Do you know how Tigers heal their wounds? They rub their skin on a particular grass which we have famously known as ‘Tiger Grass’ now. Well, now we know this herb with different names, one of them is Cica. Over the period of time, we’ve been able to introduce this herb in skincare to improve our skin health. This ingredient particularly gained its global fame due to K-beauty that widely uses this herb to achieve that glass skin. Here we are going to spill all the beans about this ingredient before you give it a go!
What is Centella Asiatica?
Centella Asiatica is also known as Brahmi, Asiatic Pennywort, Tiger Grass, Gotu Kola, and most commonly as Cica in skincare. This ingredient has been used in Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurveda for its soothing property, many thanks to its composition that has it all. It is filled with Vitamin A, B, and C, Antioxidants, Amino Acids, Fatty Acids, Flavonoids, and the key active ingredient called saponins or triterpenoids that make up for 8% of its weight. Triterpenoids include four components - Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassoside, and Madasiatic Acid. When these components are extracted from Centella Asiatica, they are called Centella Asiatica extract, which is equally potent and widely used in skincare.
Now let’s find out how this rich composition makes it a perfect cocktail for our skin and hair!
Why must you use it?
1. Heal wounds and acne reduction
Centella Asiatica can produce Collagen and reduce inflammation. This helps in healing the wound quickly. If you’re someone who uses micro-needling or chemical peels often, then Centella Asiatica is best to go on your skin after such treatments to reduce the redness by soothing your skin. Centella Asiatica has also proven to balance the sebum (oil) production that contributes as a major factor to keep acne in check.
2. Reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks
Centella Asiatica metabolises two enzymes- Proline and Lysine that helps in the production of Collagen. Along with this, it also helps improve blood circulation. With continuous application of Centella Asiatica on stretch marks and cellulite, you will notice the difference over the period of time, depending on the intensity of marks.
3. Anti-ageing benefits
Centella Asiatica is packed with antioxidants, Vitamin A, B, and C, and the active component- triterpenoids that help fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Free radicals cause oxidative stress that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. The best way to combat ageing is by hydrating and protecting your skin. Centella Asiatica does both due to its powerful composition.
4. Strengthen and repair the skin’s barrier
Centella Asiatica acts as a humectant to hydrate your skin and it has tannins that help you fight inflammation. This helps you repair and strengthen your skin’s protective barrier that helps you keep your skin clean and plump. Learn more about the skin barrier here.
5. Firming and toning
Our body has a type of cell called fibroblasts which are responsible for healing wounds and synthesizing Collagen. Centella Asiatica enhances the production of fibroblasts to provide that elasticity to your skin. This gives you firm and toned skin.
6. Soothes Scalp
Due to Centella Asiatica’s soothing and toning property, it can do wonders for your scalp too. For those with irritated and oily scalp, Centella Asiatica aka. Brahmi helps control sebum (oil) production that keeps infection at bay and repairs your scalp to give your stronger and healthier hair. Now you know why Brahmi is so widely used by Ayurveda to give you those luscious locks!
How to introduce Centella Asiatica to your skin and hair?
Centella Asiatica is easy to use and can be used in the form of toner or moisturiser. This ingredient takes time to work on your skin, unlike those chemical peels. So pick something that will stay on your skin for a while like moisturiser, serum, toner, or a sleeping mask. This ingredient can be used in both- AM and PM routines.
To set in a good routine, start with a good Centella Asiatica-based moisturiser for the day like SNP Prep Cicaronic Soothing Cream that will really melt in your skin to do its job. For the night, we recommend using a serum that will help you repair and plump your skin overnight. The one we swear by is Dr Sheth's Cica & Ceramide Overnight Repair Serum that will repair your skin’s protective barrier and nourish your skin due to the presence of Squalene oil in it.
If your skin has gone through some major drama that has irritated and inflamed your skin, then we’d recommend SNP Prep Cicaronic SOS Ampoule that has three types of Hyaluronic Acid and high content of Centella Asiatica to heal and hydrate your skin. You will undoubtedly wake up with plump skin!
For hair, use can use a Centella Asiatica-based hair cleanser when you feel like your scalp is overwhelmed and irritated with styling products and needs something to calm and hydrate.
Sublime recommends, Ozone Signature Classic Hair Cleanser that is a rich blend of Ayurvedic herbs like Bhringaraja, Sesame oil, Amla along with Brahmi to prevent hair loss and dandruff by nourishing your scalp.
How often can you use it?
Since the ingredient calms and hydrates your skin, it will not create a major crisis for your skin. So you can use it every day but only after patch testing your skin. Applying it once in a day as your moisturiser or by layering a Centella Asiatica-based toner with a heavy-duty moisturiser is good to go. Although if your skin occasionally needs extra hydrating and soothing skincare, you can use it twice a day or stick to toning your skin three to four times a day. We recommend SNP Prep Cicaronic Toning Essence that has Hyaluronic Acid and Centella Asiatica to soothe and hydrate your skin.
Does Centella Asiatica suit all skin and hair types?
It suits all skin types. In fact, it is recommended for those with dry and sensitive skin types. If your skin goes through a lot in a day, then it may irritate and inflame your skin. The best way to bid adieu to redness is by using Centella Asiatica to soothe your skin. Those with oily or combination skin must use Centella Asiatica since they help in controlling sebum production.
When it comes to hair, Centella Asiatica can help you soothe your scalp. So if you have a sensitive, oily, dry, dandruff-prone, or irritated scalp, then you must pick Centella Asiatica-based hair oil or hair cleanser.
Sublime recommends, Sova Brahmi & Hibiscus Hair Massage Oil that has a total of 16 exotic Ayurvedic herbs including Centella Asiatica to nourish and strengthen your hair locks.
Which are the ingredients that can be combined with Centella Asiatica?
Centella Asiatica can be combined with all the ingredients however, it is safe to patch test before concocting ingredients. You can pair it with the ingredient that your skin needs the most. If you’re facing dryness and irritated skin, Centella Asiatica and Hyaluronic Acid would be the best choice.
For bright and plumped skin, Vitamin C with Centella Asiatica will work like magic. We recommend using Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop Serum and layering it with Dear, Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream that not just has Centella Asiatica but also Ceramides and Peptides to repair and soothe your skin.
If you’re trying to get rid of acne scars and marks, the best combination is Niacinamide with Centella Asiatica. Niacinamide helps reduce scars and Centella Asiatica helps address Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), a type of acne mark.
Learn how to differentiate the type of acne marks here.
Does Centella Asiatica have any side effects?
The topical application of this ingredient has rarely shown any side effects. However, if you have a skin condition, it is better to introduce a new ingredient to your skincare after consulting a dermatologist. You must also patch test before introducing a new ingredient.
The bottom line
Centella Asiatica or Cica is a soothing and hydrating ingredient that is commonly used in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda to heal wounds. This ingredient is also widely used to address ageing concerns. Due to its healing property, it makes the ingredient the perfect pick for your skin after a long exhausting day.
- Divya Salvi