What is Centella Asiatica?

This is a tricky skincare ingredient because it actually has so many names - Cica, Centella Asiatica, Tiger Grass, and Gotu Kola are all names that this plant goes by! However, no matter what you call it, it has the same fantastic benefits for skin - here’s why Centella Asiatica is such a star skincare ingredient. 

What is Centella Asiatica?

centella asiatica leaf in white mortar and pestle

The plant itself is actually found across most of Asia and is popular as a drink and as a health supplement. However, that’s not the only way that you can benefit from this tropical plant! Centella Asiatica gets its nickname as ‘Tiger Grass’ from tigers being observed rubbing themselves in patches of this plant to help speed up their wound healing. 

The other nickname for this, plant, ‘cica’, probably comes from the word ‘cicatrix’, meaning scar. Creams containing Centella Asiatica extracts are often called ‘cica’ creams, aka scar creams - and wound healing is something that this plant extract is famous for. 

But how is Centella Asiatica so good at being able to heal skin? That’s thanks to unique molecules called triterpenes. There are four major triterpenes that are linked to Centella Asiatica’s benefits: Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Asiaticoside and Madecassoside. In some cases, an individual triterpene might be isolated and listed in the ingredients list - but rest assured, if any if these appear on your skincare ingredients list, you’re in good hands!

Declare stress balance anti-irritation serum image

Declaré Anti-Irritation Serum | $85
This serum soothes skin with a powerful blend of Centella Extract and other nourishing ingredients.

What’s Centella Asiatica Good For?

We’ve already touched on Centella’s most famous benefit for skin - wound healing - but that’s not the only thing that Centella Asiatica can do for skin! Alongside that, here are three more reasons why you should add Cica to your skincare routine. 

Soothing Irritated Skin

Centella doesn’t just help to heal skin - it actively soothes irritation, as well. It’s been used as a skin-soothing remedy by various cultures around the world and these effects are still recognised today - it’s incredibly effective at temporarily calming eczema flare-ups, and studies indicate that it has potential as an over the counter eczema treatment.

Reducing Inflammation 

When it comes to dealing with breakouts, something else that goes a long way to managing acne is first managing inflammation of the skin. Reducing inflammation does two crucial things - first, skin feels less itchy and more comfortable. 

Second, reducing inflammation reduces the likelihood of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, aka PIH - the dark spots left behind by acne. Centella Asiatica works by reducing inflammation thanks to it’s antioxidant abilities for calmed, less inflamed skin. 

Hydrating Skin

Studies have found that Centella Asiatica is effective at preventing trans-epidermal water loss - that’s when water literally evaporates away from the skin. Keeping skin hydrated is crucial to overall skin health - it ensures that it’s working as it should and can repair itself as it should for healthy, glowing skin.

Supporting Skin Healing

Centella Asiatica has actually been used for an incredibly long time as a natural remedy for wound healing - and the science backs it up. Studies show that Centella Asiatica extracts are able to speed up wound healing as well as minimise scarring, thanks to the collagen-boosting abilities of Centella Asiatica. 

guerlain abeille royale night cream jar
Guerlain's night cream is rich in a healing combination of Centella Extract, Honey, and Royal Jelly for perfect skin.

Who Should Use It?

Looking at the benefits above, there are definitely a few skin concerns that would benefit from Centella the most - acne-prone skin and sensitive skin have the most to gain from Centella Asiatica’s soothing, healing abilities. However, that doesn’t mean that if you don’t have those issues you should give Cica a pass. 

Centella Asiatica is one of those fantastic skincare ingredients that contribute to overall skin health and can be used by pretty much every skin type.

Need some help putting together the best skincare routine for your skin? Try our skin quiz!

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