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Ingredient Spotlight: Licorice Root

Hyperpigmentation is easily one of the most common skin concerns out there. Whether it’s sun spots, acne scarring, or anything in between, these markings can be incredibly stubborn. Though vitamin C is one of the more popular go-to ingredients, turn your attention to licorice root. This radiance-boosting ingredient is prominent in cult favorite products (think: Acwell pH Balancing Cleansing Toner and Then I Met You™  Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel) and we’re here to tell you why. 

What Is Licorice Root? 

If you’re thinking of the classic candy, you’re pretty spot on. The same plant used to harness licorice root for skincare is also used to produce black licorice everywhere. The root has been used for a variety of medical purposes across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and of course it was these practices that brought to light the benefits this plant and its roots can bring to the skin directly.  

What Benefits Can I Expect? 

Licorice root is sure to deliver visible results when it comes to fading and preventing dark spots and hyperpigmentation on the skin. Similar to the better known ingredient alpha arbutin, licorice root works to inhibit the production of an enzyme needed to produce pigment (aka melanin) in the skin, ultimately slowing down the production of melanin in the skin. It also contains an enzyme that encourages the dispersing of pigmented cells, which helps to fade pre-existing dark spots. Additionally, licorice root is yet another member of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory family, and as such, helps to undo signs of oxidative damage and environmental stress on the skin, too. 

RELATED: The Best Ways to Treat 3 Types of Hyperpigmentation on Different Skin Tones

What Skin Types Will Benefit? 

When it comes down to it, licorice root can be for everyone. As we said, dark spots are a hugely common skin care concern amongst people of all ages, and anyone looking for a new route to dark spot treatment should turn to licorice root. But it doesn’t stop there! The anti-inflammatory properties present help to reduce redness and other signs of irritation on the skin. Overall, licorice root is deemed safe for pregnant and nursing women, as well, which speaks to how gently it works on the skin. Anecdotally, licorice root has also been said to help control sebum production, so anyone with acne-prone skin might also want to consider introducing this to their routine.  

Does It Play Well With Others? 

One of the great things about licorice root is that it does not conflict with other ingredients. As Vitamin C and niacinamide famously can clash, licorice root can easily be used in conjunction with these types of potent ingredients, and even with retinols. 

What Products Have Licorice Root? 

As we said above, some cult favorite products contain licorice root. The suite of Acwell x Soko Glam collaboration products, from the pH balancing mist, to the pH cleansing toner and the pH balancing intensive eye cream allows you to integrate the product in a number of ways (the mist is without a doubt a favorite for it’s super-fine mist). Another well loved product, the Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Purifying, is an upgrade of the classic formula specifically to include skin clearing ingredients, licorice root amongst them. 

Editor’s Note: If you are a fan of the Acwell Licorice line, you might want to try the Acwell Licorice Loves Exclusive Duo Set, which includes a jumbo size (300 ml) Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner and the Acwell pH Balancing Intensive Eye Cream. A perfect pair to brighten and reduce pigmentation, including acne scars and dark spots.

RELATED: Is This New Brightening Eye Cream the Secret to Getting Rid of Dark Circles For Good?

The Giving Essence from Then I Met You™ boasts the powerhouse licorice root water amongst other incredibly antioxidant-rich ingredients, too, for a gentle experience that keeps skin even and clear. Then I Met You’s Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel is also formulated with licorice extract to brighten the dull complexion.

Suffice it to say, there’s no shortage of the efficacious licorice root in K-beauty and K-beauty inspired skin care products, and its a worthwhile ingredient to include into your routine however works for you. Let us know YOUR favorite products that include licorice root below!

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