Licorice is a sweet-tasting root that has been used for centuries as both food and medicine. The active ingredient in licorice, glycyrrhizin, is responsible for its sweet flavor as well as its medicinal properties.
In food, licorice is commonly used as a flavoring agent, particularly in candy and baking. It can also be brewed into tea or added to coffee for a sweet and aromatic drink. Whether you're looking to add some sweetness to your food or seeking out a natural remedy, licorice root may be the answer.
Licorice is packed with antioxidants, which help to protect your skin from damage. It's also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can help to reduce inflammation and redness. Licorice extract is also a natural skin brightener, so it can help to make your skin look brighter and more radiant. If you're looking for an all-natural way to improve your skin care regimen, consider adding licorice root to your routine!
What is Licorice?
The licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a member of the pea family that is native to southern Europe and Asia and is known to grow extensively in Indonesia. The plant grows to a height of 2-3 feet and has small violet flowers.
The licorice plant contains many compounds that are responsible for its medicinal properties, including glycyrrhizin, licochalcone, and isoflavones. Glycyrrhizin is the compound that gives licorice its sweetness as well as its therapeutic effects. Licochalcone is a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens that can help to balance hormones and reduce inflammation.
Licorice has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for its healing properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, licorice is often used to treat stomach problems, bronchitis, and sore throat. In Ayurvedic medicine, licorice is used to treat respiratory problems, digestive problems, and skin conditions. Indonesia is renowned for its natural beauty remedies, and one of its most popular ingredients is licorice. Jamu, a traditional Indonesian herbal medicine, often uses licorice for its brightening and anti-aging properties. Licorice is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to help improve the appearance of dark spots and fine lines. It can also help to even out skin tone and make the skin appear more radiant. When used topically, licorice can help to soothe inflammation and reduce redness. In Indonesia, Jamu has been used for centuries as a way to maintain healthy and beautiful skin. Thanks to its potent combination of natural ingredients, Jamu is becoming increasingly popular around the world as a natural alternative to conventional skincare.
The Benefits of Licorice for Your Skin:
Not only does licorice root have many medicinal properties that make it beneficial for your health, but the chemical compounds naturally found in licorice also have impressive benefits for your complexion. Keep on reading to find out the reasons why licorice should be part of your skincare routine!
1. Even out skin tone
When we talk about tackling hyperpigmentation, hydroquinone often comes up as the gold standard of skin-lightening. Hydroquinone is a skin-bleaching agent that is commonly used to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation and discoloration (such as freckles, melasma, age spots, and acne scars). The aromatic phenolic compound has been used as a whitening agent for more than 50 years. However, its safety and toxicity have been questioned in the last two decades. Hydroquinone indeed can have some harmful side effects, such as skin irritation, redness, and burning. In some cases, it can also lead to even worse hyperpigmentation.
Licorice root is a safe and natural alternative to hydroquinone that can help to lighten hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone. The main benefit known of licorice is depigmenting and skin brightening. Thanks to its potent combination of ingredients, licorice root can provide many benefits for your skin without the risk of harmful side effects. Licorice extract has 16 times more efficacy than hydroquinone, without the harmful side effects or safety concerns. Its main active ingredient is 10–40% glabridin. Glabridin offers 50% inhibition of tyrosinase (an enzyme responsible for the production of melanin) activity with no attendant toxicity to cells. Glycyrrhizin helps to brighten the skin and even out skin tone.
Not only prevents the formation of new spots, but it also fades the existing ones, thanks to an active compound called liquiritin which helps dissolve and eliminate existing melanin. It surely is a natural skin brightener that can help make your skin look brighter and more radiant!
2. Protect your skin from damage
The aging process causes changes to our skin, including wrinkles, thinning, and discoloration. These changes are due to a combination of factors, including decreased production of collagen and elastin, damage from ultraviolet radiation, and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cellular components like DNA and proteins. Reactive oxygen species are a type of free radical that is produced naturally as a by-product of metabolism. However, exposure to environmental stressors like UV radiation can increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in oxidative stress.
The good news is that licorice is packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from ROS by scavenging them before they can cause any damage. Research suggests that flavonoids may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.
3. Help reduce inflammation and redness
Eczema and psoriasis are both inflammatory skin conditions that can cause redness, itchiness, and flaking. Eczema is caused by a defect in the skin barrier that allows irritants and allergens in and moisture out. Psoriasis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to produce too many skin cells. These extra cells build up on the surface of the skin, leading to redness, itching, and flaking.
Although the exact cause of both skin conditions is unknown, at its most basic it is caused by a combination of immune system activation, genetics, environmental triggers, and stress. Both conditions can be frustrating and difficult to manage, fortunately, there are effective natural treatments for both eczema and psoriasis. One of the most promising is flavonoids.
Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient that can be found in many fruits and vegetables. They have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make them effective at treating a variety of conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
A number of studies have shown that flavonoids can help to reduce the severity of symptoms in both eczema and psoriasis. In one study, patients with mild-to-moderate eczema who were treated with a cream containing licorice extract for eight weeks experienced a significant reduction in itchiness, redness, and dryness.
Licorice root is an effective natural treatment for inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Thanks to its flavonoids, licorice root can help to soothe the skin and reduce redness, itchiness, and dryness. If you suffer from either of these conditions, consider adding products with licorice into your skincare routine. All in all, licorice is a skin-soothing ingredient that is great for irritated skin and calm redness.
4. Regulate oil production
Some studies suggest that a compound in licorice called licochalcone can regulate oil production. This is good news for people who suffer from acne, as sebum is a major contributor to the formation of acne. Acne is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, hormones, and inflammation. When sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, it can mix with dead skin cells and form a plug in the pores.
Last but not least, licochalcone also provides anti-inflammatory to soothe acne-prone skin.
No matter what your skincare goals are, incorporating licorice root into your routine is sure to give you some impressive results. Thanks to its combination of potent contents, licorice root is a sweet way to better skin!