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Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract.

What Is “Glycyrrhiza glabra Root Extract” and What Is Its Use?

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract is a plant extract of licorice, which is used in some skin care products because of its lightening and antioxidant properties. It is mainly composed of glycyrrhizic acid, a molecule with a sweetening power 30 to 50 times greater than that of sugar.

“Glycyrrhiza glabra Root Extract”, but What Is It?

Licorice is a perennial plant of the Fabaceae family with aromatic roots. It is native to southern Europe and Asia, and grows today in different regions of the world (Mediterranean, southern United States, Middle East, North Africa, Mauritius).

To obtain the licorice plant extract referenced under the I.N.C.I. name "Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract", the dried licorice roots undergo an ethanol extraction followed by a purification step, a re-extraction with ethyl acetate and finally drying under vacuum. The compound obtained contains mainly glycyrrhizic acid (Glycyrrhizin) with recognized anti-inflammatory properties, as well as flavonoids and isoflavonoids (glabrene and isoliquiritigenin), capable of inhibiting tyrosinase involved in melanin synthesis.

Glycyrrhiza glabra Root Extract, the Benefits for the Skin

Thanks to its biochemical composition, licorice extract brings several benefits in cutaneous application:

  • Fight against hyperpigmentation

    As a reminder, hyperpigmentation is a disturbance in the melanogenesis process. Melanin, the pigment responsible for the natural coloring of the skin, is overproduced in certain areas, which leads to the appearance of brown, red or pink spots that are sometimes unsightly. These are of varying sizes and impact the uniformity of the complexion. Licorice extract is often compared to hydroquinone because of its pigment regulating properties. It offers the advantage of being more gentle and better tolerated by the skin than hydroquinone, which has been prohibited in all cosmetic products by the European Regulation since 2001. The effectiveness of licorice extract is due to the presence of glabridine, a powerful depigmenting agent known for its lightening properties. It is able to inhibit tyrosinase, which is responsible for the production of melanin. The equation is simple: less melanin means less pigments, fewer brown spots and a more even skin tone.

  • Prevent photo-aging of the skin thanks to its antioxidant power

    Rich in antioxidant species such as flavonoids, licorice extract is an excellent ally in protecting the skin from free radicals. As a reminder, free radicals are reactive oxygen species produced naturally by the body. Nevertheless, when cells are confronted with stress, they generate them in an excessive way. There are many sources of stress, the main ones being exposure to UV rays, pollution, smoking, a diet too rich in fats and/or sugars, etc... Free radicals are particularly unstable molecules because of their single electron. They tend to react with other molecules to form an electron pair, and then cause damage to cells, DNA and proteins of the body. Skin aging is thus accelerated and wrinkles appear on the surface of the skin. The flavonoids present in licorice extract neutralize the action of free radicals by giving up electrons to make these molecules stable and less reactive. Thus, this plant active ingredient delays skin aging and protects the skin from external aggressions.

  • To alleviate the rednesses and the cutaneous irritations
    The glycyrrhizic acid gives this extract a recognized direct anti-inflammatory effect. It thus makes it possible to relieve the irritated skins, rednesses, itchings, as well as the eczema. It is thus particularly effective on the atopic skins. It is even described as a natural cortisone because of these properties. Indeed, glycyrrhizic acid acts by stimulating endogenous anti-inflammatory mechanisms, in particular by maintaining cortisol (anti-inflammatory naturally present in the skin) in its active form and by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Typology Serum With Licorice Extract

The anti-scar serum contains licorice extract in combination with other brightening and repairing actives, such as PHA gluconolactone and Centella asiatica extract. To fade post-acne scars and marks, apply a drop topically to affected areas at night only.

Sources :

  • SARKAR R. & al. Cosmeceuticals for hyperpigmentation: what is available ? Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery (2013).

  • FRATTARUOLO L. & al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of flavanones from Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (licorice) leaf phytocomplexes: identification of licoflavanone as a modulator of NF-kB/MAPK pathway. Antioxidants (Basel) (2019).


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