Ah, winter skin. No season is tougher on our complexion. There’s a long list of cold weather skin woes and one at the top is looking—and feeling—red and parched. That’s exactly why you might want to add anti-redness products to your skincare routine, especially ones featuring the ingredient Centella asiatica (colloquially known as cica). Products infused with cica are ideal for calming angry skin and hydrating, just in time for the deepest part of winter.
“Centella asiatica is a medicinal plant that grows primarily in Asia and has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties,” says Dr. Y. Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in Manhattan, New York. “Centella asiatica is also known as cica, gotu kola, tiger grass and Asiatic pennywort. Centella asiatica is a rich source of natural active ingredients, including saponins, flavonoids, phenolic acids and amino acids.”
No matter which name you call it by, cica delivers plenty of perks. The mega moisturizer reduces redness, free radicals and inflammation to help protect, soothe and repair the skin. “Centella asiatica has been suggested to help with various conditions, like acne, rosacea and psoriasis, though more robust studies are needed,” Dr. Chang says. “Studies have shown that Centella asiatica improves skin hydration and skin barrier function. Lab studies have also shown that centella asiatica can stimulate fibroblasts to increase collagen production. Centella asiatica may be used in the treatment of wounds, scars and stretch marks.” Additionally, it’s an antiager, as some studies suggest it stimulates collagen.
Cica can be used by all skin types and it’s best for those with dry, irritated and sensitive skin. Dr. Chang recommends applying products containing Centella asiatica twice daily for several weeks to see the best results. With all the cica-infused options out there—including cleansers, wipes, serums, essences, moisturizers and sunscreens—you can find the right one for you. “While all of the formulations may be effective, I recommend cica-containing serums, creams and sunscreens,” Dr. Chang says.
These cica-infused anti-redness products will restore your natural glow, stat.
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1. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm
“This is a rich moisturizing cream that helps soothe dry skin,” Dr. Chang says. “It is formulated with madecassoside (one of the main active components of Centella asiatica) along with panthenol, shea butter and glycerin.” Even though it’s rich and nourishing, it has a matte finish sans any stickiness.
2. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30
“This color-correcting cream helps soothe the skin and improve the appearance of redness,” Dr. Chang says. “It combines Centella asiatica complex, including madecassoside, along with the powerful antioxidant niacinamide and mineral sunscreens to repair and protect the skin.”
3. Kiehl’s Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream
Designed especially for sensitive skin, this cream works to repair the moisture barrier while delivering 48-hour hydration. It’s infused with D-Panthenol, aka Vitamin B5, to help thirsty skin boost its water-holding capacity, as well as sustainably sourced Madecassoside, a Centella asiatica extract that soothes.
4. Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing Foam
True to its name, this calming micellar cleanser is chock full of superfoods, including fermented green tea seed oil for antioxidants, fermented rice water to hydrate, fermented agave to soothe and kefir derived from soy milk to calm. An active prebiotic helps balance and protect skin’s microbiome, making it quite the multitasker.
5. Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
No matter what ails you, this postbiotic skin repairing cream can fix it—really! It boasts a whopping 45 different uses, helping to heal everything from the moisture barrier to wounds, sunburn, scars, diaper rash, bug bites, cuts and scrapes, redness, itching, stiches, burns, post-procedure and irritation from face masks, to name a few. It makes skin recovery four times faster. And you can just use it as a daily moisturizer.
6. Glow Recipe Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream
If you’re in the mood for a moisturizer that’s light in texture but heavy on hydration, then you’ll go bananas for this one. (See what we did there?) Soothing and hydrating, the killer combo of banana, chia seed, magnesium, turmeric and cica works for every skin type, leaving it healthy, balanced and glowing.
7. Peach & Lily Glass Skin Veil Mist
From the very brand that launched the glass skin craze comes this mist to deliver that coveted glow in just a spritz. In addition to cica to soothe skin from daily stressors, the potent elixir also contains a range of hyaluronic acids for hydration, licorice for radiance, vitamin E to strengthen skin, lotus extract for brightening, ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier, reishi mushroom to combat inflammation and damage, and peach extract to firm.
8. No7 Laboratories CICA-Rescue Skin Paste
Talk about beauty sleep! This overnight mask strengthens the skin barrier while you snooze courtesy of opthiopogon japonicus root extract, calms and nourishes with bisabolol and taps Centella asiatica to soothe.
9. Pop Beauty Be Gone! Clarifying Cica Stick
Breakouts and redness will be things of the past when you rub on this soothing stick. The clarifying combo of cica, aloe and cucumber soothes, hydrates and purifies, respectively. Packed with antioxidants, it’s also spiked with salicylic acid to treat and prevent breakouts, rosemary to rejuvenate and licorice to brighten.