If you are looking for flawless skin, you might be in need of something to battle the problematic dark spots.
Usually, the hydroquinone is the recommended derm favorite, available both by prescription and in lower concentrations over-the-counter. There’s the new licorice extract, which works in a very similar way to hydroquinone. Here’s what you need to know about it.
What is licorice extract?
The root of the licorice plant has been used for medicinal purposes for years and is where black licorice (the candy) comes from, but it's also the source of licorice extract, which is used topically for the skin.
With a variety of beneficial compounds that deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to help fade dark spots, licorice extract acts in a similar way to hydroquinone, considered the gold-standard brightening ingredient, though notorious for its unwanted side effects and even potential safety concerns.
What are the benefits of licorice extract?
It minimizes the production of tyrosinase to combat discoloration: licorice extract inhibits the production of tyrosinase (which deals with pigment or color), in turn inhibiting the production of dark spots.
Removes excess melanin: This means it can not only fade existing dark spots but also prevent new ones from forming.
Acts as a potent antioxidant: Licorice extract contains flavonoid, an antioxidant-rich component that decreases reactive oxygen species, which both age and discolor the skin.
Offers anti-inflammatory benefits: contains licochalcone A, which inhibits two inflammatory markers that trigger the inflammatory cascade.
May help control oil production in the skin: Some evidence suggests that it may have the added benefit of regulating oil production.
Are there any side effects?
It’s unlikely to cause an actual allergy. It will depend on what other ingredients it’s mixed with. It can sometimes cause a small reaction. As a general rule, if you're concerned about it stressing out your skin, try any new products out on a small test spot before applying all over your face. And, of course, when in doubt: check with your dermatologist!