The skin is constantly challenged by environmental stressors such as UV radiation and chemicals. To cope with UV radiation, various skin cells have evolved a complex protective antioxidant defence system.

"We found out that the antioxidant active Licochalcone A, which is the main component of the root extract of the plant Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese Licorice), is able to protect the skin from subsequent UV irradiation damage from within by strengthening the skin's own defence systems”.

“Thus plant extracts with the described profile are able to provide a protective shield from sun exposure supporting and going beyond the action of sunscreens regarding sun protection", said Gitta Neufang, a researcher involved in the work from Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany.

In order to test the effects of the plant-derived active Licochalcone A in cell culture, Neufang and colleagues isolated human skin cells and irradiated them with solar simulated light mimicking sun exposure.

They were able to show that skin cells pre-treated with Licochalcone A produced a higher amount of 'self-protecting', antioxidant molecules. Consequently, significantly less harmful radicals were detected in Licochalone A treated human skin cells.

The findings were published in Experimental Dermatology.


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