Starting a K-beauty business has opened my eyes to many more ingredients that I had never heard of in western skincare. One of them that has been mentioned the most is centella asiatica but more popularly called cica (or brahmi, asiatic pennywort, tiger grass or gotu kola). This plant extract has been around for a long time, however it has only been in the past decade that studies have come out backing the multitasking super ingredient. The best part is that cica is great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin!
What exactly is centella asiatica? (Let's call it cica from now on...)
Cica is a perennial herb native to subtropical regions of the world including Asia. It has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years to assist healing small wounds and to treat anti-inflammatory conditions like eczema. Even tigers are known to roll around in it when they are injured! Cica contains many actives but the main 4 to give credit for its medicinal qualities are asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside. It's these 4 actives that give cica its antimicrobial, antioxidant, redness reducing, age and acne fighting capabilities.
What can cica do?
IT FIGHTS AGEING
Studies show that cica increases collagen production and improves skin firmness and elasticity. Cica is also great at hydrating the skin as it improves the skin's moisture barrier to give you that young looking skin. It also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, carotene and niacin, making it a powerful anti-aging ingredient.
IT SOOTHES AND HEALS THE SKIN WHILE FIGHTING ACNE
The increase in collagen production then helps to heal wounds faster and decreases inflammation of the skin. The active madecassic acid heals pimples while simultaneously preventing acne scarring.
IT'S REDUCES THE SKIN'S SENSITIVITY
Cica also protects the skin with its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. This means that if you have dermatitis, this ingredient can reduce redness and heal the skin.
To top it off, COSRX even has the dreamy Kim Soo Hyun endorsing the Pure Fit Serum as his favourite product for soothing his skin! (If you haven't binged It's Okay To Not Be Okay, you definitely should!).
If you're wanting to try cica in your skincare routine, here are some of my favourites.
If you're not convinced to try a full sized product, the COSRX CICA-7 Relief Kit contains minis so you can give all the products a go!