Is cica the new niacinamide?


After niacinamide became mainstream, so many products in the skin-care market now contain this skin brightening and anti-inflammatory ingredient.

Cetaphil’s Bright Healthy Radiance line, COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence, Celeteque Brightening Facial Wash, and Olay are only some of the selected brands and products that use niacinamide.

As for cica, perhaps the brand that’s best known for using this ingredient is the Estee Lauder-owned Korean skin-care label Dr. Jart. Dr. Jart’s Cicapair line is very popular and the Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30 is viral on TikTok.

So what does cica do?

Cica or centella asiatica comes from the plant tiger grass (also known as gotu kola and Indian pennywort) and tigers are said to rub their wounds on it to help their skin regenerate.

A 2012 study ( found that centella asiatica hastened the wound healing process in both incision and burn wounds.

In skin care, cica is believed to soothe and repair sensitive skin. If your skin is sensitive because of acid overuse or chemical peels, products with cica could help.

But the amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids and phytochemicals, including vitamins C, A, B1 and B2, in cica also give it anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties (this makes cica ideal for treating eczema and psoriasis). These ingredients are also believed to boost collagen production.

Many Korean beauty products contain cica. There are many balms and creams in the market that have this ingredient.

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream moisturizes skin and also addresses irritations and sensitivity. This rich cream is best for use at night as a moisturizer or spot treatment for affected areas.

COSRX Hydrium Centella Aqua Soothing Ampoule has 42 percent centella asiatica and its derivative madecassoside, plus vitamin B5 (panthenol), both with hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties.

Kiehl’s Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream, which promises 48-hour hydration, has D-panthenol and sustainably-sourced madecassoside. It protects the skin barrier of compromised skin.

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin cells and the lipid matrix that holds the cells together. The skin barrier is responsible for maintaining skin hydration, softness and firmness, and keeps potentially damaging chemicals and irritants out.

Harsh ingredients in skin care and extreme weather conditions are two factors that can damage the skin carrier. Peeling, inflammation and dryness are some signs that your skin is damaged.

We mentioned the skin barrier because cica is a good skin-care ingredient for repairing damaged skin.

Dermatologists even recommend washing face with products that contain cica if patients have damaged and sensitive skin.

Also, if your skin barrier is damaged, make sure to wear a sunscreen daily. Sunscreens don’t just protect the skin from the sun’s damaging rays but also against environmental stressors, such as air quality and light exposure.

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