You've seen the "cica" products coming from Korea; the Centella Asiatica advertised as one of the key ingredients in many a K-beauty moisturizer. And as of late, Centella Asiatica has been popping up in Western skincare brands despite the fact that it has been marketed as something else for quite some time now.
Ever heard of madecassoside? Well, that's one of the primary ingredients in Centella Asiatica that helps stimulate collagen production and what most Western skincare companies have been calling Centella Asiatica in their products. But "Centella Asiatica—A Miracle Ingredient From Asia " helps freshen things up, non?
But is this just another trend on its way out? Like a health craze that sees a new superfood pop up every few years? Given the bonafide benefits that the plant imparts, it seems like it's here to stay.
Just What Is It Exactly?
Centella Asiatica (more colloquially referred to as Asian Pennywort) is known to have been considered one of the "miracle elixirs of life" in China over 2,000 years ago. Typically found in India and in tropical climates across Asia, Centella Asiatica also has an important place in Ayurvedic medicine.
Its place in these ancient medicinal practices is cemented by its wound healing properties. It's reported that the plant has been used to treat conditions such as leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers, eczema, psoriasis, diarrhea, fever, and amenorrhea. Depending on the medicinal practice, it has also been used to treat high blood pressure and to revitalize the nerves.
With such a long roster of conditions that it can treat, it is no wonder that Centella Asiatica has such a good reputation.
Centella Asiatica & Skincare
So what about this small, fan-shaped plant is so game-changing when used in our skincare products?
Centella Asiatica has the following primary benefits when used for the skin:
1. Reduces inflammation
2. Imparts benefits as an anti-oxidant
3. Promotes collagen production
4. Hydrates the skin
Let's break this down. By reducing inflammation, Centella Asiatica is effective in combatting acne and breakouts. Acting as an anti-oxidant and stimulating collagen production not only benefit anti-aging products, but also helps individuals reduce the appearance of acne scars. Can't really say much more about hydrating the skin other than, we just need it.
"Cica" (which is a shorthand for products that are centered around Centella Asiatica) products are typically geared towards individuals with sensitive skin, and have been popping up left and right in Korea to combat the negative effects of pollution on the skin. Sensitive skin is difficult to care for since you don't know when your skin is going to react negatively and to what. This cocktail of benefits not only carefully cares for the health of the skin, but also helps to address episodes of increased sensitivity whenever they should arise.
When put in cleansers, such as CosRx' Pure Fit Cica Cleanser ($15), it helps people whose skin reacts easily to harsher foam cleansers effectively cleanse their skin without compromising their natural moisture barrier. You even have the freedom of adding Centella Asiatica's soothing benefits to any of your current skincare products with the Pure Fit Cica Powder ($15). Minimally formulated toner-mists like the Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner ($18) can be effective in providing day-long relief when addressing reactive, sensitive skin.
In conclusion, Centella Asiatica is able to a) benefit a wide range of skin types, b) manage the quality of your skin while also addressing issues when they arise, and c) impart anti-aging benefits without having to use thick, typically-expensive anti-aging products.
You just can't go wrong with this guy.