Skin-care products of all kinds seem to have one thing in common lately: cica. If it’s not in the mask, serum, moisturizer, or at-home peel pad‘s name, it’s on the ingredient list under its scientific name, Centella asiatica. The regenerative and healing benefits of cica, which in its natural form is a leafy green herb, have been known for centuries, but it’s taken until recently for beauty consumers to fully catch on. Outside of Asia, where it’s a commonplace ingredient, Western beauty brands like Dermalogica and Kiehl’s are also starting to take note.
“Cica is believed to soothe and repair irritated skin,” Ellen Marmur, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, previously told us, meaning it’s highly beneficial for treating acne and calming sensitive skin. These attributes can be tied to cica’s chemical composition, which is “chock-full of amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids, and phytochemicals, including vitamins C, A, B1, and B2,” says Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, explained. In short, this antioxidant-packed herb stimulates collagen production and protects skin against inflammation and bacteria.
If you ask Charlotte Cho, an aesthetician and cofounder of K-beauty e-retailer Soko Glam, cica has become so widespread in Korean skin-care products because something is in the air — literally. “Sensitive skin is a very common skin type in Korea due to high pollution levels,” she told Allure when we did a deep dive into the skin-care ingredient. “As a result, sensitive-skin-friendly ingredients, such as cica, are frequently found in Korean beauty products to calm inflammation, redness, and irritated skin.” And let’s be real:Tthe pollution levels are pretty damn high stateside, too. With that in mind, our skin deals with the environmental aggressors’ damaging effects, like fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and irritation.
Keep scrolling to find out which skin-soothing cica products you should be incorporating into your skin-care routine right now.
Ready to feel more confident when reading your beauty products’ ingredient labels? Enter, the Allure Ingredient Index. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the most in-demand (and under-the-radar) ingredients in your favorite skin-care products.
Our Top Picks:
- Best for Correcting Redness: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum, $52
- Overnight Sensation: Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask, $34
- Most Soothing Sunscreen: Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Light SPF 30 PA++++, $17
- Multipurpose Moisturizer: Bloomeffects Tulip Nectar Skin Repair Balm, $47
- For a Skin-Care Reset: Peach & Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask, $45
- Best Soothing Cleanser: Erborian Centella Cleansing Gel, $36
- Fragrance-Free Moisturizer for Daytime & Nighttime: Dermalogica Stabilizing Repair Cream, $64