5 Benefits Of Licorice Extract For Skin, Its Uses, & Risks

Learn how to use this natural remedy to reduce inflammation and other skin benefits.

By Arshiya Syeda

Licorice root extract is one of the natural alternatives gaining popularity in the cosmetic industry as it helps reduce stubborn dark spots, acne, and several other skin conditions. Licorice protects your skin from the damaging effects of the sun and helps in managing acne and discoloration, reducing dark spots, and more. Keep reading to know more about licorice and how it helps you tackle your skin issues to keep it healthy.

What Is Licorice Extract?

Popularly known as mulethi or yashtimadhu, licorice plant is a perennial legume indigenous to Middle East Asia and India used to treat various medical ailments. Licorice roots are processed to obtain their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant active compounds, which include glycyrrhizin acid and glabridin.

Benefits Of Using Licorice Extract For Your Skin

1. May Decrease Inflammation

Woman with red and inflammed skin

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Skin disruptions caused by pollution, diet, and lifestyle result in increased skin inflammation, itchy, swollen, and red spots, which are treated using topical hydrocortisone creams. The glycyrrhizin in licorice root relieves the swelling and redness in your skin, much like hydrocortisone (1), (2). The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice can subdue the signs of itchiness and redness.

Using licorice extract can help manage the symptoms of skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis (3). According to research, the glabridin in licorice helps combat skin inflammation caused by high-glucose stress (4).

2. May Combat Hyperpigmentation

Woman with hyperpigmentation

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The accumulation of free radicals in your body increases the production of melanin by your skin cells; this creates dark, patchy appearances on your skin known as hyperpigmentation. Free radical production is inhibited by licorice root extract. It also prevents the over-production of melanin (5).

3. May Reduce Sun Damage

Woman getting skin damaged from sun exposure

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Prolonged sun exposure can create dark patches and dullness in your skin.

Glabrene, a powerful skin lightening agent found in licorice extract, prevents the synthesis of tyrosinase enzymes (6). These enzymes are to blame for darkening of the skin after sun exposure (7).

Liquitrin is another licorice component that aids in skin lightening as it breaks down extra melanin in your skin and protects it from hyperpigmentation (8).

4. May Alleviate Acne

Woman with acne

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Acne is characterized by bacterial infections and excessive oil production. Natural antibacterial effects of licorice aid in acne reduction.

Licorice regulates oil production and minimizes irritation on the skin and may be beneficial in lowering the red, patchy look in those with rosacea.

5. Offers Skin Protection

Licochalcone A, an active component in licorice, provides skin defense advantages as it encourages your skin to create more antioxidants. Antioxidants strengthen the skin’s natural defenses while the use of licorice lowers the incidence of UV-induced skin cancer.

Licorice extract may also aid in the regeneration of elastin and collagen in your skin as it contains nutrients such as amino acids, which are proven to promote skin hydration and moisturization.

Explore the various ways you can incorporate licorice root extract into your skincare routine.

How To Use Licorice Root Extract For Your Skin

Products And Formulations

Woman holding a sheet mask

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Creams, gels, sheet masks, and lotions containing licorice are available and regular usage might help you achieve a radiant complexion. The extract content in licorice serums is greater.

Choose a gel-based licorice skin product for itchy and irritated skin. You can also make your own mixture by combining it with aloe vera gel to relieve skin irritation.

  • With Vitamin C

The combination of licorice with vitamin C is increasingly popular as it provides better protection against sun damage and hyperpigmentation. Look for serums that contain both the ingredients and use them before you apply a sunscreen.

  • As Powder

You can also ingest licorice root powder for added benefit. However, keep a close tab on the amount you consume every day to avoid any harmful side effects (17).

Are you wondering how effective licorice root extract could be for you? Read on.

Who Should Use Licorice Extract?

Most skin types can withstand licorice extract.

If you are pregnant or nursing, avoid drinking licorice extracts.

According to several studies, mothers who consume licorice while pregnant may raise their child’s chances of cognitive damage (10).

