What is gotu kola and should you add it to your skincare?

What is gotu kola and should you add it to your skincare?

Table of Contents

Gotu kola is a powerful plant that grows in and near water in Asia. It’s stems and leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and has been a go-to natural cure for over a dozen ailments. Its extract can be taken orally or used topically. Gotu kola goes by a lot of names including:

  • Centella Asiatica – it’s scientific name
  • Cica – A nickname commonly used in K-Beauty
  • Herb of Longevity – it’s been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Indonesian, and Ayurvedic medicine
  • Mandukaparni – it’s Sanskrit name
  • Brahma Buti – it’s Hindi name
  • Tiger Grass—seen most commonly in the skincare world

Let’s talk about the benefits of gotu kola to see if it’s right for you to add to your skincare routine!

centella asiatica extract for skincare

Key ingredients of gotu kola 

Centella asiatica extract is composed of 70% triterpenic acids and is packed with antioxidants. The active compounds include pentacyclic triterpenes, mainly asiaticoside, madecassoside, asiatic and madecassic acids. Let’s dig into these ingredients and their key benefits for skin:

Pentacyclic Triterpenes –these are active phytochemicals known for being anti-inflammatory. They also have strong antioxidant properties. A recent study found “that the antioxidants in Centella (84%) is comparable to Vitamin C (88%) and grape seed extract (83%). This makes its superpower skin brightening.

Asiaticoside – aka the collagen synthesizer!

Madecassoside – Another antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Madecassoside is specifically known for combatting damage caused by sun exposure and hyperpigmentation. Click here for a deep dive into Madecassoside!

Asiatic Acids—known for stimulating GAGs (glycosaminoglycans) which are an important component of your skin barrier, as well as collagen production. Both make it a great moisturizer and wound healer.

Madecassic Acids – The final wonder component that gives centella asiatica it’s wound healing, skin regenerating and hydration properties.

What does gotu kola do for your skin?

When taken orally, it’s been attributed to boosting cognitive function, fighting Alzheimer’s disease, reducing anxiety and stress, acting as an antidepressant, easing insomnia, and relieving joint pain. On top of all that, Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse says, “centella asiatica has been used to treat psoriasis, eczema, lupus, leprosy, syphilis, wounds, colds, and influenza.” No wonder it’s called the herb of longevity!

gotu kola benefits

Check out some of the top gotu kola benefits for skin:

  • Wound Healing – Since centella asiatica extract contains ingredients that regenerate healthy skin cells and collagen, it’s easy to see how it can help speed up the skin’s healing process. A 2015 study found that centella asiatica extract improved healing effects in excision, infection, and abrasion type wounds.

  • Minimize Scarring— In France it’s very common to see centella asiatica extract in the scar cream found at the local drug store. It’s been found to help reduce the height of a scar and the darkened pigmentation.

  • Prevents Stretch Marks – Two different studies on pregnant women show that creams containing gotu kola extract resulted in significantly fewer stretch marks. There has also been some research showing that the increased collagen production can help reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks.

Top 3 Benefits of gotu kola for your face

For the past five years, gotu kola extracts have been featured as the top active ingredient in many new skincare products. Known as cica extract in k-beauty, below are the top three benefits of adding gotu kola to your skincare routine.

  • Hydration

    One of the top gotu kola benefits for skin is that it helps strengthen your skin barrier in two ways. Firstly, its packed with antioxidants which help combat free radicals and other environmental factors that damage you skin barrier.

    Secondly, it promotes GAGs and collagen production both of which encourage the integrity of the skin. Since one of the most important roles of the skin barrier is to lock in moisture, gotu kola ensures the skin can retain maximum hydration.

    cica cream
  • Collagen Production

    Gotu kola’s ability to stimulate collagen means it is great for tackling loose skin. As early as 20 years old, our natural collagen production starts to decrease which is a big contributor to saggy, loose skin and wrinkles—the key symptoms of aging skin.

    Due to its firming properties, it has even been shown to battle cellulite! Adding in topical collagen-stimulating aids will help keep your skin looking firm, plump, and youthful.
  • Soothes Redness

    As a strong anti-inflammatory, gotu kola extract has been used to treat redness and inflammation. Some studies show that it’s been effective as a naturally treatment for rosacea and eczema. You’ll want to look for its common nickname, cica, for anti-inflammatory skincare products.

Frequently asked questions about gotu kola

Since it’s growing popularity in the US and more prominent skincare brands, there have been a lot of questions circulating about gotu kola. Let’s dive into the top questions:

Is gotu kola good for face acne?

Yes! Gotu kola extract can be a great addition to your skincare routine if you struggle with acne. Not only will gotu kola help tackle stubborn acne scars, but it can help soothe inflammation and redness caused from acne. There have also been some studies showing it has antimicrobial properties which helps prevent bacteria from entering the pores and causing more breakouts.

cica foam cleanser

Is gotu kola good for aging skin?

Absolutely! The antioxidant, collagen synthesis and hydration components of gotu kola make it a powerhouse against aging. A small 2008 study found that after 12 weeks of application, women who used a cream with asiaticoside, a centella asiatica extract, had significantly less wrinkles than the control group. It’s also known for its firming properties to fight saggy, loose skin.

Does gotu kola help hyperpigmentation? 

Yes again! The Madecassoside and Pentacyclic Triterpenes counter the harmful effects of sun damage which worsens hyperpigmentation. A 2013 study found that after just 8 weeks of use, using centella asiatica extract significantly reduced hyperpigmentation. Popular skincare brands are adding gotu kola to their products to heal hyperpigmentation and leave your skin radiant and bright!

Is cica extract good for dehydrated and irritated skin?

It sure does! Not only does centella asiatica aka cica extract increase skin surface hydration, but it also decreases water loss through the skin barrier. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it great for tackling irritated skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and inflamed acne.

It’s easy to see why gotu kola extract, aka centella asiatica, aka cica, aka tiger grass has quickly taken the skincare industry by storm! Overall, the gotu kola plant is your go to for skin brightening, strengthening your skin barrier, and plump, youthful skin!