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Centella asiatica, also known as Cica or Gotu Kola, is a revered plant with a rich history in traditional medicine. It has gained significant attention in the Korean skincare industry due to its numerous benefits. This powerful herb offers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, wound healing, and soothing effects on the skin. It promotes collagen production, improves skin elasticity, reduces redness and inflammation, fades scars, and evens out skin tone. With its scientifically-backed benefits, Centella asiatica has become a popular ingredient in skincare products. Below, we cover more deeply the origin and benefits of centella asiatica, and review some of our favorite skincare products with centella asiatica as a featured ingredient.

What is Centella Asiatica?

Centella asiatica is a perennial herbaceous plant native to various regions of Asia, including India, China, and Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its small, rounded leaves and delicate purple or pink flowers.

Centella asiatica has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It has numerous medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to treat various ailments. Centella Asiatica and its compounds are known by several different names, depending on the region you’re in.

Common names to look for when choosing skincare products with centella asiatica include:

  • Centella Asiatica: This is the scientific or botanical name for the plant.
  • Cica: The shorthand form of “centella asiatica” and one of the more popular terms in skincare.
  • Gotu Kola: One of the most widely recognized names for Centella asiatica commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
  • Brahmi: In Ayurvedic medicine, Centella asiatica is often referred to as Brahmi or Indian pennywort.
  • Indian Pennywort: This name reflects the plant’s origin and its traditional use in Indian medicine.
  • Asiatic Pennywort: This name is derived from the plant’s scientific name, Centella asiatica.
  • Mandukaparni: This is another Sanskrit name for Centella asiatica used in Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Tiger Grass: This nickname comes from the belief that injured tigers would roll in Centella asiatica to aid in wound healing.
  • Madecassoside, Madecassic acid, Asiaticoside, Asiatic acid: Compounds of the centella asiatica plant that are commonly listed as skincare ingredients.

Centella asiatica has garnered considerable attention in the skincare industry due to its remarkable benefits. Alongside key compounds such as asiaticoside, madecassoside, and asiatic acid, Centella asiatica also contains triterpenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids that contribute to its efficacy. This plant offers a wide range of advantages, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, wound healing, and soothing properties. It has demonstrated its effectiveness in promoting collagen production, enhancing skin elasticity, reducing redness and inflammation, diminishing the appearance of scars, and achieving a more even skin tone.

To enhance efficacy, cica is often combined with other skincare ingredients that complement its effects. Examples include hyaluronic acid for hydration, niacinamide for brightening, and tea tree oil for acne control. These combinations further elevate the overall effectiveness of skincare formulations.

The Benefits of Centella Asiatica in Skincare

Centella asiatica is a versatile skincare ingredient that is suitable for all skin types. It encompasses a number of properties, including soothing, anti-aging, antioxidant, wound healing, and acne reduction. Cica is also well-tolerated by even the most sensitive skin, making it a reliable ingredient for a wide range of skin types and conditions seeking effective skincare solutions.

Soothing & Anti-inflammatory Benefits

Centella asiatica is highly regarded for its remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, making it a sought-after ingredient in skincare. This plant contains triterpenoid compounds, such as asiaticoside and madecassoside, known for their ability to reduce inflammation in the skin. These properties make cica particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitive or reactive skin, as it effectively soothes redness, irritation, and inflammation caused by environmental stressors.

One of the key advantages of cica is its calming and soothing effect on the skin, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive or reactive skin conditions. Its soothing properties provide alleviate skin discomfort, redness, and itching. This attribute has positioned Centella asiatica as a valuable ingredient in skincare products specially designed for sensitive skin types.

Antioxidant Effect

Centella asiatica is highly prized for its antioxidant properties, which stem from its content of flavonoids and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants effectively combat harmful free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and accelerate skin aging. By neutralizing free radicals, cica protects the skin from cellular damage, promoting a more youthful and radiant complexion. The flavonoids and phenolic compounds in cica work to stabilize molecules, inhibit free radical formation, and maintain the skin’s integrity, ensuring healthy skin function and preserving collagen and elastin for elasticity and firmness.

