Licorice Root Benefits for Skin – 9 Skin Improving Properties

licorice root benefits for skin
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What do you think of when you hear the word “licorice”? Most people would say… candy!

But what if someone told you that licorice root could actually be very beneficial for your skin! This plant has been used for medicinal and health properties for centuries, and now it is even being incorporated into the skincare world.

Licorice root is overall a soothing, smoothing, and brightening extract for your skin

Traditional Benefits of Licorice Root

Licorice root has traditionally been grown in Southern Europe and Western Asia, and it has been used for health issues for thousands of years. It is a very prominent extract used in Chinese Medicine.

“It has also been used in traditional Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Greek medicines to soothe an upset stomach, reduce inflammation, and treat upper respiratory problems (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).” Healthline

Even today, many people still use licorice root to treat digestive problems like acid reflux, coughs, heartburn, and some viral/bacterial infections. 

Licorice root tea is also a popular drink to soothe sore throats. 

Active compounds in the root of the licorice plant called glycyrrhizin give this ingredient it’s strong flavor but it also provides antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties- just one of the many benefits this plant provides.

9 Licorice Root Benefits for Skin

1. It is an emulsifier-

Recently, scientists have discovered that licorice root is an emulsifier, which means it aids in water-based and oil-based ingredients mix. This is great for the formulation of skin care products because it creates an ideal consistency. With the licorice root extract improving the product, it ensures that all of the components can absorb into the skin properly!

2. Soothing- 

The licorice root extract used in this option is said to have a soothing effect and helps to ease inflammation and irritated skin. The glycyrrhizin found in licorice can reduce redness, irritation, and swelling, and is used to treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema.

3. Helps Hyperpigmentation-

Hyperpigmentation occurs when your skin produces more melanin in certain patches or spots than in others, giving skin an uneven tone and darkened appearance. Licorice root combats this process by hindering melanin and free radical production. That’s part of why many gentle, effective dark spot removers contain licorice root extract to help even out skin spots.

4. UV Protection-

Licorice contains glabridin, which helps to stop discoloration in its tracks during and immediately after sun exposure. UV rays are the primary cause of skin discoloration, but glabridin contains UV-blocking enzymes that prevent new skin damage from occurring.

5. Gentle Retinol Alternative-

Licorice root is a gentle and natural alternative to retinol, which has many brightening and anti-aging benefits.

Pregnancy and nursing are a time when many skin care routines are put on hold. However, this usually means the loss of some of the most powerful ingredients in your skincare routine. Licorice root is a great alternative for those who are pregnant or have sensitive skin since it has powerful brightening and toning properties that can help you continue to treat your skin, even during pregnancy!

6. Contains a Powerful Antioxidant-

Licorice does well in treating atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis – and you can thank glycyrrhizin (glys-err-eye-zin) for that! It’s also the acid responsible for making licorice taste sweet! The official name for the licorice plant is Glycyrrhiza glabra root, which has powerful antioxidant properties. Incorporating an antioxidant into your skincare routine.

7. Healing/Protective Properties-

Licorice can help with healing skin conditions that occur from acne and other injuries. Licorice inhibits the production of melanin, an amino acid responsible for pigmentation in the skin that when present in excess results in unwanted effects like dark scars, discoloration, and even skin cancer. It is a great ingredient to add for speeding up the healing process of your skin.

Licorice root also contains a substance called Licochalcone A. It’s an active ingredient that helps your body produce higher levels of antioxidants, which fortify your skin’s defenses and prevent UV damage in the process. The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root have made it a popular skincare ingredient.

8. Anti-Microbial-

When licorice root is applied topically to the skin, it provides antimicrobial benefits. This makes it very useful for those with skin conditions such as acne and eczema because bacteria are less likely to grow.

9. Helps Achieve Soft Skin-

Licorice root helps to regenerate our skin’s elasticity, smoothen, and soften it. It also helps to preserve hyaluronic acid, which is a very popular moisturizer that keeps our skin plump and bouncy.

How to use licorice root in your skincare routine?

  • Like other spotfaders, it’s a good idea to look for this in a serum, which will be more concentrated and contain higher amounts of the ingredient. Serums are known to be extra productive skincare tools because they are formulated to deliver active ingredients effectively.
  • Consistency is Key, Licorice root is a very gentle skin lightener, so you need to be extra diligent when using these types of products in order to get the ideal results.
  • Although it is rare, licorice root does have the potential to be irritating, be sure to follow exact product directions when it comes to how often and when to use it.
  • And, while it should go without saying, be extra diligent about sun protection and daily SPF when using licorice extract (or any ingredient targeting hyperpigmentation). Sun exposure may counteract the benefits of any skin-brightening products you are using.

What other skincare ingredients pair well with licorice root?

Niacinamide- As a duo, niacinamide and licorice root can fade unwanted dark spots while calming any irritation you may have. Niacinimide 

Lactic Acid- Lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin, so treatments that include licorice root as well can help you achieve a smooth and bright appearance without the harshness/risk of irritation that some retinol products come with.

Squalene- Squaline paired with licorice root can provide soothing and hydrating benefits for dry/tired skin. There are many moisturizers on the market containing both of these ingredients to give you a luminous glow.

Salicylic Acid- If you are struggling with breakouts/acne, a combo of salicylic acid and licorice could help greatly! Salicylic acid clears clogged pores while breaking down excess sebum/oil, and the licorice root soothes the inflamed areas. 

When it comes to brightening skin, licorice is an ingredient that we can’t get enough of!

Whether you want excellent results for sun-induced freckles and spots, or simply want a natural alternative to chemical treatments for skin discoloration, this natural ingredient will leave your skin looking brighter in no time at all. We love licorice root because it works extremely well with acne-prone skin and even helps regulate oil production too!

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