Licomela is an extract of Liquorice root – Glycyrrhiza glabra – a plant whose compounds have been clinically demonstrated to improve skin brightness, decrease melasma and even-out dark patches caused by spot pigmentation.



Glycyhrriza glabra root extract, glycerine or propanediol, water


Appearance: Brown to dark brown liquid

Solubility: Water soluble, partially soluble in ethanol 

pH range: 4.0 - 6.0

  • Non-irritant
  • Derived from nature
  • Traditionally used
  • Safe


Use level: 1–6%

Shelf-life: 24 months


  • Lightening and brightening
  • Suppress melanogenesis
  • Treatment of spot pigmentation
  • Anti-inflammatory


The liquorice roots used for the production of Licomela are cultivated naturally in the town of Dysseldorp in South Africa as part of a community upliftment project. Following an organic cultivation process, the roots are washed then dried and graded. Zuplex obtains the best plant material through the appointed commercial trader whereafter the raw material is prepared for extraction.


Liquorice is a hardy plant mostly found in Europe, Africa and Asia. As a folk and herbal remedy, it has a long history in Western and Eastern traditional medicine. Liquorice extract has traditionally been used for the promotion of wound healing by accelerating wound epithelisation and helping tissue remodelling at the wound site. It is useful in treatment of peptic ulcers, heartburn, indigestion, cough, sore throat, oral and dental problems and skin diseases. Liquorice has been considered as a magical herb in traditional medicine. Liquorice medicinal effects have always been considered prominent in traditional and modern medicine


Liquorice root contains numerous bioactive natural compounds, many of which are potent cosmeceutical ingredients. Glabridin, a key chemical present in liquorice extract, has many properties beneficial in cosmeceutical products. It acts as antioxidant, estrogenic, anti-inflammatory, and skin-whitening agent. Other active compounds such as glabrene, isoliquiritigenin luciraside, isoliquiritin and licochalcone A, isolated from Licorice extract also show inhibitory activity against the tyrosinase enzyme. Liquirtin is another compound associated with skin brightening.


Liquorice extract has been known as a safe skin-lightening material and has the least side effects. This extract works by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme and several other enzymes in the arachidonic acid cascade, especially the cyclooxygenase enzyme released after exposure to sunlight. Therefore, liquorice is also effective to treat hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure.


Another component found naturally in the liquorice extract is liquiritin, which has a depigmentation effect working by dispersing melanin. Some chemical constituents of liquorice such as polyphenolic flavonoids are well known for their antioxidant properties. Glabridin has been shown to inhibit tyrosinase T1 and T3 isoenzymes in melanoma B16 cells without affecting DNA synthesis. The depigmentation effect of glabridin is known to be stronger than that of hydroquinone making it the ideal active ingredient to combat hyperpigmentation.


Clinical tests conducted by Indonesia’s Hasanuddin University* on 12 women between the ages of 34 and 45 years old showed conclusive evidence that a 10% liquorice extract decreased spot pigmentation from 6.5 units to 3 units after 28 days – a result superior to that of hydroquinone as evidenced in another study.

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