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Benefits of Licorice Root for the Face and How to Use It


Overview of Licorice Root

Licorice root, derived from the plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a popular ingredient in traditional medicine and modern skincare. Known for its sweet flavor, it contains various bioactive compounds such as glycyrrhizin, liquiritin, and glabridin, which contribute to its therapeutic properties. Licorice root is widely used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin-brightening benefits.


Historical Uses in Skincare

Historically, licorice root has been utilized in different cultures for its medicinal properties. In ancient Egypt, it was used in skin care concoctions to soothe and heal the skin. Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda also incorporated licorice root for its anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating properties. Over time, its use has evolved, and today it is a key ingredient in various skincare products aimed at treating hyperpigmentation, reducing inflammation, and protecting the skin from environmental damage.

Benefits of Licorice Root for the Face

Skin Brightening

Licorice root is renowned for its skin-brightening properties, making it a popular ingredient in products aimed at achieving a more even skin tone. The key compound responsible for this effect is glabridin, which inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is crucial in the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. By reducing tyrosinase activity, licorice root helps lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Reduction of Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation

Dark spots and hyperpigmentation can result from various factors such as sun exposure, hormonal changes, and acne scars. Licorice root's ability to inhibit melanin production helps in fading these dark spots over time. Regular use of licorice-infused skincare products can lead to a more uniform complexion, reducing the appearance of age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Additionally, licorice root contains liquiritin, another compound that disperses and removes existing melanin in the skin, further contributing to its brightening effects.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Licorice root possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties, which make it highly beneficial for soothing irritated and inflamed skin. The glycyrrhizin in licorice root reduces inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes that trigger the inflammatory response. This makes licorice root an excellent choice for treating skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis.

Soothing Irritated Skin

Irritated skin can be caused by various factors, including environmental stressors, allergies, and certain skincare products. Licorice root helps calm the skin and reduce redness and swelling. Its soothing properties are particularly effective for sensitive skin, providing relief without causing further irritation. By incorporating licorice root into your skincare routine, you can achieve a calmer, more balanced complexion.

Benefits of Licorice Root for the Face

Antioxidant Effects

Licorice root is rich in antioxidants, which are essential for protecting the skin against environmental damage. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage skin cells and accelerate the aging process. By combating oxidative stress, licorice root aids in maintaining a youthful and healthy complexion.

Protection Against Environmental Damage

Environmental factors such as UV radiation, pollution, and harsh weather conditions can take a toll on the skin, leading to premature aging, dullness, and various skin conditions. The antioxidants in licorice root help fortify the skin's natural defense mechanisms, providing a protective barrier against these harmful elements. Regular use of licorice-infused skincare products can enhance the skin's resilience, promoting a brighter and more radiant appearance.

Anti-Aging Benefits

Licorice root offers significant anti-aging benefits, making it a valuable ingredient in skincare routines aimed at reducing the visible signs of aging. Its rich blend of bioactive compounds helps in maintaining skin elasticity and firmness, leading to a more youthful appearance.

Reduction of Fine Lines and Wrinkles

One of the prominent anti-aging benefits of licorice root is its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidants present in licorice root combat free radicals, which are a primary cause of skin aging. By protecting the skin from oxidative stress, licorice root helps in preserving the skin’s collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for skin's structure and elasticity. Additionally, licorice root’s anti-inflammatory properties further support skin health, preventing the breakdown of these essential proteins and contributing to smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

Acne Treatment

Licorice root is effective in treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and oil-controlling properties. These qualities make it suitable for both preventing and reducing acne breakouts.

Control of Oil Production

Excessive oil production can clog pores and contribute to acne formation. Licorice root helps regulate oil production by balancing sebum levels in the skin. This reduces the likelihood of pores becoming blocked, thereby preventing the development of new acne lesions.

Reduction of Acne

The antimicrobial properties of licorice root help in combating the bacteria that cause acne. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory effects soothe inflamed skin and reduce redness associated with acne breakouts. Regular use of skincare products containing licorice root can lead to clearer skin and fewer acne flare-ups.

How to Use Licorice Root for Skincare

DIY Licorice Root Mask


  • 1 tablespoon of licorice root powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (preferably raw)
  • 1 teaspoon of yogurt (plain)
  • Optional: a few drops of aloe vera gel


  1. Grind the licorice root into a fine powder using a grinder or mortar and pestle.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the licorice root powder with honey and yogurt until you get a smooth paste.
  3. If desired, add aloe vera gel to the mixture and blend well.
  4. Apply the mask evenly to cleansed face and neck, avoiding the eye area.
  5. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry.
  7. Follow up with your regular moisturizer.

This DIY licorice root mask can help brighten your complexion, reduce hyperpigmentation, and provide soothing benefits to your skin. Use it once or twice a week for best results.

Licorice Root Extracts and Serums: Application Tips and Best Practices

Choosing the Right Product:

When selecting licorice root extracts or serums, opt for products that contain high concentrations of active ingredients like glabridin and liquiritin for maximum effectiveness.

