I’m sure you’re as done with winter this year as I am. With all the snow and frigid weather that many parts of the country have had, I can’t wait to see spring officially arrive in a few short weeks. But with the Sun starting to come out more often, you’ll have to start protecting your skin with a sunscreen. That’s why I want to tell you about an amazing new study that has discovered a whole new natural sunscreen, without side effects, and with near-complete U-V protection.
Licorice Extract Protects Your Skin from U-V Damage
As a kid, I used to love licorice – red or black, didn’t matter. I used to eat it whenever I could. Now, as an adult, and a doctor, I still eat licorice as a special treat here and there, but I’ve learned that my childhood favorite is actually a powerful medicine.
Yes, that’s right. The root extract from the Glycyrrhiza inflata plant, that gives us licorice, has actually been used for centuries by Chinese and Indian physicians to heal stomach pain. In recent times, it has been found that licorice extract also helps heal stomach ulcers, control blood sugar levels, and fight viral infections like herpes simplex.
Licorice has also been proven effective at fighting the mouth bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Now researchers out of Germany have discovered another amazing healing property of licorice. Turns out, it’s also a powerful U-V ray blocking sunscreen.
In fact, licorice root mimics the effects of the strongest, manufactured sunscreens. Here’s how licorice works to save your skin from the sun:
For starters, you may not know this, but you have certain skin cells that act as a natural sunscreen. When you go out in the sun the antioxidant properties of these cells activate to protect your skin from U-V ray damage. They also become activated when your skin is exposed to other environmental toxins like pollution, chemical toxins and poor air quality like smog and auto exhaust.
Now, researchers have found a way to isolate the active antioxidant in licorice (Licochalcone-A) to use as a powerful, topical, natural sunscreen. They found that licorice extract actually stimulates the antioxidant releasing properties of your natural protective skin cells. Here’s how they did it…
In the study, researchers took two sets of human skin cells and exposed them to solar light to mimic natural sun exposure. The skin cells that were previously treated with the licorice extract produced much more of their protective, natural antioxidant molecules. There were fewer destructive free radicals seen in the licorice-treated skin cells. This means most of the skin cells’ DNA were not damaged.
They concluded that licorice helps your skin develop a powerful shield against U-V ray damage. With the added stimulation from licorice, the protection is the same as using a SPF-50 sunscreen, blocking all but 2% of the sun’s U-V rays. All without the side effects that many synthetic sunscreens have.
Licorice also has anti-inflammatory, and re-hydrating properties which helps cool down and return moisture to sun-reddened skin. It’s also proven effective against soothing the itch and redness of many skin rashes, particularly eczema, rosacea and atopic dermatitis.
Licorice also blocks the stimulation of melanin, the darkening pigment in your skin that allows you to achieve a tan. Melanin can also create dark “age spots” from sun exposure as you get older. Licorice, applied topically in a facial cream, acts to lighten age spots, acne scars, and over-tanned skin. It also fights aging as it provides superior antioxidant properties to the skin.
How To Get the Skin Protection Benefits of Licorice Extract
Now don’t grab a bag of licorice candy before you head out for the sun thinking it will protect your skin. There’s actually very little true licorice extract in licorice candy. And, even though true licorice extract comes in capsule, or chewable tablets, and tea bags, your skin will get the best sunscreen, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory benefits of licorice from a topical cream or gel.
Though I can’t vouch for the performance of these products, I’ve done a little searching for you and have found several commercial topical skin cream products that contain licorice extract. Research shows that products that contain 2% licorice extract seem to work the best. You may have to try a few to see which ones work best for you. Here are a few:
1. Kiss My Face brand, Sunscreen SPF 50.
2. Herbal Mineral brand, Licorice Brightening Sunscreen SPF 20++
3. Marie Veronique Organics Serum
4. PCA Skin Perfecting Protection SPF 30
5. Sunkroma SPF 50 Cream
6. Pratima Ayurvedic SPF 50 Suncreen
Other skin care products to get licorice’s anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, dark spot lightening benefits include:
1. Source Naturals brand, Skin Eternal DMAE Cream
2. NOW brand, Dermal Soothing Cream
3. Making Cosmetics brand, Licorice Extract
4. Eucerin brand, Redness Relief
5. Cetaphil brand, Derma Control Moisturizer
All these products are available online. You may also find them locally in health food/vitamin stores, or large department store skin care aisles.
The important thing to remember in protecting your skin against U-V ray damage is to be proactive in protecting your skin. Limit your exposure to the sun at its strongest times, 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., wear a protective sunscreen, and protective clothing like a visor cap and sunglasses. If your skin is fair and more prone to sunburn, in addition to sunscreen you may want to wear a light colored, long sleeved, cotton shirt, pants for any activity longer than a half hour out in direct sun.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Licorice extract protests the skin from U-v induced stress, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218191909.htm
Licorice Herbal Remedies, http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies/licorice-herbal-remedies1.htm