1. Brightening and treating dark spots
Have you had any friends tell you that you should use skincare products with some licorice roots for dark spots? While melanin formation is a complex process, the main enzyme responsible for discoloration is tyrosinase. Licorice root extract is known to inhibit the secretion of tyrosinase, which helps to prevent dark spots from forming on the skin. But licorice root extract not only stops new dark spots in their tracks, but it is said to help fade existing ones. The root also contains a flavonoid, a plant polyphenol with antioxidant properties that can protect the skin from pre-mature discoloration, aging, and environmental stress. These same properties make licorice excellent for reversing hyperpigmentation, a condition where the skin forms dark spots on the skin that makes it look uneven in tone and texture. It also helps to reduce melasma, which can happen due to sun exposure or hormonal changes during pregnancy. While hydroquinone is usually the ingredient of choice when it comes to depigmentation, it comes with several drawbacks, including
potential side effects like dryness, irritation, and redness. Licorice presents an attractive natural alternative if you’re looking to brighten your skin in a milder way.
2. Sun defense
Licorice root in skincare also plays a role in sun defense. In addition to helping brighten skin already affected by sun damage, licorice contains glabridin, which is known to help stop discoloration in its tracks during and immediately after sun exposure. UV rays are the primary cause of skin discoloration, but glabridin contains UV blocking enzymes that prevent new skin damage from occurring.
3. Healing acne scars
Licorice root is also a go-to for treating acne scars. Sometimes we experience scars from breakouts or injuries that occurred due to no fault of our own. Licorice can speed up the healing process by inhibiting the production of melanin, an amino acid responsible for pigmentation in the skin. Although melanin does help to guard the skin from UV ray damage, too much melanin is a whole other issue. Excess melanin production during sun exposure can result in unwanted effects, including dark scars and even skin cancer.
4. Calms Inflammation
Licorice is said to have a soothing effect on skin and helps to ease inflammation. The glycyrrhizin found in licorice can reduce redness, irritation and swelling, and is used to treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema.
5. Softens skin
Licorice can help the regeneration of our skin’s collagen and elastin supply, both of which are necessary to keep our skin elastic, smooth, and baby-soft. Not only that, but licorice helps to preserve hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule with the
ability to retain up to 1000 times its weight in water and keeps skin plump and bouncy.