Skincare ingredient focus: cica

Cica: the new must-try ingredient for sensitive skin

There’s a new (but ancient) power ingredient in town and it’s one to get familiar with – cica. In the past year cica has taken the Korean skincare world by storm and we’re starting to see it more and more in western beauty products too, with big brands like Decleor, Liz Earle and Elemis all getting on board. So what is this miracle ingredient and what’s all the fuss about?

Cica is the name for centella asiatica, also known as Asiatic pennywort or tiger grass. It’s a leafy swamp-dwelling herb native to Asian wetlands and although it’s the latest buzz in modern beauty, this skin-soothing ingredient has a rich heritage. Often referred to as “tiger grass” or “tiger herb” because tigers would roll around on the plant to help heal their wounds, it’s been used for centuries in Asia as a medicinal herb to treat cuts, injuries and irritated skin.

What does it do for the skin?

Naturally rich in active compounds such as madecassoside, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-scaling effects, cica works to reduce itching, calm troubled skin, reduce redness and promote smooth-feeling skin. Fiona Brackenbury, Global Education Director for Decleor elaborates: “when your skin is tired, stressed, hormonal and out of sorts and you’re not in control, cica instantly restores your skin leaving it clear, balanced, hydrated and a flawless complexion.”

In addition, cica also contains antioxidant-rich saponins and chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants) that help to send the skin into repair mode and enhance the skin’s protective barrier, perfect for dealing with every day pollutants.

What skin types benefit from cica?

Gentle and soothing, cica is especially beneficial for sensitive skin, but whatever your skin type or concerns it will likely help you in some way. We love Decleor’s multi-purpose Cica Botanic Balm, which also has a blend of natural essential and botanical oils. Fiona recommends it for all skin types as “the essential and botanical oils allows even sensitive skin to be soothed and strengthened”. Cica is even known to help acne-prone skin by reducing redness and inflammation; “if you have angry inflamed breakouts the incredible formula takes away the redness from the spot”. Dry and dehydrated skin types will also feel the benefits Fiona adds, as “dry patches on the face and body are nourished and replenished”.

How can cica be integrated into your skincare regime?

Products containing cica can be used in various ways, as a daily morning or evening moisturiser, or to target certain skin concerns. Liz Earle’s Cica Restore Skin Paste works overnight to flood skin with hydration and soothe stressed skin. The unique paste texture feels super soft and mask-like, giving you instant results. You can also use the Decleor Cica Balm to topically treat dry areas, or apply it all over for a serious radiance boost.

Whether you’re new to cica or looking for more ways to introduce it into your beauty regime, there are a number of options to try, and with its impressive heritage and the current hype – we’re expecting plenty more on the horizon.