If you’re into Korean skincare, then you’re probably familiar with centella asiatica. Traditionally, it’s been used for medicinal and culinary purposes, but recently its popularity surged in the skincare industry! This ingredient sure has plenty of benefits, so let’s see why it’s in such high demand these days.
What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella asiatica -also known as Cica, Tiger Grass, Gotu Kola and Pennywort- is a perennial herb that grows in dark damp places typically found in India, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, China, Mexico, South Africa and others. There’s actually a legend that tigers would roll on centella asiatica beds to help soothe and heal their wounds (hence the name Tiger Grass).
Before mixing into our skin care products, people all across Asia consumed it as a fresh ingredient, cooking it into soup or porridge, as well as in beverages or health tonics. It’s an important plant used to treat a variety of ailments, such as eczema, cholera, smallpox, hepatitis, diarrhea, leprosy and more.
There are four main active ingredients within the plant: asiatic acid, madecassic acid, madecassoside and asiaticoside. All these actives have been studied and found to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, redness reducing, age and acne fighting capabilities.
Benefits for the Skin
You may have already guessed that “Cica” is short for centella asiatica, but do you know that it also refers to its cicatrising and healing abilities? According to a recent study in 2019, all four main active components of centella asiatica, especially asiaticoside, significantly accelerates the wound healing process. They improve blood flow and boost production of collagen resulting in rapid growth of new skin cells.
Another amazing quality research has found is that it prevents the growth of certain bacteria. So when you apply, it’s great at fighting off inflammation by inhibiting these pro-inflammatory trouble makers in your skin. Leading centella asiatica to be a helping hand for those with acne-prone skin and sensitive skin too.
Madecassoside, another active component of centella asiatica, has properties that help inhibit the growth of acne causing bacteria. Making this ingredient a powerhouse against redness and irritation!
Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 (i.e niacinamide), C, and carotene, centella asiatica is a great source of natural antioxidants. It helps to neutralize free radicals found in pollution and UV rays that can cause skin cell damage.
As you know, aging is a natural process, in other words, it’s inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it gracefully with a little help from centella asiatica. One of the main reasons for premature aging is the decrease of type I collagen. Centella asiatica fuels collagen synthesis, particularly type I collagen, which helps to maintain skin’s elasticity and firmness. Along with the high antioxidant level that fights off free radicals, centella asiatica makes a superstar anti-ager.
Want to start using centella asiatica right now? Keep some of these tips in mind so you can optimize this ingredient:
- Always do a patch test first! Even though it’s suitable for all skin types and well known to calm sensitive skin, you can never be too careful.
- Pair it up with vitamin C and/or glycolic acid to boost collagen production more effectively.
- Try using it to soothe inflamed skin and hydrate dry areas after using drying acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide.
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