licorice

Do you like licorice? We do, but not as much as our skin does! 

For years, licorice root extract was the unsung hero of the skin world, being often overshadowed by more popular ingredients like retinol and vitamin C. However, now this active ingredient is the “it girl” in the skincare products and for good reason.

This powerful little root boasts a whole host of benefits for our skin. From evening skin tone and helping with skin brightening, to treating inflamed skin and other skin conditions, there are plenty of reasons to start incorporating licorice root extract into your skincare routine.

Keep reading to find out what licorice extract is and how it can work miracles on all skin types! Trust us, you'll want to start using this magical ingredient in your skincare routine ASAP. 

Simply put: What is licorice root?

More than a delicious treat *Twizzerls anyone?*, licorice root is an herb that has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes dating back to ancient Southern Europe, China, and Egypt, because it's packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties that help in getting rid of existing dark spots, and can help brighten skin tone. 

The active ingredient in licorice root is glycyrrhizin *an overly complicated scientific term*, derived from the glycyrrhiza glabra plant, however, you will want to get a tattoo with this name after we tell you this: all the health benefits of licorice root are contained in this face-named ingredient!

This sweet root can be found in a variety of skincare products, including face creams, serums, and masks. Moreover, it is beneficial for all skin types, including sensitive skin and irritated skin, since it can treat atopic dermatitis and other health conditions. 

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6 Benefits of licorice root for skin

Licorice root is a popular ingredient in many Asian skincare products. And for good reason! The licorice root extract has been shown to have numerous benefits for the skin. So, what is licorice root good for? Here are 6 of the most notable benefits:

**A skin-soothing ingredient

One of the best licorice root benefits for skin is that it can help to soothe inflamed skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of glycyrrhizin, an active compound, can help to reduce swelling, redness, and itching, treating atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, and psoriasis. Licorice root can also help to heal wounds, reduce dark scars and ease inflammation.

**Licorice root for skin lightening

The antioxidant-rich ingredients of the licorice plant *aka glycyrrhizin* can help to shield the skin from free radical damage. Moreover, licorice root extract can help to lighten dark spots on the skin and treat uneven skin tone, resulting in glowing, healthy skin. 

**Fights acne-causing bacteria

The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of licorice extract make it an effective treatment for acne. Just like salicylic acid, licorice root is one of the natural alternatives that can control oil production and also help to reduce the size of pimples and prevent new breakouts from occurring if you have acne-prone skin.

Related article: A Must-Read Guide On How To Get Rid Of Acne And Not Die Trying

**Offers sun protection

Licorice root extract can provide long-term protection against sun damage. Like other antioxidants, i.e. vitamin e and vitamin c, glycyrrhizin has UV blocking enzymes that can help to protect the skin from sun exposure and UVB rays *aka, the ones that produce sunburns*, which can lead to irritated skin and dark spots. 

Additionally, licorice extract can also help to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer due to sun damage!

**Moisture, moisture, moisture!

Licorice root is a good soldier if you want to combat dryness. The glycyrrhizin content of licorice extract can help to attract and retain moisture in the skin. This can help to keep the skin texture feeling soft, smooth, and healthy. 

And you know what moisturized skin means? Fewer wrinkles and fine lines! 

**Excess melanin no more!

Licorice root extract can be very effective in treating hyperpigmentation. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin *aka pigment*. 

This can help to lighten skin spots and even out your overall skin tone. Moreover, since it is an anti-inflammatory too, licorice extract can help to reduce redness and swelling associated with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

How to include licorice root extract products in your skincare routine

Licorice root is a popular ingredient in many skin care products and it can be found in cleansers, topical gels, toners, serums, and even moisturizers

With many skincare benefits, we don’t blame you if you want to include licorice root extract in your routine ASAP! Here is how you should do it:

**Test it first!

Like any other new ingredient, you should do a patch test before including licorice root extract in your routine because even though this sweet root is mostly safe for all skin types, some people may experience side effects such as dryness, redness, and irritation

If you experience any side effects, please go to your board-certified dermatologist!

**Always play by the rules

Read the product label and apply the recommended amount of licorice root extract-rich product into your skin. 

Even if you are eager to see a significant improvement by applying the beneficial compounds of the glycyrrhiza glabra plant, don’t overdo it and have patience! 

**Don’t skip sunscreen

This is a no brainer that any board-certified dermatologist will tell you! Before using antioxidant-rich products, just like vitamin c  and vitamin e, you should always apply sunscreen to avoid worsening hyperpigmentation. 

**Beware, pregnant women!

When you have a little bun cooking in your belly, worrying about skin care ingredients is as common as having morning sickness. 

