You usually think of licorice as that sweet treat you enjoyed as a kid or that you can still enjoy today as an adult when you just need a little candy in your life. But licorice — in extract form — can also have benefits for your skin.
Licorice extract comes straight from the licorice plant, as noted by Byrdie. The extract that has been used for medicinal purposes for years and is now used to treat skin problems comes from the root of the plant.
One of the most common uses for licorice extract is to help treat dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation, according to Healthline. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by spending too much time in the sun, as well as by inflammation. Licorice extract can also treat other skin conditions, such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema, according to SkinKraft.
Although it’s not a common use, licorice extract has also been known to control oily skin, while also working as an antioxidant (via Byrdie).
How to use licorice extract on your skin
Byrdie recommends using licorice extract in serum form so that it will be more concentrated and therefore more effective. Follow the specific directions on the bottle for how frequently to use it and how much to apply.
There are also different ways to use it for different skin problems, according to SkinKraft. You can combine it with vitamin C for hyperpigmentation, or use it in sheet mask form to brighten the skin. If you have inflamed or irritated skin, seek a gel form of the extract. You can even go a little DIY and make your own gel by using some simple aloe vera and licorice root extract powder.
According to Byrdie, dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Chwalek cautions that some licorice extract serums may have other ingredients that irritate the skin and advises that you try a tiny amount on a small spot of skin as a test before regular use.
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