As a kid, I loved receiving licorice candy.
It’s delicious. Plus, my sister never liked it, so I didn’t have to share. 😉
Now that I’m older, I’m even a bigger fan of licorice. Only, now it’s not for my taste buds, anymore. My skin wants its fix, too.
Yep, my skin has a sweet tooth, too. Here’s why:
What The Heck Is Licorice?
Licorice is the root of the Glycyrrhiza Glabra plant, a herbaceous perennial legume that’s native of Southern Europe and Asia.
To get the extract, you simply boil the root and let most of the water evaporate. What’s left is a syrup that has lots of brightening, soothing and moisturizing properties for the skin.
By the way, you won’t find licorice on the labels of your lotions and potions. Instead, you’ll find one of its many forms (yep, they all have absurdly complicated names to confuse you more):
- Glycyrrhiza glabra
- Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
- Anything that ends in “Glycyrrhizate”
So, what does it do for the skin?
1. Licorice Brightens Dark Spots
I’m still too young to have dark spots (gosh, I hope I haven’t jinxed it now!) but if I had, licorice would help me get rid of them.
Licorice root works because it’s loaded with glabridin, a substance that inhibits tyrosinane, an enzyme that’s necessary to produce melanin. Basically, it stops the dark spots in their tracks and makes them lighter, too.
Licorice is a natural and gentler alternative to traditional remedies such as hydroquinone. Not that there’s anything wrong with hydroquinone. It’s the gold standard for treating hyperpigmentation.
But it can be quite harsh if you have sensitive skin. If your skin’s prone to irritation, you may want to try licorice first. That’s all.
2. Licorice Soothes Skin
Licorice is also a rich source of glycyrrhizate, a group of substances that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can soothe contact dermatitis, psoriasis, irritations…
It works by reducing hyaluronidase, one of the MMP enzymes that break down healthy tissue when your skin is inflamed.
So, if your skin needs a little soothing, licorice root is the one to call.Licorice isn't just tasty. It also soothes skin and helps get rid of dark spots and wrinkles.Click To Tweet
3. Licorice Is A Powerful Antioxidant
Oh my, is licorice full of good stuff. It has glabidrin as well. That’s an antioxidant that fights the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles.
Just don’t use it alone. When it comes to antioxidants, the more the merrier.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Licorice Extract?
Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($88.00)
Need to tackle both wrinkles and dark spots at the same time? This’ll do the trick. It’s loaded with retinol, which helps get rid of both. Ferulic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals. It’s in good company here cos the serum is loaded with antioxidants. And skin-brighteners. Licorice, arbutin, mulberry leaf extract… All stuff that can lighten your dark spots. Yep, it’s on the pricey side, but it delivers! Available at Sephora.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00)
This is another amazing anti-aging serum. This time, it features 15% vitamin C, which can fight wrinkles, boost collagen production and brighten skin. Add in licorice, sodium hyaluronate and moisturizing plant oils and you have a serum that hydrates skin while reducing dark spots and wrinkles. Talk about multitasking! Available at Sephora.
Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Serum ($34.00)
This is a must for sensitive skin, but everyone else should use it, too. It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory stuff that can soothe redness and inflammation. Inflammation is something that happens to all of us, but too often only deep down into the skin, where we never see it. But we see its work later. Yup, that’s wrinkles. This serum will help you keep them away. Available at Paula’s Choice.
The Bottom Line
Licorice doesn’t just satisfy your sweet tooth. It also soothes your skin, gets rid of those pesky dark spots and even helps to keep wrinkles away. What more could you ask for?
Do you use skincare products with licorice? If so, how do they work for you?