'I'm a beauty writer and swear by this $24 product for smooth, glass-like skin.'

Call me delulu but if the film Confessions of a Shopaholic taught me anything, it’s that no man will ever love or treat me as well as... my Korean skincare purchases. 

I turn 29 in a few months and while I thought entering another year as a single girl would be sending me into a downward spiral (and we all know high cortisol fuels the ageing process), instead I've found love and happiness with a K-beauty skincare shopping addiction. 

But it was on my recent trip to Seoul, Korea (aka the world’s beauty epicentre) I noticed a specific trend — all the Korean skincare girlies flaunting perfect glass skin were filling their shopping baskets with products containing one specific ingredient: Centella asiatica. 

Naturally, I also proceeded to purchase every best-seller containing this popular ingredient. Now, using them religiously for a few months, I can confidently say my complexion is feeling and looking healthier than it did in my early 20s. 

So, what exactly is this ingredient that’s now making its way onto the labels of Western beauty products? 

Here’s a complete breakdown of the skin benefits, how to use it and what ingredients it works the best with. 

And since no life-changing beauty find should be gatekept, I’ve also included a roundup of my favourite Centella products I’ve tried.

What is Centella asiatica?

Centella asiatica is a perennial herb that’s native to Asia but it can also be found in parts of Eastern Europe, Central America, and South and East Africa. If you’ve never come across the name, there’s also a good chance you’ve heard or seen one of its many other terms, like Cica, Brahmi, Asiatic pennywort, coinwort, tiger grass or Gotu kola. 


While Centella extract is currently trending in skincare products, it’s definitely no new find in the medical world.

“Centella asiatica is a herb that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries for a variety of conditions including epilepsy, itching, insect bites and wound healing,” Principal Dermatologist at Norther Sydney Dermatology and Laser, Dr Shreya Andric, told Mamamia

People in India have also used this extract for thousands of years as a medicinal, anti-ageing remedy for the skin. 

What are the skin benefits of Centella asiatica?

Oh, where do I begin?! Centella is rich in amino acids, antioxidants and fatty acids, which only means it comes with a plethora of skin benefits that have been backed by scientific research.

“It contains naturally occurring antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and carbohydrates and recent studies have found it to be effective in improving skin hydration and providing anti-ageing benefits,” Dr Andric said. 

Some key benefits include: 

Boosting collagen.

Another 2022 study confirmed that Centella works to fortify the skin’s collagen production and helps keep it firm and elastic. 


Providing intense hydration.

Other research has found it to be a rich source of amino acids, which helps soothe aggravated, compromised and damaged skin, all while providing a boost hydrating. In fact, even those with eczema, rosacea and psoriasis will find relief from using Centella. 

“As it helps to keep the skin hydrated and reduces redness and inflammation, it may be best for those who suffer from eczema or rosacea-prone skin,” Dr Andric noted. 

So, if you have a damaged skin barrier that’s prone to dryness, flakes and itchiness, Centella’s your mate. 

Calming blemishes: 

While no research has found Centella asiatica to be an anti-blemish ingredient, madecassoside (a terpenoid saponin derived from Centella asiatica) has been found to soothe breakouts that originate from a particular type of bacteria. Plus, simply pairing Centella with acne-fighting ingredients — like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, niacinamide and vitamin C — can help keep the skin calm and hydrated while the other actives work hard. 

What skin types can use Centella asiatica?

You can probably guess from its long list of benefits that it's great for pretty much all skin types, including sensitive, dry, irritated, ageing, acne-prone and congested. 

And to reiterate what Dr Andric previously said, it’s great for those who suffer from eczema or rosacea, which also means that if you’ve overdone the exfoliating acids, you can definitely reach for a Cica product for a hit of soothing relief. 


Are there any side effects of Centella asiatica?

As someone with extremely sensitive skin, I can confirm I haven't experienced any side effects from using this soothing ingredient (*touches wood). However, like with any new skincare ingredient that contains numerous compounds, there’s always the possibility of side effects occurring.

“When used topically, side effects are rare but may include skin allergy and burning sensation,” Dr Andric mentioned. Additionally, “there are no current studies using this ingredient in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding so it would be best avoided in these people.”

Most Centella topical skincare products on the market only contain low and safe amounts of the extract, which are generally safe and side-effect-free (given you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding). If you’re hesitant about incorporating it into your skincare routine, talk to your dermatologist before giving yourself the green light. 