Wound Healing & Scar Reduction

Centella asiatica is highly regarded for its wound healing and scar reduction properties. It stimulates collagen production, aiding in the rebuilding of damaged skin tissue and promoting effective wound healing. Additionally, cica promotes angiogenesis, enhancing blood circulation to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the injured area. The plant also shows promise in reducing the appearance of hypertrophic scars and keloids by regulating collagen synthesis and supporting overall wound healing. Centella asiatica’s remarkable abilities make it a valuable ingredient for addressing wounds and minimizing the visibility of scars.

Collagen Production

Centella asiatica is known for its ability to boost collagen production, which is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. Its bioactive compounds stimulate collagen synthesis by activating fibroblasts in the skin. This leads to a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improved skin texture and tone, and enhanced structural integrity. Additionally, increased collagen levels help the skin retain moisture, promoting hydration and a healthy, plump complexion. By incorporating Cica into skincare routines, individuals can enjoy the benefits of improved collagen production and achieve a more youthful and radiant appearance.

Acne Reduction

Centella asiatica is a valuable ingredient in acne skincare products due to its ability to reduce acne and blemishes. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties that calm and minimize acne-related inflammation, creating a healthier environment for the skin. Cica also regulates sebum production, preventing pore congestion and the formation of new acne lesions. Its skin healing properties aid in the regeneration of skin cells, reducing the severity and duration of active breakouts. Additionally, Centella asiatica helps fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, resulting in a clearer and more even complexion.

How to Use Centella Asiatica in Your Skincare Routine

Centella asiatica is popularly found in various forms and concentrations in skincare products. It is widely incorporated into creams, serums, essences, toners, masks, and even cleansers. Different formulations offer different levels of Centella asiatica concentration, so it’s important to choose products that suit your preferences and skincare needs. Some products may contain higher concentrations for targeted treatments, while others may have lower concentrations for daily maintenance.

Using Centella Asiatica by Skin Type

Acne-Prone Skin: If you have acne-prone skin, look for Centella asiatica products that specifically target acne and blemishes. These may contain additional ingredients like tea tree oil, niacinamide, or salicylic acid to enhance the acne-fighting effects. Apply the product as directed and consider using it as part of both your morning and evening skincare routine.

Sensitive or Irritated Skin: Centella asiatica is well-known for its soothing properties, making it suitable for sensitive or irritated skin. Look for gentle formulations with Centella asiatica that can help calm and reduce redness while restoring the skin’s natural moisture barrer. Consider using a Centella asiatica-based sleep masks as a part of your nighttime routine to provide overnight relief and healing.

Anti-Aging: To harness Centella asiatica’s anti-aging benefits, look for products that emphasize collagen production and skin elasticity. These may have higher concentrations of cica, such as in concentrated serums, and can be applied both morning and night as a part of your regular skincare routine.

How to Maximize the Benefits of Centella Asiatica

To maximize the benefits of Centella asiatica, consider incorporating it into your skincare routine alongside other popular ingredients.

Popular skincare ingredient pairings with centella asiatica include:

Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid with centella asiatica can provide a hydrating and plumping effect, promoting a moisturized and supple complexion.

Niacinamide: Combining niacinamide with centella asiatica can help improve overall skin tone and texture.

Retinol: Centella asiatica and retinol or tretinoin can provide comprehensive anti-aging benefits and soothe the skin from any irritation related to the retinol.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C with centella asiatica can enhance the skin’s radiance and promote a more even complexion.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid helps unclog pores, control excess oil production, and reduce acne breakouts, while centella asiatica offers soothing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Ceramides: Pairing centella asiatica with ceramides can provide enhanced hydration and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier function.

Green Tea Extract: Combining green tea extract with centella asiatica can offer additional antioxidant protection and soothing effects, making it suitable for sensitive or irritated skin.

Best Centella Asiatica Skincare Products

Centella Asiatica has recently gained popularity in skincare products thanks to its healing, anti-inflammatory, and calming properties. It can be found in all types of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, serums, masks, and moisturizers. With so many products, it can be hard to choose the best centella asiatica skincare, but below we cover some popular favorites suitable for all skin types.

Best Cleanser – IUNIK Centella Mild Foaming Facial Cleanser

The iUnik Centella Mild Cleansing Foam is a skincare product that combines the benefits of 0.2% salicylic acid and 49.9% Centella Asiatica extract. This gentle cleanser effectively removes dead skin cells and excess sebum without stripping the skin’s natural moisture. With a soothing foam texture and a low pH, it is suitable for sensitive skin. The combination of cica extract and salicylic acid provides both gentle and exfoliating properties, while the creamy texture generates micro bubbles for effective yet non-drying cleansing.

