One wonderful herb that has a multitude of benefits is the licorice plant. Its root primarily has been used to treat several disorders since ancient times. It also has many benefits for the skin, which range from offering skin lightening to anti-inflammatory properties.
If you have eczema or psoriasis, rosacea or hyperpigmentation, this herbal extract can be the answer to your problems. Licorice root extract can address several skin conditions. SkinKraft tells you how to use this wonder herb. Read on to learn more.
What Is Licorice Root Extract?
The root of the licorice plant comprises phytochemical constituents that help protect and brighten your skin. It is a plant that grows in Southern Europe and West Asia and has been used to treat various health conditions.
Its extract contains nearly 300 compounds that have antiviral , anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is derived from the root of the licorice plant -- Glycyrrhiza glabra. It is extensively used in the food, medicine, beverage, and skin care industries.
Benefits Of Licorice Root Extract For Skin
Licorice root extract is known to contain a compound known as glycyrrhizin , which has anti-inflammatory  and antimicrobial properties. It is used to treat skin conditions like eczema  and acne . As a rich source of antioxidants, it also offers skin lightening and anti-aging benefits.
According to studies, licorice root extract, or Glycyrrhiza glabra extract, may help fight bacteria that infect the skin. Its antimicrobial  properties help combat Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria, which causes skin infections such as folliculitis , impetigo , and cellulitis .
1. Works As An Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Studies  conducted on 60 adults who had eczema over two weeks revealed that when a topical gel containing licorice root extract was applied, their condition improved to quite an extent.
Glycyrrhizin has anti-inflammatory properties , which can reduce irritation, itching, and redness on the skin when used topically in formulations. It is extensively used to treat psoriasis , rosacea , and atopic dermatitis.
2. Reduces Hyperpigmentation
When your skin cells produce excessive melanin only in certain areas and normal amounts in others, it gives the skin a patchy appearance known as hyperpigmentation.
When the skin is exposed to free radicals in the body, the cells that generate melanin get damaged and produce more melanin than usual.
Licorice root extract fights the free radicals by inhibiting their production and preventing excess melanin from being produced.
Most formulations that work to remove dark spots or treat hyperpigmentation, therefore, contain licorice root extract. It effectively helps remove dark spots  and lightens them to give you an even skin tone.
3. Glycyrrhizin And Anti-Ageing
Licorice root extract contains glycyrrhizin, which is a very potent antioxidant. When used topically, the antioxidants protect your skin against damage from the sun's UV rays and free radicals. This, in turn, prevents premature aging.
4. Glabridin And Skin Lightening
One of the most potent and active compounds of licorice root extract is glabridin . It has skin lightening properties and prevents the production of the enzyme tyrosinase , which makes the skin go dark after exposure to the sun.
It is also known to prevent pigmentation that occurs due to the UVB rays of the sun. It may be used in sunscreens to provide both benefits in one formulation.
Another compound in licorice root extract known as liquiritin helps with skin lightening. It works to disintegrate the existing excess melanin and breaks it down, thereby reducing skin pigmentation.
5. Licochalcone A And Skin Protection
Licochalcone A  is an active ingredient present in licorice root extract that protects your skin by strengthening its defense mechanisms.
When applied, it increases antioxidant production in the skin, preventing damage from the sun’s rays even if you are not wearing sunscreen.
Licochalcone A also helps in controlling oil production, which can, in turn, reduce acne. It also delays the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How To Use Licorice Root Extract?
Licorice root extract helps to brighten and soothe itchy and irritated skin. It can be used in formulations that are specifically made to treat dark spots.
A formulation with licorice in skin brightening serums and sheet masks can give you brighter, glowing skin over a period with regular use. Serums being concentrated may contain higher quantities of the extract.
When licorice root extract is used in combination with vitamin C, it can protect the skin from sun damage and reduce pigmentation significantly. However, it must be used before you apply sunscreen.
If you have itchy, irritated, or inflamed skin, choose a topical gel with licorice root extract. It soothes skin conditions that cause itchiness.
You can even create your own formula by mixing licorice root extract powder with aloe vera gel.
Who Should Use Licorice Root Extract?
How Often Should You Use Licorice Root Extract?
Though it depends on the instructions on the product’s packaging, usually, applying a formulation with licorice root extract once or twice a day should suffice. If it is a medicated topical cream or gel, check with your dermatologist.
Side Effects Of Licorice Root Extract
On its own, licorice root extract rarely causes an allergy. It may lead to an allergic reaction when mixed with other ingredients that the skin may be sensitive to.
Licorice root extract is known to be effective when mixed with vitamin C and niacinamide -- which are proven skin brightening agents and antioxidants.
To avoid an allergic reaction or irritation, avoid using a licorice based formulation with hydroquinone and retinol.
Adverse Interactions Of Licorice Root Extract
Licorice extract is not known to cause adverse reactions on its own. However, certain medications like diuretics, birth control pills or hormone therapy, corticosteroids, medicines to regulate blood pressure, and lower potassium levels may interact with licorice.
If taken orally, it is safer to consult your doctor before taking it regularly.
Licorice root extract can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions. You can even use it to undo the damage caused by the UV rays of the sun. In powder form or as part of a topical gel or lotion, it is an effective herbal remedy.
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