Application Tips:

  • Cleansing: Start with a clean face by washing away any dirt or makeup residue.
  • Patch Test: Perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to ensure compatibility and to check for any allergic reactions.
  • Amount: Use a pea-sized amount of licorice root extract or serum for the entire face.
  • Application: Gently apply the product onto your face and neck using clean fingertips or a cotton pad, avoiding the eye area.
  • Massage: Lightly massage the serum into your skin using upward and outward motions to promote absorption.
  • Frequency: Follow the recommended usage instructions provided by the manufacturer, typically once or twice daily.
  • Sun Protection: Always follow up with sunscreen during the day, as licorice root extracts do not provide sufficient sun protection on their own.
  • Moisturizer: Finish your skincare routine with a suitable moisturizer to lock in hydration.

Best Practices:

  • Consistency is key: Incorporate licorice root extracts or serums into your daily skincare routine for sustained benefits.
  • Monitor results: Keep track of changes in your skin's appearance and adjust usage as needed.
  • Combine with complementary products: Consider using other skincare products that complement the benefits of licorice root, such as vitamin C serums or hyaluronic acid moisturizers.
  • Consultation: If you have specific skin concerns or conditions, consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional before starting a new regimen.

By following these application tips and best practices, you can effectively harness the benefits of licorice root extracts and serums for healthier, more radiant skin.

Licorice-infused Creams and Lotions: Choosing the Right Product for Your Skin Type

Understanding Your Skin Type:

Before choosing a licorice-infused cream or lotion, assess your skin type to determine specific needs such as hydration levels, sensitivity, and concerns like acne or aging.

Choosing the Right Product:

Consider the following factors when selecting a licorice-infused cream or lotion:

  • Hydration: If you have dry skin, opt for creams with added moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid or shea butter.
  • Acne-prone skin: Look for lotions that are non-comedogenic and formulated with licorice root for its anti-inflammatory and oil-controlling properties.
  • Sensitive skin: Choose products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic to minimize the risk of irritation.
  • Aging concerns: Select creams enriched with licorice root extracts known for their anti-aging benefits, such as reducing fine lines and improving skin elasticity.
  • Skin brightening: If you aim to even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation, opt for formulations containing higher concentrations of glabridin and liquiritin.

Additional Considerations:

  • Ingredients: Check the ingredient list for additional beneficial components such as antioxidants (e.g., vitamin C) or soothing agents (e.g., chamomile).
  • SPF: Consider using a daytime moisturizer with added sun protection (SPF) to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Reviews and Recommendations: Research product reviews and seek recommendations from dermatologists or skincare professionals to find a licorice-infused cream or lotion that suits your specific skin concerns.

By selecting the right licorice-infused product tailored to your skin type and concerns, you can effectively incorporate this beneficial ingredient into your skincare routine for improved complexion and overall skin health.

Precautions and Side Effects of Licorice Root in Skincare

Potential Allergic Reactions:

While licorice root is generally considered safe for topical use, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or sensitivities. Common allergic reactions include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling

How to Avoid Allergic Reactions:

To minimize the risk of allergic reactions when using licorice root in skincare:

  • Patch Test: Before applying any new skincare product containing licorice root, perform a patch test. Apply a small amount of the product to a discreet area of skin (like the inner forearm) and wait 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions.
  • Read Labels: Carefully read the ingredient list of skincare products to ensure you are not allergic to any components, including preservatives or fragrances.
  • Consult a Dermatologist: If you have a history of skin allergies or sensitivities, consult with a dermatologist before incorporating licorice root into your skincare routine.
  • Discontinue Use: If you experience any itching, redness, or irritation after using a licorice root product, discontinue use immediately and rinse your skin thoroughly with water.
  • Seek Medical Advice: In case of severe allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, seek medical attention immediately.

By taking these precautions and being aware of potential side effects, you can safely enjoy the benefits of licorice root in your skincare regimen.

Conclusion: Incorporating Licorice Root into Your Skincare Routine

Summary of Benefits:

Licorice root offers a wide range of benefits for skincare:

  • Skin Brightening: Reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Soothes irritated skin and reduces redness.
  • Antioxidant: Protects against environmental damage and oxidative stress.
  • Anti-Aging: Reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin elasticity.
  • Acne Treatment: Controls oil production and helps in reducing acne.

Final Tips for Incorporating Licorice Root into Your Skincare Routine:

  • Choose the right products: Select skincare products containing licorice root that suit your skin type and specific concerns.
  • Perform patch tests: Always perform a patch test before using new products to check for any allergic reactions.
  • Consistency is key: Incorporate licorice root into your daily skincare routine to maximize its benefits.
  • Combine with other skincare ingredients: Consider combining licorice root with complementary ingredients like vitamin C or hyaluronic acid for enhanced results.
  • Monitor results: Pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust your routine as needed.
  • Consult a dermatologist: If you have sensitive skin or specific skin conditions, seek advice from a dermatologist before starting a new skincare regimen.

By incorporating licorice root into your skincare routine thoughtfully and consistently, you can achieve healthier, more radiant skin over time.


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