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Licochalcone (Licorice Root Extract)

Powerful Molecule Contained in Licorice Root Extract, Isolated for Our Use

By: Dan Kern, Acne.org Founder & CSO
Last updated: April 26, 2020

The Essential Information

Licochalcone is a molecule derived from a specific species of Chinese licorice root that helps calm acne-prone skin through its ability to:

  • Control oil production
  • Keep acne bacteria in check
  • Reduce inflammation

It is what gives Acne.org Moisturizer and Acne.org AHA+ their characteristic yellow color.

The Science

What Is It?

Licorice root has been used in skin care for millennia. According to the National Cancer Institute it has, "potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant...activities." Licochalcone is a molecule contained in licorice root extract which helps control oil production, and is anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory. In short, it helps calm and soothe acne-prone skin. It is suitable for sensitive skin, and imparts a natural yellow color to products.

It is a key ingredient in both the Acne.org Moisturizer and Acne.org AHA+.

Licochalcone - A Key Ingredient in Acne.org Moisturizer and Acne.org AHA+

My Bottom Line on It

I am skeptical of most extracts that comes along, but when I learned about licochalcone at the Society of Cosmetic Chemists meeting about 10 years ago, I found it intriguing and decided it was worth a closer look. After doing more research, I found myself impressed by its potential. Several trustworthy mentors of mine in the acne community also espoused its oil-reducing, bacteriostatic, and anti-inflammatory capabilities--specifically its ability to interrupt the inflammation cascade right where acne-prone skin needs it. But as we all know, the proof is in the pudding. So I worked with our team of biochemists to make some test products with this ingredient, I absolutely adored them and what they did for my skin. It is an extremely expensive ingredient to include, particularly when using it at its efficacious level, but I made the decision that it was worth it."

Licochalcone (Licorice Root Extract)

One Challenge It Presents

It is very expensive (over $7000 per kilogram), so it increases the cost of products. Thus you will not see it used in many products.

Where to Get It

Our store. Licochalcone is a key ingredient in Acne.org Moisturizer and Acne.org AHA+ (10% glycolic acid plus lichochalcone).

Licochalcone (Licorice Root Extract) Effects in the Skin

  • Community Links


  1. "Definition of licorice root extract." National Cancer Institute Drug Dictionary. 11 Jun. 2008. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/licorice-root-extract

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