We're here for the latest and greatest in skin care trends — and trust us, there are lot of cool ones popping right now. Jade rollers, at-home microneedling tools, topical fillers and now, cica cream. Cica what, you ask? Cica cream is a wonder product that soothes seriously irritated skin (which, let's be real, we all experience from time to time). It might sound like moisturizer to you, but it turns out cica cream is so much more than that. We've got the scoop on what makes cica cream stand out, how to use it and where to find it.
Cica cream derives its name from its superstar ingredient: centella asiatica. "The word cicatrix is derived from the Latin term for scar and "cica" is a made-up word that has been used for topical products containing centella asiatica, an antioxidant-rich herb native to Asia," says David Lortscher, MD, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology. Centella asiatica, which is also known as gotu kola or Indian pennywort, is chock-full of amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids and phytochemicals, including vitamins C, A, B1, B2, niacin and carotene, says Rhonda Q. Klein, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Connecticut Dermatology Group. When combined, these nutrients brighten skin and fight premature aging.
"Given the reparative and regenerative properties of centella, cica creams are being touted to help acne-prone skin, wound healing, sensitive skin types, and to dramatically help with fine lines, sun damaged and dull skin," says Klein. "Cica creams are also thought to help increase elasticity and firmness of the skin, as well as strengthening the skin barrier to decrease visible signs of aging. Thus, they are thought to be helpful for more skin types." Lortscher points out, however, that there haven't been any clinical studies done on humans to prove cica's effectiveness.
Right about now you're probably wondering if there's anything special you have to do to use cica cream. It depends which one you choose. Since centella asiatica is rich in antioxidants and has such soothing and reparative properties, Klein generally recommends applying cica cream in the morning or twice daily after cleansing. However, keep in mind that some cica creams also contain retinol, says Klein. If you buy one with retinol in it, only use it at night since this ingredient makes you more sensitive to the sun.
If you have acne-prone skin, it's a good idea to talk to your derm first to ensure that the cica cream you're using doesn't have pore-clogging ingredients, says Lortscher. You may also want to follow up with a moisturizer. Read on for some of the best cica creams available.
Fun fact: This inflammation-busting cream was inspired by the legend of Asian tigers, who supposedly rolled in centella asiatica to treat their wounds (this is why tiger grass is another name for the ingredient). This particular cream also features minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium to strengthen skin and boost hydration. Use it anywhere you experience irritation.
Leave it to the French to come up with a tres chic version of cica cream. This paraben-free, hypoallergenic cream has antibacterial ingredients — copper and zinc — in its formula to ward off germs while it repairs irritated skin. Lucky for us, this French drugstore staple is available online.