Hyperpigmentation—the darkening of skin and nails due to high levels of melanin—can be a super frustrating issue for those who wish to have an even skin tone. Enter: licorice extract. Derived from the licorice root, which grows wild throughout Asia and Europe, this natural ingredient is known to have skin-brightening properties when applied topically.

How to Use Licorice Extract

Dilute licorice extract with distilled water and form a compress to treat areas of the skin affected by hyperpigmentation. There's no set dilution ratio, but you may want to start off with 10 parts water to one part licorice extract to determine whether there are any side effects or skin irritations. Pour the solution onto a small cloth and apply the compress for 10 to 15 minutes at least twice per day. Gently increase the concentration until you start to notice results.

Licorice extract can be mixed with other natural compounds to treat hyperpigmentation. Extracts from mulberry, raspberry, green tea, German chamomile, horse chestnut and grape seed may increase the potency and skin brightening powers of pure licorice extract.

Tip

Find a reliable source for organic, high-grade licorice extract.

Licorice extract is alcohol-based and astringent, so it can dry out skin. Be sure to follow it up with a moisturizer.

Warning

Licorice may be harmful for people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and other medical conditions. Consult with your doctor before using licorice extract to treat hyperpigmentation.