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The effect of licorice root in skin care

Licorice root, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, is more than just a popular ingredient for sweets. In skincare, it reveals its true magic through impressive soothing, brightening, and anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to these versatile effects, licorice root is a valuable ingredient, especially for sensitive skin and for treating skin discolorations and inflammations.
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Licorice Root at a Glance

  • Source: Extracted from the roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra using alcoholic or aqueous methods​​.
  • Effects on the Skin: Soothing, brightening, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant​​.
  • Ideal for: People with sensitive skin, pigmentation spots, acne, and inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea or eczema​​​​.
  • Interesting Fact: Can reduce hyperpigmentation even better than hydroquinone​​.

The Effects of Licorice Root

Licorice root contains a variety of bioactive components, including glabridin, glycyrrhizin, and licochalcone A, which benefit the skin in various ways.
  • Soothing and Anti-inflammatory: Glycyrrhizin, a major component of licorice root, exhibits strong anti-inflammatory properties effective in treating inflammatory skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema. Glycyrrhizin modulates the inflammatory process by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibiting the activity of COX-2 and iNOS​​​​.
  • Reduces Hyperpigmentation: Glabridin, another valuable molecule in licorice root, is known for its skin-brightening properties. Studies have shown that glabridin inhibits tyrosinase activity, a key enzyme in melanin production, thus reducing the formation of skin discolorations. It also has antioxidant properties, further improving the appearance of the skin​​​​.
  • Antioxidant: The antioxidant properties of glabridin and licochalcone A help protect the skin from free radicals generated by UV radiation and pollution. These antioxidants prevent lipid peroxidation in cell membranes and help the skin maintain its natural glow and elasticity​​.

Proper Application

  • Frequency: For optimal results, you should use products containing licorice root extract daily - whether in the morning and/or evening is up to you.
  • Concentration: A concentration of 0.5% to 2% has been found effective in reducing skin discolorations and soothing inflammation​​.
  • Combining with Other Ingredients: It pairs excellently with other soothing and moisturizing ingredients.

Licorice Root Extract vs. Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate: What's the Difference?

The main difference between licorice root extract and dipotassium glycyrrhizinate lies in the concentration and stability of the active ingredients. Dipotassium glycyrrhizinate is a more stable derivative of glycyrrhizin, particularly effective in reducing skin inflammation and supporting wound healing. Studies have shown that dipotassium glycyrrhizinate improves skin barrier function and accelerates healing processes in skin injuries​​​​. Due to its high efficacy and stability, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate is often preferred for treating sensitive and inflamed skin.


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