When I was younger, I loved 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. Now it’s not for my taste buds only. My skin wants its fix, too.
Yep, my skin has a sweet tooth, too. Here’s why:
What 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 your 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?
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
1. Licorice Fades Away 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 tyrosinase, 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.
Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Hydroquinone In Skincare
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. If your skin needs a little soothing, licorice root is the one to call.
Related: 9 Soothing Ingredients That Can Calm Down Sensitive Skin
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.
Related: Common Antioxidants Used In Skincare Products
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Licorice Extract?
- Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($88.00): available at Dermstore, Nordstrom, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00): available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Serum ($34.00): 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?