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How to Use Licorice Extract for Skin Lightening

Licorice root and licorice sweets

Licorice may be an acquired taste – with many having a love-hate relationship with it – but there is much more to licorice root than meets the eye.

If you suffer from dark spots, sensitivity, or a dull and dark complexion, you may want to consider licorice root for your skincare needs.

Yet we don’t just expect you to take our word for it straight away. Which is why in this article you’ll discover exactly how to use licorice extract for skin lightening. Can this root extract really help you improve your skin?

What is licorice root?
How does licorice root lighten your skin?
Additional benefits of licorice root

What is licorice root?

Derived from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant (a relative of peas and beans), licorice root has been used for centuries – as far back as King Tut – to remedy ailments and improve well-being.

However, of all the ways it can assist your body, it is probably best known for its ability to treat hyperpigmentation and skin sensitivity.

So how might licorice root extract help your skin?

The science

This plant is amazing in many ways. Yet it’s its root which holds all the nutrients essential for healthy skin. Take the following components found in licorice root extract:

  • Glycyrrhizin – licorice root produces a gel-like saponin called glycyrrhizin. This saponin secretes glycyrrhizic acids that are not only sweet and sugary in flavor (50 times sweeter than sugar) but house many therapeutic benefits.
  • Liquiritin – a glucose molecule derived from liquiritigenin (a compound), liquiritin contains strong antioxidant properties that make it effective at protecting your skin.
  • Licochalcone – one of 300 polyphenols; licochalcone is reputed to reduce skin irritation and act as a calming agent.
  • Glabridin – this nutrient contains tons of medicinal benefits including being able to treat hepatitis, stomach ulcers, and congestion.

How does licorice root lighten your skin?

When considering how to use licorice root for skin whitening, you first need to understand how it works. What does licorice root do for the skin? And in what ways can it help you and your skin?

Now, as we mentioned before – the key to healthy, replenished skin rests in the root of this plant. Not in its leaves, but its root.

Simply boil it for a set period and the licorice root extract can be used to create a cream.

This can reduce common symptoms of dull and dark complexions (e.g. dark spots, sun damage, blemishes/acne, inflammation, and irritation) as it works to nourish and revitalize your complexion.

We’ll list some common benefits of licorice root for skin health and nourishment.

  • Hyperpigmentation

Licorice root can help to restore and protect your skin by targeting the common triggers of hyperpigmentation, e.g. excess melanin production, sun exposure, inflammation, or hormone imbalances.

Thanks to the presence of liquiritin (a skin lightening compound) and licochalcone, these nutrients can help to lighten darkened patches by inhibiting tyrosinase (an enzyme which is known to react to tyrosine and convert proteins to melanin).

By reducing melanin and the creation of dark pigments; your skin will begin to gently lighten and suffer less from hyperpigmentation.

  • Soothes skin sensitivity

Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, a triterpenoid which – when it comes into contact with your skin – will trigger receptors that naturally cause steroid growth in your skin.

These steroids help to reduce recovery time, which – when combined with its anti-inflammatory properties – can help to decrease skin sensitivity, eczema, and rosacea.

Also, it can help eliminate puffiness, rashes, swelling, and itching by blocking the signaling pathway for skin inflammation, enabling you to take control of redness, flushing, and more.

Note that licorice root for skincare is great compared to conventional skin lighteners as it doesn’t cause photosensitivity or health risks, nor does it cause any downtime.

  • Combats skin damage

Skin damage can occur for several reasons, including excessive sun exposure (UV rays), pollutants, free radicals, and when fighting inflammation, and as such it is something you’ll have to deal with continuously.

Licorice root can act as a topical treatment thanks to its high antioxidant content (hispaglabridin A and B, Glabridin, Isoliquiritigenin, and formononetin), 300 polyphenols, and numerous flavonoids.

Used externally, it can help to soothe your skin, while internally it can boost your health (through ingestion).

Do bear in mind that it will take a few days for the licorice root to soothe your skin and prevent redness and irritation. For skin lightening, it will take at least about a month of continual use for you to see the benefits of its skin renewal process.

Licorice root extract for skin lightening

Additional benefits of licorice root

While the primary purpose of this article is to show you how to use licorice root for skincare, we cannot ignore the other benefits this extract can have on your body, health, and appearance.

Below you’ll find some of its top benefits.

Increased sexual energy

This root has been used by Hindus for centuries to increase sexual energy. It is commonly consumed as a beverage with milk and sugar.

Relieve inflammation

Licorice root will not only relieve skin sensitivity and inflammation; it can also tackle other forms of inflammation (both internally and externally).

Fade scars

Dark scars caused by falls or injury can take years to fade/turn pale and match your normal skin tone. Licorice root can hasten this recovery process by blocking melanin production and evening out your skin tone.

Note that it won’t lighten pale scars, only dark ones.

Treat skin conditions

Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis are all common skin conditions that can leave patches of your skin feeling scaly.

Thankfully, the anti-inflammatory elements in licorice root can help to minimize swelling, itching, and the burning sensation caused by these conditions.

Simply apply topically – or drink as a tea twice a day – and it can alleviate your symptoms.

Firm/tighten skin

Licorice root can help regenerate elastin and collagen in your skin, making it smoother and softer to touch.

At the same time, its amino acids can help moisturize and rehydrate your skin keeping it firm and healthy.

Treat acne

Triggered by excess oil production in your glands, licorice root can help you to better manage this oil production and reduce redness.

Licorice root in Zeta White lightening cream

Eliminate athlete’s foot

Applied as a topical cream, licorice root is reputed to eliminate symptoms of athlete’s foot, as well as treat the condition.

Heal wounds and skin infections

As a natural antimicrobial with antifungal properties, licorice root can be used to clean wounds, reduce swelling, and keep redness to a minimum.

It can also decrease the number of bacteria found on your skin, allowing your skin to heal/repair faster.

Reduce wrinkles

Sun damage can accelerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Licorice root contains UV blocking enzymes that can keep sun damage at bay and ensure your skin remains healthy and youthful.

At the same time, its high antioxidant levels can help block free radicals and prevent premature aging.

Now that’s a long list of benefits! On top of that, other reported benefits from licorice root extract include:

  • Cough suppressant
  • Detoxify your spleen and stomach
  • Stop muscle spasms
  • Revitalize your liver

It’s clear that licorice root extract can do wonders for your health!


Your skin is an underrated yet vital organ and deserves to receive the utmost care and protection from UV rays, pollution, free radicals, and ailments.

Fortunately, by learning how to use licorice extract for skin lightening, you can reduce the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and scarring, and get the skin you want.

Yet licorice root for skin is not enough to handle all of this on its own. Pair it with other rejuvenating fruit extracts – such as those found in a complete skin-lightening product like Zeta White – and you can gain a smoother, healthier, brighter-looking skin.

To learn more about how Zeta White harnesses licorice extract to restore and lighten skin, visit the Zeta White website.

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