Some people find licorice a palate-pleasing flavor in items ranging from colorful candy to after-dinner liqueurs. Also called anise, licorice extract finds a home in some kitchens alongside other baking extracts such as vanilla and peppermint. Not as well known as its sweet taste are the syrupy liquid’s medicinal properties, including its ability to promote healthy, even-toned skin as an ingredient in personal care products.
Getting to the Root
Licorice extract has been used for its health benefits as far back as ancient China, and it is an ingredient in some over-the-counter cleansers, toners, face creams and spot treatments. The syrupy juice from the herb’s root contains beneficial plant sterols, which promote skin elasticity and fight inflammation and wrinkle formation. Licorice extract also contains glycyrrhizin, an acid that plays a role in increasing steroid hormones that naturally occur in skin. Glycyrrhizin helps to combat several skin disorders that respond to topically applied hydrocortisone. Licorice extract also can help soothe irritation caused by some skin-care products and medications.