Stressed-out skin? Meet cica. With a long history rooted in healing, it’s no surprise this ingredient has become the go-to for skin that needs some zen. Whether you’ve overdone it with retinol or are suffering from a particularly angry acne outbreak, cica is one of the quickest ways to restore calm – without any nasty side effects.
If the word ‘cica’ still makes you think of 90s flashing trainers, let’s get you up to speed…
1. It was discovered by trendsetting tigers
Cica is the nickname name for centella asiatica, a plant native to Asia and Southern Africa. Also known as tiger grass, pennywort and gotu kola, legend has it that Asian tigers seek out and roll in this herb when they’re wounded to help speed up healing.
Cica has also featured in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, where it’s traditionally used to treat burns and even leprosy.
2. It’s a K-beauty staple
Fast forward a few hundred years and cica has found new fame in the K-beauty landscape. With predominantly urban lifestyles and high pollution levels, sensitive skin has become one of the most common skin types in Korea and cica is used widely to help calm redness, irritation and inflammation.
Although French pharmacy brands popularised modern uses of cica in soothing salves and heavy creams, it’s Korean skincare that made it a hero ingredient. Head east and cica can be found in everything from sheet masks to BB creams.
3. It’s a calming cocktail
Cica’s repairative powers come from its unique natural composition, a powerhouse of potent soothing compounds. Alongside skin-calming amino and fatty acids, it has several active compounds called terpenoids, including asiatic acid and madecassoside.
The Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.pair Serum is formulated with madecassoside, a terpenoid that studies have shown can quickly reduce redness – even at low concentrations. This powerful antioxidant speeds up cell wall production, helping protect the tiny capillaries responsible for flushing and soothing away the burning feeling that can come with sensitive or sensitised skin.
4. It’s an essential for skin emergencies
Had IPL? Cica. A chemical peel? Cica. Overused your retinol? You get the picture. Even if you’re not prone to sensitive skin in your day to day, cica is one of the most useful ingredients to keep in your product stash for skin emergencies.
Studies show cica can help to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, quickly calming, soothing and comforting skin that has become irritable or inflamed. And it does all this with fewer unwanted side effects. Unlike some popular Western ingredients or techniques like microneedling, cica works without causing further damage in order to trigger the skin’s repair process.
5. Look for it in leave-on products
To get the most from cica’s soothing super powers, hunt it out in leave-on products that linger on the skin, rather than rinse-off formulas like cleansers.
For maximum versatility, introduce cica into your routine with a layering product like our Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.pair Serum. Use alone or apply under your favourite moisturiser to calm, comfort and soothe in seconds.