Image via Alexmo Cosmetics
Centella Asiatica is not a new ingredient. In fact, it was used for centuries in topical remedies and as a part of the cuisine on the Asian continent. Over the recent few years, South Korean skincare brands have started using it in their products for its skin benefits. Slowly, but surely, Western skincare brands are following suit. What is Centella Asiatica and can it benefit your skin?
Centella Asiatica – the herb
Centella Asiatica is a perennial herb. It can be found in the tropical, swampy areas near the Indian ocean, as well as Southeast Asia, and in the United States. Centella Asiatica has round, green leaves and small white and pink flowers. It is also known under the name Gotu Kola, Tiger Herb, Indian Pennyworth, and Wild Violet.
For centuries Centella Asiatica was used in India as one of the components for various Ayurvedic remedies and to treat conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and lupus. In some countries, it was also used as a treatment for fever, diarrhoea, and even leprosy. Raw or mashed up, it is a component of many dishes and drinks in Asia.
What is in it?
Centella Asiatica is rich in flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins, and terpenoids. Terpenoids include madecassic acid, madecassoside, asiatic acid, and asiaticoside.
What to look for in the ingredients list?
Centella Asiatica extract, Gotu Kola extract, madecassic acid, madecassoside, asiatic acid, and asiaticoside.
Skincare brands will usually label the products with Centella Asiatica with the name “cica”.
What are the skin benefits of Centella Asiatica?
The anecdotal evidence suggests Centella Asiatica hydrates the skin, calms inflammation, and increases collagen synthesis. It also acts as an antioxidant and protects the skin against free radicals. Some research suggests it can help speed up wound healing. That said, the wound healing studies were conducted on mouses and rats, rather than humans.
One smaller study was conducted on humans, and it examined the effects of Ascorbic acid and Centella Asiatica on photodamaged skin. After six months there was a notable improvement on fine lines and wrinkles, skin hydration and firmness of the skin. But the study included Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the effects of the vitamin C on the skin are well researched.
As researchers suggest, Centella Asiatica is an intriguing ingredient that shows great promise in terms of benefits it has for the skin.
If you are a skincare nerd obsessed with the latest IT ingredient, there is no harm in trying out a Centella Asiatica product. However, as with any new addition to your routine, patch test first. Likewise, a patch test should be essential if you have sensitive, reactive, or inflamed skin.
Have you tried a Centella Asiatica product? Were you happy with the results?