From lactobionic acid to vitamin D, it feels as though there is a buzzy new skincare ingredient to have on your radar every single week. Right now, nothing is making waves quite like cica.
Google searches for 'cica cream' in particular are rapidly growing and with the weather slowly becoming colder, it makes sense: cica is the ultimate winter skincare companion. But how does it work and which are the best cica skincare products to stock up on?
Here's absolutely everything you need to know about using cica in skincare.
What is cica cream?
"Cica is a 'nickname' for the skincare ingredient centella asiatica," says Dr Elif Benar, dermatologist and founder of www.drelif.co.uk. "It is a green herb that originates from the parsley family, and the ingredient has been used in wound healing for over 3,000 years."
Dr Benar mentions that cica is commonly used in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine but is booming in the ever-popular Korean skincare market, too.
What does cica cream do for skin?
Dr Benar explains that cica contains certain chemicals which can help to decrease inflammation so it is especially beneficial for treating redness, puffiness and swelling. "It's also packed with antioxidants," says Dr Benar, which protect skin against environmental factors such as pollution, which can make skin appear dull and peppered with fine lines.
That's not all though, as Dr Benar says that cica is an all-rounder. "Cica can give skin an antimicrobial boost," so it reduces bacteria on the skin, which could otherwise potentially lead to spots and irritation. "Cica has also been known to help increase collagen production," continues Dr Benar, "which is vital for wound healing and anti-ageing. Collagen can also help to reduce scarring."
Which skin types will benefit most from cica cream?
"Cica is a botanical ingredient that can be tolerated by all skin types," says Dr Benar, pointing out that it is known to be especially beneficial for sensitive or inflamed skin. This is why it is gaining traction right now, as winter weather combined with central heating can exacerbate dryness, irritation and redness. If you're looking for something that soothes skin instantly, this is it.
How should you use cica cream in skincare?
Incorporating cica into your skincare routine couldn't be easier. Dr Benar suggests choosing a moisturiser or serum which contains the ingredient – and the best part is that you can use it in both the morning and evening. "It will help with dry, ageing and sensitive skin especially," says Dr Benar.
Cica products are also useful after skin treatments. "For example chemical peels, laser treatments or microneedling as they can help the skin heal and take down any irritation and redness," Dr Benar adds. If you regularly use exfoliating acids, such as lactic or glycolic acid, following up with cica cream is beneficial for keeping skin soft, smooth and free from irritation.
Are there any side effects of cica?
"Cica is safe for most people when applied to the skin and side effects are rare," says Dr Benar, "but in some cases, it could potentially cause itching and redness. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the product immediately and consult a skin specialist or your GP.
What is the best cica cream?
R29 rates Kiehl's Centella Sensitive Cica Cream, £38, for soothing dry, winter-ravaged skin and getting rid of flaky patches. While it is intensely moisturising, it is non-comedogenic so is less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.
If your skin is on the drier side, try Liz Earle's Cica Restore Skin Paste, £29. The texture is quite thick and balmy, almost like a face mask. Let a thin layer sit on the skin for five minutes before massaging it in with your fingertips and blotting away with either a tissue or a damp, warm cloth for a pro facial experience.
Glow Recipe's Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream, £36, is also a really easy cica product to incorporate into your skincare routine. Apply a layer after cleansing in both the morning and evening. It's light, gentle and absorbs quickly without leaving a residue on the skin.
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