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Ingredient: Centella Asiatica

Centella asiatica, also known as Gotu Kola and Indian Pennywort, is a herb that's been used in cooking and traditional medicine in Asia for hundreds of years. It contains chemicals called terpenoids that have beneficial properties for skin. Some of the active terpenoids include asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside. They all have similar properties: they're wound healing, anti-wrinkle, anti-pigmentation, anti-irritant and antioxidant.

Terpenoids make up around 8% of the weight of the plant. The main four that have been studied for their skincare benefits are asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside. They're sometimes included in a product alone in pure form, or in combination as "Centella asiatica extract" The terpenoids (TTF) cause a significant increase in the percentage of collagen and cell layer fibronectin. The most beneficial effects are the stimulation of scar maturation by the production of type I collagen, decrease in the inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production.

What Can Centella Asiatica Do for Skin?

  • Centella is most famous for its healing properties. A lot of Centella products contain the prefix "cica-" which, as a lot of astute readers have informed me, refers to its cicatrising or healing/scar-forming abilities.
  • Thanks to its active compounds, including madecassoside, which serves as an antioxidant, Centella asiatica itself also has been shown to have potent antioxidant properties and to be a rich source of amino acids, and there's additional research showing that it's a good hydrating ingredient to soothe upset or compromised skin.
  • Centella asiatica also helps mitigate some of the visible effects of sun damage, plus there's evidence that it can help revitalize skin's protective barrier. The mixture of vitamin C and madecassoside is an attractive combination of two active compounds characterized by different mechanisms of activity, which exert an additive effect causing the remodeling of the skin. In fact, it's somewhat similar to green tea, in that it's a plant-derived antioxidant with skin-soothing properties that got its start in traditional medicine but now has the hard science to back up its purported benefits.
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