Perhaps its best-studied effect on the skin is its ability to fade hyperpigmentation, which are dark spots of melanin caused by irritation, inflammation, or hormones. (Think sun spots, or the dark spots left behind by healed blemishes.) Licorice root extract inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is crucial in the skin’s production of melanin. By interfering with this enzyme, licorice root stops your skin from making too much melanin, thereby helping to fade the melanin deposits that cause dark spots.
In addition, multiple studies have demonstrated licorice root extract’s ability to reduce inflammation and suppress inflammatory activity. This is due to the presence of several types of chalcones present in licorice root extract called “licochalcones”, which have been found to reduce the concentration of inflammatory markers in the skin.
- Baumann, L. (2015). Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic ingredients (First Edition, pp. 244-252). McGraw-Hill Education/Medical.