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Ingredient In Focus: Centella Asiatica

model applying two drops of cream on her cheeks

A fixture of beauty routines for centuries, centella asiatica (also known as gotu kola) is a tried-and-trusted plant-derived ingredient that helps to soothe and cherish skin in crisis. Hailing all the way from Southeast Asia, the plant looks a bit like tall, tropical watercress — chock-full of free radical-fighting antioxidants which have impressive calming and protective {skin care} properties.

What does centella asiatica do for skin?

A multitasking marvel, centella asiatica is primarily trusted to comfort the skin when it’s compromised. Found in a legion of soothing and protective creams and treatments, this antioxidant is powerfully protective while helping to counteract {redness} and calm {irritation} — which makes it ideal if your barrier's taken a battering (like when you’ve been a little heavy-handed with the acids... ).

Ideal for fortifying delicate defences, centella asiatica is great for supporting skin’s barrier function while shielding your face from aggressors. It also behaves like a ‘blanket’ — delivering moisture then locking it in so that dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin can recover its bounce and resilience.

Does centella asiatica help with acne?

{Acneic or blemish-prone skin} can require ‘kid glove’ handling and thanks to centella asiatica’s ‘softly softly’ approach, it’s great for soothing breakouts and alleviating any reactivity. It’s tempting to wage war on acne with active ingredients (such as {acids} and {retinoids}) that promise to zap any blemishes but, as with everything, you can have too much of a good thing which leads to your skin being waaaay out of sync. Which is where centella asiatica comes to the fore — by helping to normalise skin’s equilibrium, and offering reassurance when it feels a bit off kilter.

Sometimes breakouts are a side-effect of over-zealous exfoliation (skin doesn’t like to be stripped) — and when this is the case, a gentle, rehabilitative extract like centella asiatica will help to quell rebellion and gradually appease affronted skin cells (“Sorry cells.”).

When should you use centella asiatica?

All the time if you suffer from sensitive skin — or you’re prone to an adverse reaction. And make sure you have some on ‘standby’ for times when you’ve overdone sun or your skin feels a bit weather-stressed. It’s also a good one to add to your {skin cycling routine} — use it on one of your R+R evenings to re-set the balance and prep for the next round of acid and retinol.

Keen to introduce centella asiatica to your routine? Discover the heroes that Lena, our Cult Concierge Manager, swears by...

Verity Douglas
Verity Douglas Writer and expert
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...

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