What is Cica, the star anti-aging component of traditional Chinese medicine

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One of the ingredients that seems new or that is being heard more than ever, but, nevertheless, it is a very traditional ingredient. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. However, it is only now that the cosmetic and not only cosmetic benefits of Cica.

This ingredient that only by using it we already notice its effect, hydration, soothe the skin, reduce redness, reduce inflammation. When we talk about star ingredients, retinol, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C always come to mind, but we find ourselves again with another of the star ingredients. Especially when we talk about botanical ingredients, Cica is one of the most used and effective. It is the botanical component of cosmetics, antioxidants and moisturizers.

Asiatic spark

Cica is the diminutive of the Asiatic spark, this plant is native to Asia and Africa, family of the Apiaceae. A plant that has been used in Asia, as soothing for eczema, psoriasis, burns or irritations.

For more than 3,000 years, this herb has been used as a traditional medicine, especially for improve healing and reduce inflammation cutaneous. In the 19th century, when it began to be included in cosmetics as an active ingredient.

The active component of Centella asiatica is: madecassoside acid, asiatic acid, and asiaticosides. That is why the creams that contain this ingredient are called madecasoside creams and asiaticoside creams. It is common to find it 1% in pharmacy creamsconsidered medicinal.

Although it is currently known as Cica, we can also find it as centella asiatica, gothic cola, indian pennywort y tiger grass. This last denomination is due to the fact that tigers in Asia rubbed themselves in that grass to help heal the skin. In 2012, new studies already indicate it as the product of choice to help regenerate from burns, cuts or wounds.

Cica actions

It is effective in acne, rosacea, and even extreme drynessIt is also a very well tolerated ingredient on the most sensitive skin.

Centella asiatica is rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, bactericidal properties, helps fight free radicals, regulates collagen synthesis and prevents future damage due to environmental problems. It is rich in amino acids, beta carotene, fatty acids and phytochemicals, vitamins C, A, B1 and B2.

Repairs and protects the skin

With pollution, the skin is becoming more sensitive and reactive, Cica acts as a moisturizer, helping to improve the skin’s barrier protection against pollution and skin irritants.

Acts as anti-aging

As we get older, the skin dehydrates much more easily and quickly, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Cica helps stimulate the collagen production This ensures the elasticity and firmness of the skin.

Also in prevent age spots of the skin. Add vitamin C along with centella asiatica, thanks to the madecassosides and asiaticosides.

Irritations, burns and wounds

According to the latest research, Cica helps to moisturize the skin and improve skin comfort. It has anti-inflammatory actions and helps heal minor burns, heal scars and reduce irritation, including eczema and psoriasis, thanks to the fact that it is also bactericidal.

Some creams also contain D-panthenol, organic silicon, bisabolol, glycerin, beeswax, minerals such as zinc, copper and manganese.

very dry skin

The combination of Cica, along with other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, will act very effectively to avoid extreme dryness of the skin. Improves the hydration of the outermost layer of the skin. Cica stimulates blood circulation in the skin and prevents dehydration.


Madecasosides improve skin hydration, decrease inflammation in acne.

Stretch marks

Centella asiatica contains triterpenes that can stimulate collagen synthesis, thus skin recovery is also achieved.

How to use the creams?

It is a safe ingredient, although it does not have to be free of any possible reaction, that is why when we are going to use it, it is always preferable to start two or three times a week, and then every night.

It is recommended to use a solar filter in the morning whenever we use Cica at night.

There are some cleansers or toners that contain this component, however, it is more effective when included in cosmetics such as cream, serum or oil, preferably if they are more occlusive.

They should not be used on open wounds.

It can be used by everyone, with all skin types and ages, both as a treatment and for occasional use.

Creams with Cica can also be used as bases for master formulations in which other types of ingredients, including pharmacological ones, can be incorporated, as indicated by the doctor.

How tipis very advisable after medical treatments such as ablative laser o scrubs very irritating.

If you have been using retinoic acid for a long time and the skin has become too irritated, it is red, sensitive and may even be scaly, you can apply a generous layer of any of the creams with Cica as a mask, after 20 minutes remove it dragging, leaving the rest, overnight.

We should differentiate products that have Cica in their composition from those that only use the active form madecassoside.

Some cosmetics or drugs use the extract of plants of the species hydrocotyle which are of the same genus as gotu kola. However, the extract of them is used, in which it contains asiaticosides, madecassoside acid, and asiatic acid, but it is not specifically centella asiatica.

*Meritxell Martí is a pharmacist.