Is Centella asiatica safe to mix with other skin ingredients?

Centella asiatica pairs nicely with most other ingredients and can be used in both your daytime and nighttime routines. But two noteworthy products that work particularly well with Centella are niacinamide and vitamin C. 

“Niacinamide would likely pair nicely with this as it reduces inflammation and helps to restore the skin barrier,” Dr Andric said. 

As for antioxidant-rich vitamin C, pairing the two together will boost the effectiveness of both products’ anti-ageing and hydrating benefits. 


How can you add Centella asiatica to your skincare routine?

With a variety of Centella asiatica products now on the market — both from Eastern and Western brands — there are so many ways you can incorporate this ingredient into your current routine. 

It's widely available in multiple skin treatments, from moisturisers to toners to creams, so once you’ve settled on a product, simply apply your products in the following order:

  1. Oil cleanser
  2. Cleanser
  3. Toner
  4. Exfoliant
  5. Optional: Face mask
  6. Serums or boosters (going from the thickest to thinnest formula)  
  7. Eye cream
  8. Moisturiser 
  9. For the AM: end with a SPF

My recommendations. 

I’ve purchased a lot of these products over the past few months, but there are a select few that have made a significant improvement to my skin. So, here are a few of my favourites that I've already repurchased. 

Benton Goodbye Redness Centella Mask, $2.50.

Image: Supplied.


If my skin is looking compromised or I can feel my ‘period face’ (yes, it’s a thing) kicking in, I slap on one of these masks for 20 minutes and I kid you not, it reduces the likelihood of blemishes forming and calms any that have already surfaced. Each mask pack is filled with Centella serum so make sure you don’t waste a drop — apply your mask and squeeze any remaining serum left in the pack on top of your mask. 

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule, $24.40.

Image: Supplied.


This is one of TikTok’s most hyped K-beauty products for good reason. ICYMI, SKIN1004 is currently one of Korea’s most adored skincare brands, with much of the brand’s success coming from this single product. It’s formulated with Centella asiatica extract from Madagascar and works to strengthen the skin barrier and improve moisture retention for flawless, glass skin. I’ve also tried SKIN1004’s Centella Cleansing Oil and Water-Gel Sheet Ampoule Mask, and can confirm both are worthy skincare investments I will also be repurchasing. 

VT Cosmetics Reedle Shot, from $38.

Image: Supplied.


I’ve already ranted about why I’m obsessed with this product, which you can read all about here. For those who aren’t across this product already, the VT Reed Shot provides similar effects and benefits to a professional micro-needling session — the only difference is that it’s packaged into a single bottle and sold at an affordable price. The formula comprises of a potent blend of Cica extract, Madecassoside, propolis extract, hyaluronic acid and macadamia seed oil (the former two being derivatives of Centella asiatica). Benefits of this concoction include deep penetration, exfoliation, pore tightening and moisturisation in 72 hours.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, $29.10.

Image: The Ordinary.


I don’t normally deter from K-beauty brands but one of my exceptions is The Ordinary, simply because the products work and are easily accessible and affordable. The Soothing & Barrier Support Serum is my go-to when my skin is in SOS mode and needs IMMEDIATE help. Formulated with a blend of Centella asiatica, niacinamide, vitamin B12, ceramides, ginger root extract and other skin-loving ingredients, this multi-active solution helps to repair my skin barrier, soothe discomfort and reduce the look of redness in a few hours. 

Mixsoon Centella Asiatica Toner, $19.

Image: Supplied.


A toner is probably one of the most underrated skincare steps but I assure you, using one will completely change your skin. This one from Mixsoon is a new favourite because it offers the most incredible soothing effect, especially perfect if I’ve just used an exfoliating cleanser. It also soaks into the skin in seconds and acts as a great moisturising base for my other skincare products. 

Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask, $48.

Image: Adore Beauty.


I am a die-hard Laneige Sleeping Mask fan, so when the brand released this Cica version, you bet I ran to the shops. I love how it’s so easy to use — simply apply it as the last step in your nighttime skincare routine, go to sleep and wake up with glowy (like, seriously glowy) skin. If my skin is feeling particularly dry, I like to apply two layers of this mask for a deeper soothing effect. 

Have you tried Centella asiatica skincare products already? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Feature image: Supplied. 

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