2 February 2021
Move over hyaluronic acid, there’s a new hydrator on the block, and it packs quite a punch. Popular in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, it’s said that tigers roll in fields of the cica plant to soothe and heal their wounds after battle. More recently, cica has been adopted into skin and hair care products throughout Asia, particularly drawing acclaim from the K-Beauty scene. But what is it about this unassuming little plant that has the beauty industry so excited?
What Is Cica?
Cica, or Centella Asiatica, is a clover-like plant, native to the wetlands in parts of Asia and Africa. It is used in cooking and as a medicinal herb and has become a sought after ingredient in skin and hair care.
The plant is known for its healing, soothing, antibacterial, and inflammatory properties, making it ideal for dry or damaged skin and hair. When incorporated into a moisturiser, cica helps restore the skin’s natural barrier, improve elasticity and lock in moisture. These combined benefits make cica a powerful ingredient for skin or hair that needs a boost.
Also known as: gotu kola or tiger grass
How Does It Work?
Cica is rich in amino acids, beta carotene, fatty acids, and phytochemicals and is a humectant, binding water to itself. Nourishing and restorative for all skin types, cica also helps repair the skin barrier, which may become damaged through ageing, dryness, skin conditions, or harsh products.
As an antioxidant, cica can slow down the damage caused by oxidative stress. Pollution, UV light and many other environmental stressors introduce free radicals to our bodies, leading to cell damage. Antioxidants neutralise these free radicals, preventing premature ageing.
Perhaps the most crucial attribute of cica is it’s anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties. Studies have shown that cica not only reduces skin inflammation, even in conditions such as dermatitis, but that it’s also incredibly effective at locking moisture into the skin. This makes it an asset in targeting dry, red and irritated skin, particularly when sensitivity is present.
“Centella asiatica extract is an effective ingredient not only in anti aging cosmetics but also for improving skin hydration.”
In research published by the Academy of Cosmetics and Healthcare, it was found that cica reduces skin redness, decreases transepidermal water loss and improves moisture retention and that it is, therefore, beneficial to dry and sensitive skin.
Who Can Benefit From Using Cica?
With so many nourishing and healing properties, cica is becoming the must-have ingredient in any product tasked with restoring moisture. From hydrating damaged hair to soothing chapped, eczema-prone skin, cica could be just the ingredient you’ve been waiting for.
Dry, Damaged Hair
Sick of battling flyaways and frizz? Look for hair products that contain cica, and you’ll be wowed at the transformation. The addition of cica encourages your hair to lock in more moisture and repairs any damage to the follicle, leaving you with healthy, hydrated hair.
Mature, Dry and Dehydrated Skin
Whether winter has taken a toll on your complexion, or your struggle is year-round, cica is a fantastic ingredient to have in your skincare routine. Nourishing and plumping your skin from the inside out, fine line and wrinkles are reduced, while dryness is alleviated.
Cica also works as a preventative ingredient in skincare, repairing the skin’s barrier, so moisture isn’t lost as quickly. As an antioxidant, it also fights free radicals, the compounds which speed up the ageing process in our skin.
Sensitivity and Skin Conditions
It’s very rare that a popular skincare ingredient is also suitable for sensitive and irritated skin, but cica is an exception. Studies have shown that cica is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic, suppressing the allergy response in atopic dermatitis (eczema). If you’re tired of using heavy emollients to keep your skin hydrated, cica provides an excellent way to lock in moisture, improve your damaged skin barrier and reduce redness. These traits also make it ideal as a post-procedural skincare treatment.
What Products Contain Cica?
If you’re eager to jump in and see what cica can do for your skin or hair, you’re in luck! A growing number of brands are incorporating it into their products, so whether you’re looking for a cream, serum or conditioner, there’s something for everyone.
One of our best-selling moisturisers for dry and sensitive skin, SOS Emergency Cream is an intense treatment for soothing irritated skin. Containing cica, myrrh and lavender absolute, skin is left nourished and protected.
Another gem from Elemis, this time from their Superfood range, the Cica Calm Booster Serum is a prebiotic serum designed to hydrate and renew the skin. Enriched with Fermented Rice Water and Green Tea Seed Oil, this is the perfect addition to your daily regime.
Why choose just one product that contains cica when you can sample the range? The Elemis Superfood Superstars Gift Set includes: Superfood Cica Calm Foam, Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice and the highly popular Superfood Facial Oil.
Discover what makes Sisley such a famous brand in the skincare industry with the acclaimed Ecological Compound. Skin is repaired, moisturised and protected from environmental damage by a compound of stimulating and revitalising plant extracts.
Say goodbye to dark circles and puffy eyes with Matis Réponse Yeux Reviving Cream. Rich in botanicals, it includes nourishing compounds of wild mango butter, horse chestnut, cica and Marigold.
Another fabulous cream from Matis Paris, the Global Anti Age Cream contains hemp and sweet almond oils for their moisturising and regenerating properties. Cica is the main active ingredient in this cream, making it the ideal way to see the benefits for yourself.
Want to experience the power of Tiger Grass yourself? Shop all Cica Ingredients here.