Licorice lotion is a moisturizing lotion that is infused with licorice oil. The licorice plant, which is native to Western Asia, contains very sweet, strong-smelling oil in its roots. When added to ordinary skin creams, licorice oil reportedly soothes a number of skin irritations, both seasonal and hereditary. Some manufacturers sell licorice lotion, but several versions of it can easily be made with household ingredients.
In addition to the skin-softening effects that most lotions promote, licorice lotion may reduce the symptoms of eczema, rosacea, dry winter skin, and uneven pigmentation. Licorice oil features a compound called glycyrrhizinate that soothes redness, inflammation, and restores moisture to the skin. It may also reduce pigmentation unevenness caused by rosacea or the type sometimes found in people with darker complexions.
For the licorice lotion to work properly, one must apply it often. Recommendations include twice daily for eczema and once daily for mild rosacea. Those looking to even skin tone should only apply licorice-infused products once every day. The oil is a natural skin bleach and may cause additional pigmentation problems if applied too often.
In all of these cases, one may not see results for several days to a few weeks. Those treating dry skin may feel the soothing effects almost immediately, but probably will not see the symptoms clear for up to two weeks. Skin coloration may not even out for up to two months, even with regular use of licorice lotion. One can use the lotion whenever skin irritations or problems flare up, and regular use of the lotion may make flare-ups less common.
Though a few skin care companies carry licorice-infused moisturizers, these may also contain ingredients that cannot be applied to sensitive skin. Rubbing alcohol intensifies scents and keeps the lotion from spoiling, but may irritate already dried or wind-burned areas. Some people interested in using licorice lotion may simply dislike the idea of using a product full of chemicals.
Fortunately, several recipes exist for making homemade licorice lotion. The simplest involves stirring about a teaspoon (about 4 ml) of licorice extract into about a pint (about 1/2 L) of undyed, alcohol-free aloe vera lotion. The aloe carries the scent and dilutes the oil while helping to soften skin. Aloe vera is also antibacterial and may help the licorice oil fight any skin infections.
Another common recipe involves stirring the same amount of licorice extract into the same amount of shea or cocoa butter. Naturally-derived butters also help soften the skin and make it pliable. These butters also usually remain on top of the skin for a longer period, protecting it while the licorice extract has a chance to work.