Buy IUNIK Centella Mild Foaming Facial Cleanser

Best Toner – Purito Centella Unscented Toner

The Purito Centella Unscented Toner is a versatile skincare product that soothes the skin, improves texture, restores moisture, and strengthens the skin barrier. It is part of the Centella Unscented line and features a fast-absorbing, low pH formula without essential oils or artificial fragrances. With 10% Centella Asiatica Extract, it delivers soothing benefits through active compounds. The toner is gentle, suitable for sensitive skin, and contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, trehalose, and panthenol, which makes it a popular choice for the Korean 7-Skin Method. It replenishes the skin barrier, calms inflammation, tightens pores, and is free from harsh chemicals and preservatives, making it suitable for various skin types.

Buy Purito Centella Unscented Toner

Best Serum – SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica Ampoule

The SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica Ampoule is a versatile skincare product suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It contains 100% cica extract with a high concentration of active compounds like Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, and Madecassic Acid, along with other natural components. The use of Madagascan Centella Asiatica enhances its soothing properties, providing seven times more soothing actives than other Cica extracts. This ampoule helps calm and restore imbalanced skin caused by harsh environments. With a light, non-sticky texture, it repairs damaged skin and regulates water-oil balance for improved hydration.

Buy SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica Ampoule

Best Moisturizer – Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream Moisturizer

The Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream Moisturizer is a cica-based face cream specially formulated for sensitive skin. It boosts the skin’s resilience while helping to calm redness and irritation. With cica and niacinamide, it moisturizes and soothes sensitive skin. The cream has a soft, creamy texture that absorbs quickly. It contains key ingredients such as niacinamide for moisture retention and glycerin for replenishing moisture. The advanced proprietary ingredients, including Jartbiome, Centella Rx, and Cicabond, work together to restore the skin’s natural balance and strengthen its barrier. Overall, this moisturizer provides effective hydration and relief for sensitive skin.

Buy Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream Moisturizer

Best Cream – La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

The La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is a versatile and gentle cream suitable for people of all ages, including babies as young as one week old. It is enriched with Centella Asiatica (Madecassoside) and hydrating ingredients such as dimethicone, glycerin, shea butter, and panthenol. The combination of these ingredients with copper, zinc, and manganese enhances the soothing and moisturizing effects, reducing dryness and irritation. Formulated with La Roche-Posay’s thermal spring water, this cream has a rich texture that is easily absorbed, leaving no oily or sticky residue. It has gained popularity on TikTok as a favorite for the skincare trend of slugging. This multi-purpose cream provides hydration and relief for cracked, chapped, and chafed skin. It effectively addresses dryness, protects the skin from environmental factors, and even helps prevent diaper rash.

Buy La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

Best for Reducing Redness – Benton Goodbye Redness Centella Gel

Benton Goodbye Redness Centella Gel is a skin-revitalizing gel that contains 80% Korean-grown Centella Asiatica Extract. It effectively alleviates the stress and fatigue of irritated skin, reducing redness, soothing sensitivity, and restoring the balance of oil and moisture levels. This gel is free from artificial fragrance, colorings, and 20 harmful or controversial ingredients, as well as volatile alcohol, PEGs, and silicones. With its mildly acidic pH, it provides a comfortable and compatible environment for the skin, resembling the pH level of healthy skin. The gel delivers instant hydration and soothing, helping the skin regain its strength and clarity and is a popular refreshing gel for summer skincare.

Buy Benton Goodbye Redness Centella Gel

Best Face Mask – Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask

The Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask is a specially formulated hypoallergenic sleep mask that harnesses the regenerative power of cica and Laneige’s unique Forest Yeast ferment to strengthen the skin barrier. It is ideal for sensitive and dry skin, providing soothing and moisturizing benefits. The mask contains key ingredients like asiaticoside, madecassic acid, asiatic acid, and tea tree oil, known for their soothing properties. The cica-infused formula is gentle on the skin while offering additional benefits such as brightening, moisturizing, and combating signs of aging.

Buy Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask