There are several applications for licorice extract; it has been used for flavoring foods and drinks as well as reducing symptoms related to mouth ulcers and coughing. In addition, it is an adaptogen which makes it useful in supporting the body during situations where the immune system may be compromised. Due to a compound within the extract called glabridin, it also inhibits the production of melanin. As a result, it is often applied as a skin lightening agent. Today, I’ll explain how licorice extract can be used topically as a skin lightener and why it’s effective as an active ingredient.
How Licorice Lightens Skin
The reason why licorice extract, as an active ingredient, is effective for lightening the skin is due to the compound glabridin. It suppresses pigmentation by stalling melanin production. Often, the skin can become discolored due to conditions such as melasma and chloasma. Plus, long-term exposure to the sun can result in age spots and hyperpigmentation. When their effects are visible – especially in the areas around the face and eyes – topical formulations that include licorice extract can help reduce the variances in skin tone.
Some skin types are especially sensitive to other lightening agents such as hydroquinone and tretinoin. While both are highly effective, they can cause irritation and sensitivity for some people. Topical application of products containing licorice extract has been shown to have few side effects, and incidents of allergic reactions, irritation, and redness are rare. This is likely due to the natural anti-inflammatory properties of glabridin.
Basics Of Glabridin
Glabridin is directly responsible for inhibiting melanin production. It accomplishes this by hampering tyrosinase activity, the enzyme responsible for producing melanin. Over a decade ago, tests were performed on guinea pigs in which a 0.5% concentration of glabridin was applied topically. The results showed that pigmentation induced by UVB light was inhibited. Glabridin has also shown to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Topical Formulations With Licorice Extract
There are a number of skin lightening solutions that contain licorice extract as an active ingredient to reduce discoloration. If you have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate ingredients such as hydroquinone, retinoids or even Vitamin C, then you may want to consider trying products that contain licorice extract. Following are 3 solutions that will brighten your skin tone and more:
Credentials Glycolic Face Creme – This formulation not only includes licorice as a skin-brightening ingredient, but it also contains an 8% glycolic acid as an exfoliant, as well as a number of helpful antioxidants.
Credentials Fresh Facial Cleanser – A lightweight cleanser that uses vitamins A and E to nourish your skin while licorice extract delivers lightening and antioxidant benefits.
Credentials Eye Nourisher – This complex moisturizer includes several antioxidants and ingredients to provide hydration. It also includes licorice extract, Magnesium Ascorbic Phosphate, and ascorbic acid to gently lighten your skin.