Licorice protects skin from UV rays

Licorice protects skin from UV rays

The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it goes under a lot of stress daily.

UV radiation is an environmental factor that can affect the skin, and can even cause genetic mutations that lead to skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

A new German study shows that an extract from licorice protects skin from ultraviolet radiation.

We found out that the antioxidant active Licochalcone A, which is the main component of the root extract of the plant Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese Licorice), is able to protect the skin from subsequent UV irradiation damage from within by strengthening the skin’s own defense systems. Thus plant extracts with the described profile are able to provide a protective shield from sun exposure supporting and going beyond the action of sunscreens regarding sun protection,” said Gitta Neufang, one of the researchers in the study.

To test the effects of a licorice extract called Licochalcone A on skin, the research team exposed isolated human skin cells to simulated sunlight. The results showed that cells pretreated with Licochalcone A produced a larger amount of antioxidant molecules, which protect the skin.

The researchers also found that less harmful free radicals were found in the licorice treated skin cells. In addition to this study, the team conducted another one on healthy volunteers. They had these volunteers apply lotion rich in Licochalcone A on their inner forearms to protect from UV radiation.

This research shows that the natural defense system of the human body can be triggered by licorice extract to protect the skin. When combined with UV-filters, licorice extract could significantly improve sun protection treatments.

Even with the best sun-protecting filter system (SPF50+) 2% of UV-rays still reach the skin and cause damage. We hope that our study helps to improve the effectiveness of sunscreens to protect from the harmful aspects of sun exposure.” Gitta Neufang concluded.

The study showing that licorice protects skin from UV rays was published in the journal Experimental Dermatology.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Licorice Extract Protects the Skin from UV-induced Stress.” Wiley. Wiley, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.
2. “Licochalcone A Activates Nrf2 in Vitro and Contributes to Licorice Extract-induced Lowered Cutaneous Oxidative Stress in Vivo.” Wiley Online Library. Experimental Dermatology, 8 Dec. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.
3. “Understanding UVA and UVB.” Skin Cancer Foundation. Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.

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