Dipotassium glycyrrhizate is an ingredient derived from licorice root extract that functions as a skin-conditioning agent with anti-inflammatory and skin-soothings properties in cosmetics and personal care products. It can also be used as an emulsifier and gel-forming agent.
Dipotassium glycyrrhizate is the dipotassium salt of glycyrrhizic acid, also known as glycyrrhizin, which is a key component in licorice root extract. Licorice is the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, an herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, such as India. The plant produces long flowers that are purple to pale whitish blue. Glycyrrhizin is the main sweet-tasting constituent of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, which can be extracted and used in candies or sweeteners. Licorice extract is 30 to 50 times sweeter than sugar.
Licorice root extract has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is well known for its soothing effects on inflamed membranes and its expectorant properties in removing phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tract. For this reason, licorice can be used from everything from the common cold to liver disease. Many of the health benefits provided by licorice come from glycyrrhizin, which could be why dipotassium glycyrrhizate is now used in skin care products as an anti-inflammatory ingredient.
In cosmetics and personal care products, dipotassium glycyrrhizate functions as skin-conditioning agent with anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties, as well as an emulsifier and gel-forming agent.
Dipotassium glycyrrhizate is a skin-conditioning agent that has the ability to improve the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. It has a soothing effect and also calms inflammation. In fact, clinical studies have determined that dipotassium glycyrrhizate is an effective treatment for atopic dermatitis (eczema) because of its ability to reduce redness and irritation.
Dipotassium glycyrrhizate has also been shown to help preserve hyaluronic acid content in the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a key molecule involved in maintaining skin hydration with the ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Youthful skin retains its turgor, resilience, and pliability due to its rich supply of hyaluronic acid and high water content. By preserving hyaluronic acid content in the skin, dipotassium glycyrrhizate helps to maintain hydrated, youthful skin.
Lastly, dipotassium glycyrrhizate functions as an emulsifier and gel-forming agent in cosmetics and personal care products. Emulsifiers are necessary for products that contain both water and oil components. Mixing water and oil together creates a dispersion of oil droplets in water (and vice versa). However, these two phases can separate if the product is left to settle. To address this problem, an emulsifier can be added to the system to help the droplets remain dispersed. Emulsifiers improve the consistency of a product, which enables an even distribution of topical skin care benefits.
The safety of dipotassium glycyrrhizate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The Panel noted that this ingredient is poorly absorbed through the skin. Clinical tests revealed that dipotassium glycyrrhizate is non-irritating, non-sensitizing, and non-phototoxic. After evaluating the scientific data, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that dipotassium glycyrrhizate was safe for use in cosmetic and personal care products.
The safety of dipotassium glycyrrhizate has also been evaluated and rated on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. According to the Cosmetic Database, dipotassium glycyrrhizate is rated as a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest risk to health and 10 being the highest. However, the Cosmetic Database does note that there is limited available data on the use of dipotassium glycyrrhizate in cosmetics and personal care products.
References: Wikipedia “Liquorice”, Wikipedia “Glycyrrhizin”, Cosmetics Info “Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate”, EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database “Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate”