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How to Use Licorice Root for Skin Lightening | DIY Licorice Face Mask

This post tells you everything you need to know about how to use licorice root for skin lightening. It also includes recipes to make your own licorice root face masks for all skin types.

how to use licorice root for skin

Licorice (also known as glycyrrhiza glabra) has been used for 4,000 years across many different cultures due to its health and skincare benefits.

It is used as a fundamental herb in traditional Chinese medicine as well as by the Japanese geishas (traditional Japanese entertainers) as a whitening cosmetic. Curiously it was also found in King Tut’s tomb in Egypt.

The image below shows three Japanese geishas who use licorice root powder for skin whitening. Many skin whitening creams containing licorice since it is a natural alternative to chemicals.

how to use licorice root for skin - image shows Japanese geishas who use skin whitening cream

The secret to licorice’s sought-after health and beauty benefits lies within the plant’s root. In order to prepare licorice for use in skin care the root is removed from the plant and melted.

During the boiling process the water is drained and two important parts of the root are extracted: Glycyrrhizin acid and Glabridin.

Glycyrrhizic acid is what give Licorice its distinct flavour. Glabridin is known for its medicinal properties and has been used to help treat hepatitis, stomach ulcers and congestion. The two mixed together form a syrup or powder that can be used in beauty treatments.

How to Use Licorice Root for Skin

Why is Licorice Used in Beauty Treatments?

Glycyrrhizin is anti-inflammatory, which means it helps to reduce any skin redness or irritation. It is also an antioxidant so it protects the skin from free radicals. Glabridin causes skin whitening and reduces dark spots by inhibiting the enzyme Tyrosinase which causes pigmentation.

Some of the main benefits licorice has for the skin include:

1. To Reduce Dark Spots

Licorice can restore your skin to a lighter colour when it is applied to a darkened area, and it is therefore often added to skin whitening creams. It is useful if you suffer from hyperpigmentation, melasma or age spots.

Licorice is a natural treatment for dark spots as you are able to lighten your skin without using chemicals. Glabridin also stops the skin from darkening after sun exposure.

Interestingly licorice also contains some UV blocking enzymes so it helps to protect your skin from sun damage as well as sun spots.

Since licorice root extract blocks melanin production, it evens out skin tone and prevents hyperpigmentation caused by excess melanin.

2. To Reduce Inflammation

Since licorice has anti-inflammatory properties it has been used to treat a number of conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. It helps to reduce swelling, itching or burning.

Some patients suffering with eczema also drink licorice tea as well as applying licorice cream in order to reduce their symptoms. It is a good natural remedy for sensitive skin conditions as it can calm and soothe irritated skin.

3. To Increase the Skin’s Elasticity

Licorice helps to stimulate elastin and collagen production which makes the skin bouncier and more elastic. It also moisturises and rehydrates the skin making it appear plumper and healthier.

Many topical gels include licorice to smooth out wrinkles, and reduce fine lines and acne scars. In general, it’s a good natural ingredient for anti aging skincare products.

4. To Control Oil Production

Licorice helps to control oil production and therefore reduces acne. It also reduces any redness caused by rosacea and helps the skin to heal faster.

If you have oily skin, licorice root is a good active ingredient to include in your homemade skincare products. It helps to give the skin a more matte appearance and reduces blemishes in acne-prone skin. Since it also has antibacterial properties it’s a good ingredient to reduce acne.

How Can I Make a Licorice Root Mask?

It is very simple to make a licorice root mask with just licorice root powder and Aloe Vera gel. I recommend the Davis Finest Liquorice Root Powder and Ransom Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Gel.

Aloe and licorice make an excellent combination since aloe is also extremely soothing and moisturising. You could also add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the mixture.

To make the mask mix the two ingredients together until they form a paste and then apply it to your skin. Leave for 30 minutes before washing off.

If you enjoyed this post on licorice benefits for the skin and are looking for other recipes for homemade beauty products you may find the following posts helpful:

Licorice Root FAQs

Does licorice root lighten skin?

Licorice lightens skin naturally. It contains Glabridin which inhibits the enzyme Tyrosinase which causes pigmentation

How long does licorice take to lighten skin?

Any skin redness will start to go down after 1-2 days but for skin lightening you should wait for about a month. This is because the skin’s renewal process takes time. You should use the licorice mask consistently (once every couple of days) for at least 28 days before you start to see results.

How can I use licorice to whiten my skin?

Use licorice regularly in your skincare routine and allow at least a month for results to start showing. You can use the licorice mask in this post or a licorice toner which will gradually whiten your skin over time. After a few months you will have a noticeably even skin tone.

Is licorice good for skin?

Yes. Licorice has many benefits for the skin. It is extremely soothing and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an anti-oxidant and contains natural UV filters.

This post was all about How to Use Licorice Root for Skin Whitening

This post was all about how to use licorice root for skin whitening. Licorice is an excellent natural ingredient for skin brightening along with potato juice and vitamin C. It also has antioxidant properties so can protect the skin from free radicals caused by environmental stressors such as UV radiation. If you have added licorice to your skincare routine, please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on.


Monday 19th of July 2021

I have liquid licorice. I started to use it for dark spots. I just applied a few drops to the dark areas and leave it overnight. But can I use it during the day too?


Sunday 6th of June 2021

I love licorice! We use it in India even for treating hormonal imbalance! Thanks for the amazing benefits!

Clemencia Durant

Sunday 7th of November 2021

Yes I’ve heard a lot of good natural skin products from India and I wonder if this could treat darker skin patches induced by Vitiligo, I’m a victim of Segmental Vitiligo for 10 years now. Any help please🙏🏾


Thursday 9th of September 2021

Really how is that used


Monday 29th of March 2021

Hi how much of each ingredient do you use?

Olivia Herlihy

Monday 12th of April 2021

Hi Deborah, For every spoonful of the aloe gel I added two spoons of licorice powder but I wanted the mask to be quite thick and completely saturated with licorice. You can add a bit less if it's too thick for you. :-). Olivia


Thursday 11th of March 2021

I love this. I have no idea about licorice root. After reading this i will follows this for my skin brightening and i hope it sounds good on my skin. Thanks and keep sharnig amazing article.

Danielle Coviello

Friday 26th of February 2021

Is it possible to lighten dark spots without lighting the whole face?

Olivia Herlihy

Monday 12th of April 2021

Yes, you can use the aloe and licorice mask as a targeted treatment and only apply it to specific areas of the face. I did this last summer when I wanted to lighten some sun spots on my cheeks. :-)