Licorice Root Extract for Inflammation, Hyperpigmentation, Acne & More – Activist Skincare

Ingredient Spotlight: Licorice Root Extract


licorice root extract in skin care

While its flavor is polarizing, licorice has many fans when it comes to skincare. It’s beneficial for a wide range of skin problems and we include in as an active ingredient in a high number of our custom skincare orders. But what exactly is it and what does it do for your skin?

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Beauty

Licorice root extract is derived from the roots of the plant Glycyrrhiza Glabra, commonly grown in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. It is one of the oldest and most widely used medicinal herbs for inflammation and is the most frequently used herb in Chinese traditional medicine today. Licorice root extract has long been used for medicinal purposes, but less known about this plant are its benefits for beauty and skin care. 

What Makes Licorice Root Extract So Effective?

There are three main components to licorice root extract: Glabridin, Licochalcone, and Glycyrrhizin. These elements serve as the ultimate cocktail for your skin problems. (Trust us, this will be the best cocktail you will try all year!)

Broken down, the licorice root extract combination of healing powers looks like this:

  1. Glabridin works by hindering the production of melanin, which is the pigment that causes skin discoloration. The outer layer of darker skin is replaced by lighter skin after repeated application. Glabridin is an excellent force to depigment and gently lighten the skin, while simultaneously blocking an enzyme that causes damaged skin to darken.
  2. Licochalcone is helpful in regulating oiliness by balancing sebum production. Plus, it’s anti-inflammatory (more on this later), and these two properties together make it excellent for treating acne. 
  3. Glycyrrhizin also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has even been found to mimic cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol is a hormone our body releases during stressful times to regulate and reduce inflammation in the body, just like the anti-inflammatory effect glycyrrhizin has on your skin. 

A Cure for Inflammation & Redness

As an exceptional anti-inflammatory agent, licorice root extract also helps treat acne because it reduces redness and swelling, calms inflamed skin, and kills bacteria. This makes it an effective ingredient in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis.


Licorice root is one of the oldest and most widely used medicinal herbs for inflammation.

The greatest part of licorice root extract? We can all benefit from it! The best candidates to use this ingredient are those whose skin problems include redness, inflammation, excess oil, dark spots from sun damage or acne scarring (hyperpigmentation), acne, and sensitivity.

Skin Firming Benefits

Licorice root extract contains even more elements that benefit the skin. The root of the plant produces a syrup-like liquid comprised of plant sterols, which are a vegan form of beneficial cholesterols. They occur naturally in small amounts in many grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. When used topically, they benefit skin by promoting elasticity and slowing the formation of wrinkles.

Supplementing with Licorice Root Extract

Although our purpose for licorice root extract is for the skin, it also comes in different forms to benefit your body in other ways. You can use licorice supplements to manage your breakouts from the inside out. Natural licorice helps cleanse your digestive system, supports the adrenal glands, and balances sugar levels in your blood — all of which are known to influence acne breakouts.

Before taking licorice supplements, please note that taking large amounts is not safe for your health. Use in moderation and always under the supervision of a health professional!

One of Our Most Popular Ingredients

We use licorice root extract so often because it is a versatile ingredient that can help with a large variety of different skin problems. Personalized assessment of the skin’s needs and precise formulation are key when selecting products for a skin care routine, and we have gotten great feedback from clients who have received our serums containing licorice root extract. We absolutely love using this ingredient, and we know that you’ll love the results!

 


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