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Licorice Root, the Natural Option for Sensitive Skin


Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice... read more

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. None of the statements on this site are a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. read less

Licorice Root

You may have enjoyed it as a child in candies, but did you know that licorice root is also great for skin? A treasured natural remedy for a number of health issues, licorice has only recently been discovered as helpful for people with sensitive skin, as well as to lighten and brighten your skin’s look.

Who knew this plain-looking root could be so useful?

A Little Bit About the Ingredient Itself

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Licorice is the root of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra, a legume related to beans and peas that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It likes well-drained soils with full sun, and is harvested about two-three years after planting. A perennial, it grows to 3-7 feet high, with feather-like leaves 3-6 inches long and purple to pale whitish blue flowers. The fruit is small—only about 1 inch long—with several seeds inside.

The root is what’s typically used for both its health benefits and skin care benefits. The extract is produced by boiling the root, evaporating most of the water, and saving the remaining syrup. A compound in the syrup called “glycyrrhizin” is a sweetener considered to be much sweeter than sucrose, which also has health benefits.

Internal Health Benefits of Licorice Root

Licorice root has been used historically for a number of ailments, including asthma, fatigue, depression, colds and flu, gingivitis and tooth decay, heartburn, liver problems, sore throat, ulcers, and arthritis.

Many of these uses still apply today. The National Institutes of Health notes that licorice is used for a variety of digestive problems, including stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, and chronic gastritis. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes there is mixed evidence about whether it works for stomach ulcers, but a few studies have found that a certain type of licorice called “deglycyrrhizinated” licorice, along with antacids, helped treat ulcers.

Other current uses include canker sores—a small study showed that people who gargled four times a day with licorice dissolved in warm water experienced pain relief—indigestion and GERD, upper respiratory infections, and depression. Some small studies have indicated that licorice root extract may suppress the viral activity of the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores.

Though considered mostly safe, people who consume large amounts of licorice for more than four weeks (30 grams or more daily) can experience side effects like headaches, high blood pressure, low blood potassium, weakness, and paralysis. Those who have heart disease or kidney disease are more at risk for these effects.

Licorice Root’s Benefits to the Skin

Licorice root has a good reputation as being helpful for sensitive skin. Licorice root contains an active compound called “glabridin.” Licorice extract may also help diminish the appearance of dark under-eye circles, discoloration and age spots.

The extract also has powerful antioxidants that help protect the skin from environmental stressors, as well as “licochalcone,” which helps balance oil, making this a good ingredient for those with oily skin.

Try It!

We use licorice root in the following products for all its healthy skin properties.

How do you use licorice? Please share any tips you may have.

* * *

“Licorice,” University of Maryland Medical Center,

“Licorice—Treats more than a sweet tooth,” Truth in Aging, October 27, 2009,

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Please Note: Due to our interest in FDA cosmetic guidelines compliance, all blog comments are reviewed before posting and may be removed from Annmarie Skin Care website or edited for claims that do not meet FDA standards.

COMMENTS ( 21 and counting )
  1. Alexis says:

    I purchased licorice extract and applied it every night and day to my skin. After two months I have noticed a significant improvement in the appearance of my skin. Dark hyper-pigmented spots are definitely lighter. I’m so happy that my face is reaching an even tone once again.

  2. Tolu says:

    I am current looking to purchase liquorice root for my hyper-pigmentation as well,did where you purchase it from and is it better to purchase liquorice root myself , boil it and use it directly?

    Thank you

  3. Sabrina maharaj says:

    I am also using liquorice root with honey on my face , works wonders

  4. Mary De Klyn says:

    Do you use liquorice root right out of the bottle? Thanks

  5. sabrina maharaj says:

    I first purchased the liquorice roots , boiled and added honey , worked wonders . now i am using liquorice out of the bottle

  6. Gloria Gelineau says:

    I have tongue cancer. Horrible painful ulcers on inside of cheeks and near bottom gums along with leukoplakia. how do you get
    this stuff? I need help. please. G G

  7. melanie b. says:

    @Gloria….sorry to hear of your ailment. Try any vitamin store (vitamin Shoppe, gnc) or whole foods grocery store.

  8. Rehana says:

    You can purchase licorice root from many Asian grocery stores

  9. Regina L says:

    I add licorice root powder to my oatmeal face wash. Love it!

  10. Harriet says:

    Will licorice help with hypopigmentation too?

  11. Richard says:

    How do you apply/use liquorice root? Can I just chew on it?

  12. L says:

    The negative effects of internal use of licorice root extract concern me–the high blood pressure and low potassium, headaches, and paralysis that can result. How can we be sure using this topically won’t cause the same effects, seeing as how the skin absorbs what you put on it into the bloodstream?

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi L,

      This is a great question. You’re right, an extract of licorice root (specifically an alcohol extraction) used for a long period of time does have some pretty serious contraindications. However, if you’re using the oil or aqueous extract topically in such small amounts like in our skin care, it will not have the same internal effects. I hope that helps answer your question!

  13. Ravina says:

    I am using licorice serum in night since 2 weeks but there is no change in my skin should I continue it or not

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi Ravina,

      That depends on what you’re working with. Real healing does take time and a singular skin cell does live for a month on average so if you’re healing scars that are in the deeper layers of the skin, it could take some time to see a difference in your skin.

  14. shara says:

    I bought a bottle of Licorice Extract.. do I apply it in my face directly or does it have to be diluted? Also, do I leave it on overnight or put on moisturizer after? 🙂

  15. robbi768 says:

    I have eczema and psoriasis and the only thing I use is the Made From Earth Valencia Orange Lotion – no eczema or psoriasis all month since I have been using it. Leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft without feeling greasy or heavy on my skin.

  16. Maddy says:

    Will licorice extract made at home by boiling licorice root be put on face directly for overnight.How long does it take to lighten facial skin

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi Maddy,

      It may work, but typically these extracts are in something like aloe or glycerin. How long it takes to lighten skin depends on your skin and what you’re working with. I would suggest working with an esthetician to see if they can help you out with your skin care goals.