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A note on licorice and curcumin.............maybe of warning


Both Curcumin and Licorice lighten the skin and are in skin-lightening products.

Licorice, even though being very anti-androgenic and inhibiting alpha five reductase AND inhibiting androgen receptors, seems to do something that is bad for hair period as rat-neck hair has shown in experiments like this one:

Epilatory Effect of Glycyrrhizic Acid
Zaper, Julijana;1 Kakadjanova, Aina;1 Pfeffer, Jeannette;1
Kippenberger, Stefan;1 Bereiter-Hahn, Juergen;2 Kaufmann,
Roland;1 Bernd, August;1

  1. J.W. Goethe University, Dept. of Dermatology, Frankfurt/
    M., Germany; 2. J.W. Goethe University, Dept. of Zoology,
    Frankfurt/M., Germany
    Hypertrichosis, hirsutism and giant hairy nevus are well
    known examples of abnormal hair growth with some
    risk of a significant negative impact on the psychosocial
    development of affected people. So far, all known methods
    for hair removal are more or less effective and show
    partly considerable side effects like pain, skin irritation,
    contact eczema, folliculitis, and hyper-pigmentation. In
    co-operation with a study group of Turkmenistan we found
    a new principle of painless and rapid hair removal based on
    liquorice, a commonly used herbal extract of the traditional
    Asian medicine. In the meantime we defined the liquorice
    compound glycyrrhizic acid to be responsible for the
    epilatory effect. We dissolved 15% glycyrrhizic acid in an
    aqueous solution containing 10% urea and 20% ethanol
    and treated wistar rats in the neck region twice a day.
    After 3 days first indications for hair loss became visible.
    After 6-12 days the treated skin was nearly free of hairs
    without any sign of skin irritation. Even after a periodically
    long term treatment over one year no abnormality of the
    skin surface was visible, but a permanent reduction in
    re-growing hair quantity by more than 50%.
    Based on
    these findings Glycyrrhizic acid is a candidate molecule
    for the development of a powerful agent for painless and
    permanent hair removal.

Short answer is this: I dont know, but the PERMANENT fifty percent reduction in rat neck hair would seem to indicate that licorice, despite being a particularily potent anti-androgen, also does something to hair (or body hair anyway) that lasts well after any anti-androgenic effect should have passed away upon stoppage of treatment-----seeminlgy indicitaive of being “bad” for hair period. Licorice according to a Japanes study that Ive posted over and over, both inhibited alpha five reductase and inhibited androgen receptor binding in the skin, making it a super-powerful topical anti-androgen.

I HOPE that curcumin doesn’t do something that is bad for hair period also…that is a concern. The fact that both of these substances inhibit androgen receptors and alpha five reductase AND SEEM TO SLOW MELANOCYTES (licorice by some 41% in one experiment) kind of makes them seem to be working through a very similar mechanism.

Curcumin inhibited both forms of alpha five reductase at 99% in whole cell assays and inhibited hamster flank organs by 87% (the same as gamma linolenic acid), and inhibited about 37% of flank organ growth when pure DHT was applied (indicating that it inhibits the receptor directly to some extent). We know, via androscience, that continual application of curcumoids seem to degrade the androgen receptors period by interfereing with certain protiens within them, downreging their very expression.

I hope Curcumin will be “good” for hair though…

If I had to guess right now, the safest thing to add to one’s shampoo would be gel caps of soy isoflavones. They decrease androgen receptor expression and genistein and daidzien both inhibited whole cell assays of alpha five type two at close to ninety percent, and had some inhibition of type one also. Topical soy decreased sebum excretions by 65% at week five, indictating anti-androgenic potency in human skin at least at the sebaceous gland level…but admittedly anagen hair follicles are definitely deeper in the dermis than that.

I keep thinking that we will find a substance out there in nature that is super effective in HUMAN SKIN, which is harder to permeate than a hamster’s flank organ, at either inhibiting alpha five reductase, blocking and/or downregulating andrgoen receptor expression, that we will merely be able to add to our shampoo’s without unacceptable side effects. However, just because something is anti-androgenic doesn’t mean that it might not be “bad” for hair period. Peppermint really reduced the beard hair on one side of my chin greatly, but after reading of so many dissapointed revita users (revita has to types of menthol derivatives therein). Also I used peppermint oil/water on my own hair for a while…and despite it getting darker (peppermint stimulates melanocytes) it certainly wasn’t looking all that good to me—and it made me wonder. We’d KNOW this stuff for a fact if some scientific entity would merely test these things, even if merely ex vivo, on head hair. The point is, that something can be both anti-androgenic, but still hard on head hair----as it certainly seems licorice would be as the anti-androgenic effect of it should have dissipated in that experiment and the rat’s neck hair should have been regrowing after all that time. The right side of my chin’s beard hair STILL hasn’t fully rebounded, and its been over a year now…food for thought.


Ouch. I’d hate like hell to see something poke a hole in the hopes for ASC-J9.

But are we sure what’s doing what here? I mean, I’m assuming the affected rat hair/fur wasn’t SUPPOSED to be hurt by the lack of androgens, right? (It’s not like human beard/body hair, right?)

And do we know about the specifics of active ingredient in Curcumin that ASC-J9 uses, compared to the effects of licorice? (Or does it matter, since they’re both demolishing the androgen receptor’s action for basically the same result?)


The analogy between licorice and curcumin is something that needs to be checked first.

Meanwhile is there any study about the effect of licorice on Wnt signaling benji ?


» The analogy between licorice and curcumin is something that needs to be
» checked first.
» Meanwhile is there any study about the effect of licorice on Wnt
» signaling benji ?

I was pointing out similarities between the two. Curcumin inhibits wnt signalling to some extent if I remember correctly. They are similar in that they both inhibit alpha five, both block receptors to at least some extent, and both seem to degrade receptor expression, and both are used in skin-lightening products…thats alot to have in common.

The rat hair, after one year of being off treatment, really should be growing back, and that is troublesome. I thought it was something to throw out there as food for thought.

BTW-curcumin can easily be added to shampoo…it mixes easily and doesnt stain this way.


But do we know for sure that the rat hair loss wasn’t just a product of the androgen deprivation itself, which should not be a problem for human (scalp) hair?

I’m trying to say this:

We know for d*mn sure that human scalp hairs get permanently hurt by androgens. Overload them with extra androgens and they’ll quickly get permanent damage. Most of that damage doens’t just reverse itself nice & easy whenever the extra androgens are removed again (and not even when ALL the androgens are removed for that matter).

So, what if the opposite is true for androgen DEPENDENT hairs on the beard? (and maybe on the rat?) If you deprive these hairs of androgens, could the androgen deprivation be causing those hairs some kind of “reverse-polarity” version of the MPB/immune attack we suffer from?

Other thoughts:

If the problem isn’t an aspect of the primary effect, there may be a way to counter it. (Like adding in a WNT-boosting substance if that’s the culprit, for example.)

Androscience’s stuff is something like 30 times more potent than natural curcumin. If it kills hair in some bad way, the researchers should find out in a pretty big hurry.