Centella Asiatica (Cica)


Also known as Centella, Asiatic Pennywort, and Gotu Kola, this ingredient has gained traction in recent years as an effective healing and restoration ingredient in a wide brand of skincare products. A large number of Korean skincare products have carried the Cica name, representing it as the primary ingredient in their diverse offerings, with Western brands beginning to offer their own variation using this deeply hydrating and skin-saving ingredient.

What is it?

From Paula’s Choice:  Centella asiatica is a perennial herb that grows primarily in Asia. For years, it’s had both culinary and medicinal uses, but like many traditional plant extracts, it’s gaining popularity as a skin care ingredient.

This swamp-dwelling herb first started appearing in South Korean cica creams a few years ago, although U.S. brands from Estee Lauder have used it off and on over the years—they just didn’t call them cica creams.

Cica creams became cornerstones of the famous K-beauty ritual because of their alleged soothing benefits, and, in a case of everything old being new again, Western beauty brands are claiming it’s the hot new beauty ingredient. But, is Centella asiatica worth the hype?


What Can Centella Asiatica Do for Skin?

From Paula’s Choice:  Studies show that Centella asiatica isn’t just a passing fad—it really does have benefits for skin, thanks to its active compounds, including madecassoside, which serves as an antioxidant. Centella asiatica itself also has been shown to have potent antioxidant properties and to be a rich source of amino acids, and there’s additional research showing that it’s a good hydrating ingredient to soothe upset or compromised skin.

Centella asiatica also helps mitigate some of the visible effects of sun damage, plus there’s evidence that it can help revitalize skin’s protective barrier.

That’s a great list of benefits for one plant ingredient, but just to be clear: Centella asiatica isn’t the best or only natural ingredient that can improve skin. There are literally hundreds of beneficial natural ingredients, as well as outstanding synthetic ingredients (hello, peptides!).


References for this information:
Phytomedicine, April 2018, pages 110–119
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, August 2017, pages 311–315
Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jan-Feb 2016, pages 27–33
Postepy Dermatologii I, February 2013, pages 46–49
Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2010, pages 546–556

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