the number one benefit.
As anyone who has ever dealt with a massive, stubborn pimple will tell you, even once the blemish is gone, it can leave behind a stubborn reminder in the form of an annoying dark blotch of hyperpigmentation.
Tyrosinase is an enzyme involved in the production of melanin which Licorice may inhibits and impact the development of uneven tone and darkened patchy or spotty appearance.
Licorice also contains Liquiritin and licochalcone A which helps to disperse and remove existing melanin in the skin fading existing spots.
- It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as it contains Glycyrrhizin which decreases reactive oxygen processes which age and discolour skin. So Licorice may assist with mild dermatitis and rosacea which means less redness and irritation from inflamed, irritated skin.
How to Use It
In keeping with my ‘multi-use, multi-purpose’ philosophy, like all actives it’s best to incorporate Licorice within a especially formulated serum or gel so you can benefit from more concentrated treatment. Many active ingredients, even natural organics would be potentially irritating in their most concentrated form.
For example, our Skin Perfecting Radiance Gel with Lilli Pilli, Licorice, Emu Apple and Vitamin C can be used as a treatment/sleep mask or twice a day within a daily routine. And remember, only a tiny amount is needed (I use a half pump) morning and night.
Skin Perfecting Radiance Gel with Lilli Pilli, Licorice, Emu Apple and Vitamin C
Of course, I always recommend extra care with sun protection if you have concerns about age spots or hyperpigmentation and if you have any doubts about your skin’s condition ask your doctor.
I also believe serum strength Licorice is excellent for acne prone skin.
There you have it.
I love Licorice Extract for its brightening and skin toning benefits. It a wonderful complement for antioxidant Vitamin C and based on my experience effective for evening out skin tone variations and fading age spots.