How Korea's 2017 breakthrough ingredient helped my redness-prone skin

by Becca Ramirez, guest writer

I have had very red cheeks for as long as I can remember. Back when I was in high school, I welcomed it with open arms as it saved me a lot of money instead of buying those super trendy The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tints which almost all of my classmates had. As I got older and started experimenting with makeup more though, I realized that I needed a more even skin tone so I could experiment with blush colors! 

Sure, foundation helps but I don't like wearing foundation on a daily basis. I'm usually in a rush and prefer to just put on some blush and highlighter aside from my eyebrows. I used to think that red cheeks could only be solved by heavy creams prescribed by the dermatologist but my forays into Asian Beauty led me to discover an ingredient that more people should know about!

Meet my new BFF: Centella Asiatica!

One of the breakthrough ingredients in Korean skincare for 2017, Centella Asiatica is also known as Gotu Kola or Pennyworth. It has been popping out as a main ingredient in many Korean road shop brands, including Innisfree and Etude House, which both have their own Cica (short for Centella Asiatica) lines. Many other popular Korean brands like Dear Klairs, CosRX and Leegeehaam (formerly Leejiham) also have their own Centella-centered skincare lines.

Centella is a small plant that can be found in dark and damp places in places such as China, India, and South Africa. Its uses and benefits are actually documented in Chinese medicine. The plant's extract helps with healing burns and wounds. It's also rich in vitamins C, A, B1 and B2, niacin and beta carotene, all of which are known for their skin-brightening properties. Centella also contains asiaticoside, which helps in the production of collagen. Due to the boost in collagen production centella provides, it can also help in treating stretchmarks!

Centella's anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great pimple-fighting ingredient. I personally use it to even out my redness-prone skin, and I think it will work as well for those with redness caused by rosacea. I also use centella-based products to calm my skin whenever I get bad reaction to a new product or irritate my skin with too much chemical exfoliation. It quickly soothes the flare up and dispels the itchiness caused by irritation. While ceramides help to strengthen the skin's barrier, I find that centella helps speed up the healing process.

The best part is that it's not just a quick fix! After using centella products for the past three months or so, my skin is now less red, looks younger (my goal is still #Forever25), and feels bouncier as well. My acne-prone sister likes applying a centella cream to her pimples, as they make the redness go down and heal the pimple faster as well.

Where can I find centella?

While it's still far from becoming mainstream in the Philippines, you'd be surprised by how many centella products are actually available in the market. If you're an ingredient junkie like me, remember to look for centella leaf extract or madecassoside in the ingredients!

For relatively affordable products that contain a good amount of centella, look no further than the Dear Klairs line (available at theskincarecurator.com). Most if not all their products contain centella leaf extract, including crowd favorites the Midnight Blue Calming Cream (P1,010) and the Supple Preparation Toner (P880). I've personally tried a sample of the Dear Klairs Toner, which convinced me to buy a full-sized one for my skincare stash.

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One of my favorite ampoules, the Leegeehaam Vita Propolis ampoule (P1,500 at theskincarecurator.com) also contains centella asiatica as one of its main ingredients, so you get a soft glow from the propolis plus a skin-calming effect thanks to the centella. Another popular option would be the CosRX Centella Blemish Cream (P945 at theskincarecurator.com), which is what my sister loves) and a Holy Grail product for many skincare fanatics. It works to soothe fresh pimples and I do think it would be great for those who get hormonal breakouts. Etude House also has their own cica line called Soonjung. It's relatively new in stores but has received great reviews from popular Korean Youtubers.

My current personal favorites would be from the Dr. Jart Cicapair line, which have done wonders for my skin. Their Re-Cover Cream (P2,966 at sephora.ph) is just one of those amazing skincare products that double as makeup as well! It instantly covers my redness and evens out my skintone, plus it contains SPF. It IS pricey but I've noticed that I don't need much and I've been using it less since over time because the redness in my skin has gone down significantly. On nights that my skin does turn red, I turn to the Cicapair Cream (P2,735 at sephora.ph), which is a little thick and thus not recommended for daytime use in our hot weather. It is however a great spot treatment!

If you're not ready to buy a full-sized product yet or want to first try centella's effects on your skin, a sheet mask is a great option! Skinfood and Tony Moly both have their own centella sheet masks which range at around P125 each.

I think centella is a must-have skincare addition to any regimen. They're a great all-in-one ingredient that help calm skin irritations, boost collagen production, and lessen redness as well. Acne-prone skin types stand to benefit most due to the healing properties of centella.

Have you tried centella in your skincare yet? What products have your tried and how was your experience with them? Would love to hear your recos!

Sources: theklog.co, nailderella.com


Becca is a digital content strategist by profession and a crazy skincare enthusiast by choice. Follow her skincare (mis)adventures on Instagram