If you are a huge Korean skincare fan like me, you have probably heard about Centella Asiatica for skin.
Known under different names like tiger grass, cica, Gotu kola, Indian pennywort, hydrocotyle, Brahmabuti, (wow those were a mouthful) this miracle ingredient is used in many K-beauty products.
Luckily, these days you can find Centella Asiatica in Western beauty brands too.
What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella Asiatica is a plant that largely grows in the humid climate of Southeast Asia and Madagascar. It looks like an ordinary weed, but in fact, it is one of the most famous medicinal plants, which has been used for several millennia in Chinese medicine.
Centella is referred to as the herb of longevity and eternal youth for its ability to improve memory, stimulate brain activity and normalize the nervous system. It treated skin diseases and open wounds, people also used it for cooking in Asia.
A couple of years ago, it found its way to K-beauty, and since then it has been a fan favorite. (especially for sensitive skin) In the modern skincare realm, Centella Asiatica is one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients that can smooth out even the deepest wrinkles.
So, what does Centella Asiatica do for skin? Is it worth the hype around it?
Yes, it totally does! Centella extract is considered a unique component that has a handful of benefits on the skin. It has a powerful regenerating effect, it promotes collagen production and provides the skin with hydration. Research shows that Centella Asiatica also enjoys anticellulite properties due to its antiaging activity.
It contains many active components, (Asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside, and madecassoside )that play a major role in skincare formulas for various purposes – from soothing creams to anti-cellulite gels.
It comes as no surprise that Centella Asiatica has also been used in anti-aging mesotherapy procedures for a long time.
These are some of Centella Asiatica skincare benefits:
- wound healing;
- anti-inflammatory effect;
- skin regeneration;
- soothing properties;
- lymphatic drainage;
- moisturizing qualities
How can your skin benefit from Centella Asiatica?
Generally, Centella Asiatica benefits all skin types, particularly sensitive skin due to its calming property. Here’s how:
If you have sensitive skin: Amino and fatty acids in Centella restore the skin barrier, which is very weak in sensitive skin. It reduces skin sensitivity, retains the skin moisture while almost guaranteeing immediate hydration. It is the number one name to fight against redness, rosacea, and acne in sensitive skin. Cica is known for reducing irritation and hyperpigmentation which are underlying causes of sensitive skin.
If you have dry skin: It is no brainer that what dry skin needs the most is hydration! It has been proven that cica extract has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects. So, just like sensitive skin, (which often tends to be on the dry side), dry skin can also reap the benefits of a cica packed moisturizer, for example. Since dry skin tends to age fast, Centella will make sure that your skin gets its daily anti-aging dose. It will also cure itchy skin, which is common for sensitive skin.
If you have oily skin: If you are one of those people who think oily skin doesn’t need moisturizing, I hate to break it to you that it totally does. When your skin isn’t properly moisturized, it produces even more oil which stands at the core of oily skin anyway.
Oily skin is also acne-prone skin, so using Centella-packed skincare products, whether it is toner (especially toner), or cleanser will help you control extra oil and keep your skin moisturized. It will help ease out acne-linked skin inflammation.
If you have normal or combination skin: First of all if you have normal skin, congratulations on that. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a Centella extract in your skincare routine, you still need a moisturizer with a potent antioxidant. If you have combination skin, simply identify dry and oily areas and use Centella products wherever you need to. Which in your case, would be both.
More about antioxidants in skincare: Antioxidants in Skincare – Approved Way to Glowy Skin
If you have aging skin: A study carried out in 2008 shows that a cream product with madecassoside extract of Centella improved the wrinkles on the skin of 20 women.
It boosted skin hydration and increased skin elasticity. Another study done in the same year concluded that Centella Asiatica extract improved the appearance of wrinkles around eyes after 12 weeks of use.
What are some Centella forms used in skincare?
Centella Asiatica Extract
This extract is used mainly in soothing creams and balms for dry, dehydrated, sensitive, and damaged skin that experiences some flaking.
Madecassoside is an active molecule, derived from Centella Asiatica, and is the primary ingredient in anti-aging formulas. It is proven to increase the production of collagen types I and III, thus increasing skin elasticity. As a result – yes, it smoothes out wrinkles. It is especially effective in combination with vitamin C. Just like other forms of Centella Asiatica, it has regenerating properties and calms the skin.
Asiatic acid, Madecassic acid, Asiaticoside
You can find them in the formulas with a variety of restoring agents. Asiatic acid combined with the two ingredients mentioned above provides an increased collagen production and activation of some growth factors in wounds, thus healing them.
Centella asiatica for skin types: Is it good for all skin types?
Yes, Centella is ideal for all skin types. Meaning, it provides moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging benefits for all skin types.
Skincare products with Centella Asiatica
So, now that we have deciphered what actually Centella is, it is only natural that we talk about how its benefits are utilized in skincare products. It is used in skincare and cosmetology in different forms, depending on the purpose of the product.
Centella is very versatile when it comes to its distribution throughout different product categories. Products with cica come in serums, toners, cleansers. You may notice that they have a green tint and because it is very effective against skin redness and irritation, it successfully prevents the inflammation of the skin.
These products will have components such as asiaticoside, Asiatic acid, madecassic acid, and madecassoside as highlighted above.
Can you mix other ingredients with Centella Asiatica?
The best pair for Centella Asiatica would probably be Vitamin C. Since Vitamin C is very well known for its collagen-boosting properties, a combination with Centella is a more potent way of giving your skin that extra collagen boost and an ultimate anti-oxidant effect.
More about Vitamin C serums: 4 Side Effects of Vitamin C serums, Benefits and More
Another powerful couple would be Centella + Glycolic acid. Combined with Centella, it has been proven to improve collagen production and lead to healthier-looking skin.
How to use Centella asiatica in your skincare routine?
Since Centella is prevalent in many products, it depends on which specific product you use. If you are using a Centella serum, for example, apply a few drops before applying your daytime moisturizer. Always finish off with sunscreen. (SPF 30 at least)
It is totally up to you to decide how many times you need to use it. If you have extremely dry or sensitive skin, perhaps twice a day, a couple of drops will be enough. I would recommend applying once a day and building up as you go.
If you are using a cica cream, apply it as the last step. Night creams with Centella extract will be particularly effective to help your skin rebuild itself. Using Centella products after drying procedures such as chemical peels, for instance, can yield even better results. Because skin feels extremely dry and loses a lot of moisture during these procedures, cica will make sure you make up for the lost moisture.
Are there any side effects of Centella Asiatica for skin?
Generally speaking, Centella isn’t toxic and side effects are very rare. There have been observed some allergic reactions when injected under the skin. It is perhaps best to stick to creams and do a patch test just to be safe. But overall, it should not cause any major reactions.
How soon can you expect results for centella?
Results may vary from person to person. However, if you use products regularly, you may expect some results from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. If your skin is redness-prone, you will see a gradual decline in the pigment as you continue using serums or creams.
The final takeaway
While new extensive research is still going on, meaning we can expect even more benefits from using Centella. But so far, it hasn’t disappointed us, the skincare lovers.
Boasting a number of beneficial effects on the skin, Centella Asiatica is a true hero when it comes to rejuvenating the skin, restoring its youthfulness. And generally, taking care of your skin on your behalf. If your skin is prone to redness and very sensitive, and you want to see it glow, go ahead and get the best out of it!