Centella asiatica has been trending on TikTok, but this is no new player in the skincare game. In fact, this plant has been used for centuries, especially in Southeast Asia. Besides this, this plant is part of many pharmacopeias (the official books for medicinal plants) all over the world. So, what does it mean? It means that Centella asiatica has clear benefits for your health, namely your skin. And the best part? It’s in a lot of different formulas, most of them super affordable.
On this post:
- What is Centella asiatica?
- How Centella asiatica benefits the skin
- Potential side effects of Centella asiatica
- Who should use Centella asiatica?
- How to use Centella asiatica in your skincare routine
- What kind of products contain Centella asiatica?
What is Centella asiatica?
Centella asiatica, Gotu Kola, or tiger grass is a plant that grows naturally in many countries. It grows in Asia, Equatorial Africa, Central America and in the tropical region of Oceania. In traditional medicine, its uses are plentiful, but modern medicine also recognizes its benefits. It’s part of several pharmacopeias and its benefits are widely recognized by the medical community. So much so, that lots of relevant clinical studies are conducted each year to test several benefits of this plant. Besides the plant itself, formulas can also use some of the main molecules it contains. The most widely known are Madecassoside and Madecassol, which can be found in many formulations.
How Centella asiatica benefits the skin
This is the most known feature of Centella asiatica. The best-selling creams that contain it are usually used as all-in-one repairing ointments. So, when we say repairing, what do we actually mean? It actually helps wounds heal faster and better, helps to prevent keloid scarring, and is great as a burn wound healing cream. All in all, it helps the skin recover faster by having anti-inflammatory activity, boosting cell proliferation, and having antioxidant activity. The wound heals faster and better, leading to less scars and dark spots.
Prevention of stretch marks and cellulite
Many stretch mark prevention formulas use this key ingredient, and for good reason. Several studies show that it has benefits in helping the skin become more elastic, due to improved collagen production. Besides this, it also helps to tackle cellulite. This is because it not only increases microcirculation, it also has a draining and lipophilic effect (meaning, it targets fat cells). Blown away by this ingredient already? There’s one more incredible feature to go.
Surprised? We were also. Recent studies conducted on Asian women show that, besides being a great antioxidant (which is great to prevent wrinkles), Centella asiatica is also effective on photoaged skin. And what do we mean by this? That skin that has aged prematurely due to being exposed to the sun, can recover a bit by using this ingredient. This is due to a combination of boosting the skin hydration and actually tackling wrinkles, reducing their depth.
Potential side effects of Centella asiatica
As with any other ingredient, Centella asiatica can cause skin rashes on susceptible people. However, it’s very rare and easily treatable by just stopping using the formula.
Centella asiatica and sun exposure
Centella asiatica doesn’t affect sun-exposed skin. You can use it freely, even if you’re going to be out in the sun.
Centella asiatica and pregnancy
Centella asiatica is extremely safe during pregnancy. In fact, many stretch mark prevention creams for pregnancy use Centella asiatica.
Who should use Centella asiatica?
Everyone can use this ingredient. In fact, it’s even approved for baby bottoms from birth. Basically, having a cream with Centella asiatica in it is a staple in many households. French pharmacy brands love this ingredient, as well as Asian ones. All in all, it’s that kind of ingredient that you’ve probably used all your life but just didn’t know about.
How to use Centella asiatica in your skincare routine
The most effective way to use it is in a cream. There are plenty of formulas around, so you just need to choose your weapon. If the area affected is sore and you want to avoid touching it (imagine a first-degree burn or a baby bottom rash), just use one of the spray formulas.
What kind of products contain Centella asiatica?
The most beloved products with Centella asiatica have to be the “cica creams”. So, what exactly are cica creams? Cica is one other name by which Centella asiatica goes. These creams are that kind of must-have if you basically exist in the world. Everyone in Europe that has grown up in the 90s or 00s knows at least two or three of them. So, how can you use them? One example is to take care of scarred skin or minor burns. And we’re not just talking about bruising yourself, they can actually be used after surgeries or aesthetic procedures. Another thing you can do is to use them to repair babies’ bottoms when they have rashes. Additionally, with us disrupting our skin barriers by using too many actives, they have become the staple for recovering damaged skin barrier function.
Sprays with Centella asiatica
Besides cica creams, there is a sub-category of cica products that is worth mentioning: the sprays. This is because their formulas are slightly different, and with a different purpose. Even though they are almost liquid, they have drying properties. This means that they are perfect for areas that are moist and should be dry. Think about exudative lesions, skin folds, or even babies’ necks when they cannot still hold their heads. An extra benefit? You don’t have to touch the area, just spray.
Body lotions for stretch marks and cellulite
As we’ve explained before, Centella asiatica has many proven benefits for both cellulite and stretch marks. So, there are many formulas that contain this active that target one or both of these concerns.
Anti-aging skincare with Centella asiatica
Anti-aging claims–and, more specifically, anti-wrinkle claims–are relatively recent when it comes to Centella asiatica. As a result, it’s still not very easy to find anti-aging products that feature Centella asiatica as their star anti-wrinkle ingredient. If you’d like to tap into the anti-aging benefits of this ingredient, your best bet is to look for anti-aging formulas that contain plenty of tried-and-tested anti-aging ingredients, as well as Centella asiatica. You will get the extra benefit, even if Centella asiatica isn’t the main ingredient on display.
As you can see, Centella asiatica comes with a multitude of benefits, and usually for a great price. You can check out our selection of repairing creams for some extra recommendations.
Pharmacy Technician & Beauty Writer