Think of your skin as a sleeping ogre—you never know when it'll wake up and decide to cause trouble. That's why instead of waiting for anything bad to happen, it's important to have ingredients in your skincare that'll keep it (and you) as calm as it should be. We have tons of options for this in the naturally-derived sphere alone: Aloe, licorice, and allantoin are three that personally come to mind. But if we're talking about trendy soothing ingredients, centella asiatica is definitely one that's been gaining the most traction, especially in K-beauty.
So what's so great about this herb that you'll find it in everything from toners, creams, to masks? Read through the guide below to find out!
What Is Centella Asiatica?
Centella asiatica is a herbaceous medicinal herb known for its healing properties. It's an ingredient with a lot of aliases, too, often referred to as gotu kola, Indian pennywort, tiger grass, and its most popular alias—cica! Its active compounds are almost as popular as centella asiatica itself, specifically madecassoside because of its antioxidant and similar soothing effects.
What Are the Skincare Benefits of Centella Asiatica?
1. It soothes redness and inflammation.
Centella asiatica has been traditionally used for skin-soothing, and research has shown that it's no old wives tale. It (plus its active component madecassoside) can be a lifesaver for anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin, helping reduce inflammation associated with acne as well as eczema.
2. It can help relieve irritation.
Creams with centella asiatica, also known as cica creams, became popular in the West and in K-beauty for the way it can help calm down the skin when it's stressed. And by stressed, we mean when it's feeling raw after a derma appointment or when it's dry and flaky.
That said, we wouldn't attribute the success of cica creams to only centella asiatica, since these products are also formulated with other healing ingredients like occlusives. If anything, you can think of centella asiatica as a reliable soothing booster for your skincare!
3. It acts as an antioxidant.
It may be no vitamin C, but studies have suggested that centella asiatica can also reduce the damaging effects of free radicals (a.k.a. sun damage) on the skin. So even if your skin isn't irritated, having some cica in your routine is always a plus.
4. It promotes collagen synthesis.
Centella asiatica is also said to help strengthen our protective barrier, which supports another of the herb's traditional uses, which is aiding wound healing. In fact, one study done on rats showed that centella asiatica extract lead to better collagen synthesis on open wounds.
Skincare Products with Centella Asiatica
1. Neogen Real Cica Pad
These centella asiatica extract-soaked pads can be the one thing you can use while your skin is acting up. In one sweep, it also boosts your hydration with hyaluronic acid and gives you barrier-protecting ceramide.
Real Cica Pad, P1100, NEOGEN, Watsons
2. Dr. Jart Cicapair Calming Gel Cream
Dr. Jart has an entire skincare line dedicated to cica products, and this calming gel cream is the most convenient one of the bunch. With 76% centella asiatica leaf water, it's light enough to use all over your face or even as a hand cream if your hands are raw from washing.
Cicapair Calming Gel Cream, P2400, DR. JART, Sephora.ph
3. Clinique iD Active Cartridge Concentrate for Delicate Skin
This booster cartridge from Clinique mixes centella asiatica extract and lactobacillus ferment into your moisturizer so not only are you helping your skin recover, you're soothing it with more moisture, too.
Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly + Active Cartridge Concentrate for Delicate Skin, P2650, CLINIQUE, Lazada
4. A'Pieu Madecassoside Cica Gel
This cica gel with 70% centella asiatica extract also has 0.5% madecassoside, the active compound that helps reduce inflammation from acne. Swap it for your usual moisturizer on bad skin days or use it as a spot treatment for those pesky inflamed zits.
Madecassoside Cica Gel, P910, A'PIEU, Lazada
5. Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask
When your skin needs a full soothing reset, seal your skincare routine with this sleeping mask. It contains the active compounds of centella asiatica that'll deliver all that anti-inflammatory goodness in a creamy, nourishing format.
Cica Sleeping Mask, P1087, LANEIGE, Beautymnl