How Often Should You Use Licorice Extract?

Follow the package directions if you’re using a topical application. A tiny quantity of the product is usually adequate. However, your dermatologist will instruct you on the proper dosage if you use a medicated licorice cream or gel.

There is no standard advice for licorice supplementation. Restrict glycyrrhizin intake to fewer than 100 mg per day, according to the

World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Scientific Committee of Food (SCF) (11).

After consulting your doctor, you can also take deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) powders or capsules.

What Are The Side Effects Of Licorice Extract?

  • Topical Application Of Licorice Extract

An allergic response to licorice root extract is uncommon. However, when combined with other substances, it might create a response on sensitive skin.

To avoid skin irritation and allergies, do not use a licorice formulation with a product containing retinol or hydroquinone.

  • Consuming An Excess Of Licorice Root Supplements

Licorice tea and supplements are typically safe when consumed in small amounts and for a short period of time. However, in excessive quantities, they might have negative consequences.

Cortisol levels can rise as a result of elevated glycyrrhizin and might have a detrimental impact on your body’s fluid and electrolyte balances.

  • Reduced potassium levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Excess licorice can also impact the function of your heart and cause fluid accumulation in the lungs (17). It is best to avoid consuming licorice extracts if you have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, or low potassium levels (21).

  • Adverse Drug Interactions With Licorice

Licorice extract does not cause adverse reactions (when consumed in low doses) on its own. It can, however, adversely react with certain medications (17), (22). Licorice supplements may interact with:

  • Diuretics
  • Birth control pills or hormone therapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Blood thinners
  • Cholesterol regulating medicines
  • Painkillers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

If you are on any of these above-mentioned medications, consult your doctor before taking licorice.

Infographic: Licorice DIY Face Mask

Licorice extract helps solve several skin issues, including acne, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation. It is available in the form of sheet masks, gels, creams, lotions, and supplements. However, you can also mix it with other natural ingredients to prepare face masks.

Check out the infographic below to learn how to prepare a licorice face mask with honey.

licorice diy face mask [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

In Conclusion

Licorice extract has the ability to enhance skin tone, decrease inflammation, redness, and combat acne-causing germs. Licorice’s active components (glycyrrhizin acid and glabridin) have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activities and appear to be beneficial to your skin’s health. However, before taking it orally, be aware of its side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does licorice remove facial hair?

Anecdotal evidence claim that licorice powder face masks can reduce facial hair.

Can I add licorice powder to my cream?

Yes. Licorice powder is appropriate for skin care products such as creams. However, do a patch test before using it to avoid allergic reactions and ensure to follow the product instructions to use it.

Key Takeaways

  • Licorice root extract is widely used in skincare and cosmetics for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • It helps soothe inflamed skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, blemishes, and signs of sun damage.
  • Moreover, it helps strengthen your natural skin barrier with regular use.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The anti-inflammatory activity of licorice a widely used Chinese herb
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7012004/
  2. Glycyrrhizin inhibits LPS-induced inflammatory mediator production in endometrial epithelial cells
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28552807/
  3. Review of Pharmacological Effects of Glycyrrhiza sp. and its Bioactive Compounds
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ptr.2362
  4. Glabridin an isoflavan from licorice root downregulates iNOS expression and activity under high-glucose stress and inflammation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25737160/
  5. The inhibitory effect of glabridin from licorice extracts on melanogenesis and inflammation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9870547/
  6. Glabrene and isoliquiritigenin as tyrosinase inhibitors from licorice roots
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12590456/
  7. A comprehensive review on tyrosinase inhibitors
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327992/
  8. Natural skin-whitening compounds for the treatment of melanogenesis (Review)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271691/
  9. Licorice abuse: time to send a warning message
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498851/
  10. Maternal Licorice Consumption and Detrimental Cognitive and Psychiatric Outcomes in Children
    https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/170/9/1137/165310
  11. Licorice abuse: time to send a warning message
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498851/
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and... more

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