For The Love Of: Centella

“For The Love Of” is a recurring series on Pibu Story where we go deep on our favorite skincare products, brands and ingredients. Want us to cover something you love? Let us know in the comments!

You may have noticed a lot of products incorporating “Cica” into their products, or even introducing entire product lines centered on Cica like one of our favorites, Dr. Jart. What you may not know is that cica is short for centella asiatica, colloquially known as Gotu Kola, Indian pennywort and tiger grass in addition to a range of other regional names as it has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years.


Native to the wetlands of South Asia, centella asiatica is a perennial plant that loves swampy ecosystems and has been shown to possess antioxidant properties and high levels of amino acids. More to the point, though, research has shown centella to be an effective hydrator with the ability to not only soothe the skin but also assist in repairing damaged moisture barriers, which naturally protect our skin from outside forces. Furthermore, centella asiatica is the carrier for madecassoside and madecassic acid which have also been shown to possess healing properties of equal magnitude.

Its gentle nature and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal ingredient for those with sensitive skin and those who are blemish-prone. Unlike other popular ingredients that target acne such as BHAs and retinoids, centella doesn’t pose the risk of drying or irritating the skin. According to NY-based esthetician and Acne Expert @CaveofBeauty, you quite literally can’t have too much centella in a routine, one of the many qualities that make it one of her (and my!) favorite skincare ingredients. 

And now, some of our favorite centella-powered products:

COSRX Centella Blemish Ampoule

This ultra-packed ampoule delivers centella asiatica leaf water, centella asiatica extract and allantoin to soothe the skin while glycerin locks in moisture. With a slightly higher pH, start by dabbing on as a spot treatment and gradually work up to applying to the whole face to gauge your skin’s reaction. This is one of my go-to products for zapping inflammation and redness out of my complexion.



COSRX BHA Skin Returning Emulsion

Don’t let the lightness of this emulsion fool you! With 79.37% centella asiatica leaf water, it’s a buffet for stressed, acneic skin with allantoin and tea tree leaf oil to further soothe irritation and calm inflammation while panthenol strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier and 1% BHA oh-so-gently exfoliates and clears pores of blemish-causing bacteria. “Skin Returning” might be more than just marketing fluff, as this lotion strikes a rare balance between moisturizing, soothing and exfoliating for sensitive skin-types.

Dr.Jart+ - Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream


Dr. Jart+ has been a pioneer of Centella as shown by the brand’s popular Cicapair line that features a serum, mask, color corrector and mist among others but the star of the show is the Tiger Grass Cream which leverages a unique blend of pro- and prebiotics to nourish, balance strengthen skin while Centella and its various components soothe. And if that’s not enough, it’s formulated with shea butter to moisturize, panthenol to strengthen and niacinamide to brighten.






Etude House - SoonJung 5-Panthensoside Cica Balm

Hypoallergenic and free of perfumes, mineral oil and parabens, Etude House’s SoonJung line is a paradise for sensitive skin, but their Cica Balm, formulated with 5% Panthensoside (panthenol + madecassoside) is equal parts restorative and soothing.







SHARRMASK Melting Madecassoside Facial Mask (Green)

Sharr Mask Melting Madecassoside Facial Mask is among the first of its kind. Created from nanofiber film technology, this mask can be worn all night, or all day working to deliver relief to the deepest layers of skin, promising a brighter complexion after just one use and a return to your youth after a week’s worth of masking.