So, what do the experts say about using licorice extract skincare during pregnancy? The consensus seems to be that it is safe to use, as long as it is in small amounts.  

However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it's always best to speak with your doctor or board-certified dermatologist before using any new skincare products, just to be on the safe side.

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Our fave active ingredients to mix with licorice root extract

Yes, you can absolutely mix licorice root extract with other active ingredients to boost its amazing benefits and keep skin plump! Here are our top ones: 

Salicylic acid 

By mixing licorice root with salicylic acid you will create a powerful skin care treatment for oily and acne-prone skin! 

Licorice root can help to soothe the skin and control oil production, while salicylic acid exfoliates and unclogs pores. This combination can help to clear up acne and improve the overall appearance of the skin.

Aloe vera gel

Yes, yes, yes! Licorice root has anti-inflammatory benefits that can help soothe the skin. On the other hand, aloe vera gel has hydrating properties that can help keep the skin moisturized. Mixing these two ingredients together can calm and hydrate the skin *especially after sunburn*.

Glycolic acid

When you have a natural alternative that works as a brightener and can help lighten dark spots, and mix it with glycolic acid, an exfoliator that can help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, you get one thing:  brighter, more youthful skin!

So, don’t hesitate to use glycolic acid and licorice extract at the same time!

Green tea extract

Two anti-inflammatories together in the same skin care product? Yes, please!

Just like licorice, green tea is a powerful antioxidant that can treat skin conditions like redness and inflammation. Moreover, green tea extract can help to protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays.

However, if you have sensitive skin, start slowly using green tea mixed with licorice, since it can irritate your skin. 

Vitamin C

Licorice extract can be mixed with Vitamin C for a variety of benefits. Licorice is known to help lighten skin tone and improve elasticity while vitamin C can brighten the complexion and even out skin tone. When used together, these vitamin c and licorice can work wonders on the skin! 

Lactic acid

Licorice extract can also be mixed with lactic acid to create a gentle exfoliating treatment. Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid that dissolves the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be sloughed away revealing brighter, smoother skin underneath. The licorice plant can help to soothe and calm the skin while lactic acid does its job. 

Kojic acid 

Licorice extract and kojic acid can be combined together to create a lightening serum for the face. The root has a natural lightening agent, while kojic acid inhibits melanin production. When used together, these two ingredients can help to brighten the skin, combat discoloration, and reduce the appearance of dark spots. 

Azelaic acid

Licorice and azelaic acid can be used together to help brighten the skin and improve overall complexion. When used together, these two ingredients can help to fade dark skin and hyperpigmentation.

So, if you're looking for a natural way for skin brightening, we recommend trying licorice extract and azelaic serum. 

Tranexamic acid

Tranexamic acid is an amino acid that helps to inhibit melanin production, which can help to lighten the skin. When mixed together, this root and this acid can help to lighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark blemishes.

Warning: if your skin is sensitive, you should always do a patch test when mixing these two ingredients, since they are powerful and could cause more damage than good in your skin.

Read related article: Skincare Actives Not To Mix

Top 3 products with licorice extract 

Licorice-rich products are becoming more popular lately and you can find them in almost any skincare product type. 

This ingredient is really famous in Asia and, since we know you most love Asian beauty products, here are our hot picks just for you!

#1 Repair Serum with Ginseng and Snail Mucin: even and repair your skin’s texture with this licorice extract-rich serum! Mixed with ginseng and snail mucin, this serum is a Korean powerhouse for brightening skin. 

#2 Iunik Propolis Vitamin Eye Cream: tired of dark circles and spots around the eyes? Then this eye cream is a must! With one of our oh-so-fave ingredients, niacinamide, this formula is formulated to fade dark skin away. 

#3 Goodbye Redness Centella Mask: redness is not an option anymore with this face mask! Including licorice extract in its ingredients list, this mask will calm your skin, making it feel refreshed and hydrated. 

Where to find products with licorice extract?

If you’re looking to give your skincare routine a boost, licorice extract is the perfect ingredient to add in! 

This natural extract has been used for centuries to treat everything from skin irritations to sunburns. And now, thanks to the skincare gods and goddesses, we know that the licorice plant can also help improve complexion, reduce wrinkles and fight blemishes too! 

So, if you’re looking for a new addition to your skincare routine that will work wonders, licorice root is the answer. In fact, there are plenty of products on the market today that include it as an ingredient. 

So what are you waiting for? Get shopping for some licorice skincare products and start seeing the amazing results for yourself. Not sure where to start? No problem! 

Asian Beauty Essentials got a great selection of licorice extract-based skincare items right here on our website that will help get you started on your new, improved skin care routine. 

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