Recently, the attention of specialists in the cosmetic sector has focused on the search for natural active ingredients with marked biological properties, in particular those useful for preventing and treating various skin conditions.
A plant active ingredient with remarkable biological activity is 18 ꞵ - glycyrrhetinic acid, commonly called glycyrrhetic acid, which is extracted from the licorice root. Glycyrrhetic acid has many biological properties, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which are valuable for treating various human dermatological disorders related to inflammation, such as atopic dermatitis and skin aging due to exposure to UV rays.
Cortisol is a hormone that in normal conditions and following inflammatory stimuli is released in the tissues, therefore also in the skin. Glycyrrhetic acid has an anti-inflammatory action as it activates a physiological mechanism capable of prolonging the activity of cortisol, thus increasing its effectiveness. Furthermore, glycyrrhetic acid inhibits the formation of inflammatory substances, such as cytokines and leukotrienes. Thanks to its properties, which occur even at low dosages, glycyrrhetic acid can be used as a natural alternative to cortisone.
Glycyrrhetic acid is able to inactivate free radicals, such as those that form during exposure to UV rays and at the same time inhibits lipid oxidation. Thanks to these properties and its soothing action, glycyrrhetic acid can be used in solar formulations intended for sensitive and delicate skin. Glycyrrhetic acid also has anti-reddening and dermo-healing properties, so it is useful after sun exposure, but also to treat atopic and seborrheic dermatitis.
Fungi such as Candida Albicans and viruses are inhibited by the application of formulations containing glycyrrhetic acid. Thanks to the antiseptic properties of glycyrrhetic acid, it is possible to treat skin conditions such as acne or mucous membranes such as cold sores with this active ingredient.
Thanks to its important biological properties, glycyrrhetic acid is included in formulations intended for the treatment of dermatitis and other inflammatory skin conditions, as well as in solar formulations, cosmetic products intended for sensitive skin, such as aftershave and cosmetic products for children.