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Licorice Compound Protects Skin from UV Effects

Posted on June 6, 2016, 6 a.m. in Skin-Hair Botanical Agents

Topical application of licorice root extract may protect the skin from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

The root extract of the plant Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese Licorice) is a source of Licochalcone A, a compound for which previous studies suggest antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. German researchers assessed the effects of Licochalcone A in cell culture, isolating human skin cells and irradiating them with solar simulated light mimicking sun exposure. The team observed that skin cells pretreated with Licochalcone A produced a higher amount of 'self-protecting', antioxidant molecules. Consequently, significantly less harmful radicals were detected in Licochalone A treated human skin cells. In addition, the investigators also conducted a study with healthy volunteers demonstrating that the application of a lotion containing Licochalcone A-rich root extract on the inner forearms for two weeks protected the skin from damage after UV irradiation.  The study authors submit that: “We conclude from these data that topical application of licorice extract is a promising approach to induce [NF-E2-related factor 2]-dependent cytoprotection in human skin.”

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Jochen Kuhnl, Dennis Roggenkamp, Sandra A. Gehrke, Franz Stab, Horst Wenck, Ludger Kolbe, Gitta Neufang.  “Licochalcone A activates Nrf2 in vitro and contributes to licorice extract-induced lowered cutaneous oxidative stress in vivo.”  Experimental Dermatology, Volume 24, Issue 1, January 2015, Pages: 42–47.

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