Why Is Centella Asiatica Good for the Skin?

Centella asiatica is a plant that's kind to our skin. It has useful properties in therapies ranging from pharmacological to aesthetic.
Why Is Centella Asiatica Good for the Skin?

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu kola, is a common ingredient in cosmetics. Although its use dates back to millenary times, the pharmaceutical and beauty industries have expanded the properties attributed to the plant, opening the way for it to be used in skin-friendly routines.

This herb belonging to the Apiaceae family, native to Asia, has an excellent reputation as an anti-aging remedy, according to a publication (link in Spanish) by the University of Texas Herbal Safety department.

Gotu kola, kodavan, Indian pennywort, and Asiatic pennywort are additional names for a plant that promises positive effects when combating different skin conditions. Let’s pick out the truth from the myths.

What is Centella asiatica and what are its properties?

Centella asiatica is a plant with green leaves and pink and white flowers. It grows in humid soils. It is a multifaceted herb, as you can try it in a salad, drink it in syrup, use it in a soap or spread it as a lotion.

Centella asiatica, or Gotu kola, is a key component in the treatment of small wounds, psoriasis, burns and keloids. The journal Advances in Dermatology and Allergy adds that it’s also useful in addressing other conditions in almost all skin types.

Such qualities come from its content in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C. It’s rich in quercetin, essential oils, astragalin, phytosterols and flavonoids.

It contains asiaticoside, madecassoside, terminoloside, and fatty acids. It also contains mucilages, resins, alkaloids, saponins, and free amino acids.

Depending on the geographical region, the chemical composition of centella asiatica varies.

Benefits of Centella asiatica for the skin

Traditional medicine, such as Ayurveda and cosmetology, state the topical power of the oriental plant. The following effects are associated with this herb.

Moisturizing

Creams with 5% concentrations of Gotu kola keep the skin moisturized. This is how the Asian herb promotes skin hydration, and nourishes, soothes and softens.

A woman with cream on her face.
Moisturizing is key to skincare. Creams with Centella asiatica can help in this regard.

Healing

The plant inhibits the inflammation of scars. It’s a stimulant of epithelization that intervenes in the activation of skin fibroblasts. Hence its use to help fade or minimize the appearance of surgical wounds, burns, and sunburn.

Antioxidant

 Centella asiatica protects cells from free radicals, which is advantageous for sensitive skin. This particularity accelerates cell regeneration, especially in aged dermis or skin exposed to severe environmental conditions.

Prevention of wrinkles and spots

One of the most praised virtues of the species is the improvement of blood flow, which brings more nutrients and oxygen to the cells. It prevents the formation of spots, delays the appearance of wrinkles, and boosts collagen synthesis.

It isn’t surprising that it’s considered a trendy ingredient in anti-aging cosmetics, as pointed out in an article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Vasoconstrictor

By influencing blood circulation, Gotu kola acts as a vasoconstrictor. Therefore, it tones the veins and helps to prevent venous insufficiency.

Combats cellulite

The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (link in Spanish) mentions Centella asiatica as one of the substances that work on the connective tissue to eliminate cellulite. This herb helps elasticity and firmness, so that stretch marks don’t appear either.

Reduces inflammation in the eyelids

In sensitive parts of the body, such as the eyelids, this oriental plant is good for reducing inflammation. Dermatological wipes impregnated with it are a useful option in case of blepharitis, according to the bulletin Información Terapéutica del Sistema Nacional de Salud de España.

A swollen eyelid.
In cases of blepharitis, treatment with this plant can be helpful.

Antibacterial and antifungal

Products containing this plant work as bactericides and fungicides. They’re optimal for acne-prone skin and skin with fungal infections.

Skin products containing Centella asiatica

Due to its properties, the Apiaceae herb is a valuable active ingredient in cosmetics and can be found in sunscreens, leg relaxers, tonics, body toners, and shampoos for sensitive scalps, among other products.

Depending on the use and purpose, we can highlight the following:

  • Cream formulas moisturize deeply to increase the skin’s resistance and restore its barrier capacity.
  • Serums penetrate the innermost layers to restore natural elasticity and firmness to the tissues.
  • In the case of oils, they’re quick to heal wounds and restore freshness to dry dermis.

Are there any risks in the topical application of Centella asiatica?

The frequent way to use Gotu kola on the skin is through cosmetics, creams, and ointments. Regardless of whether it’s a medical case or for an aesthetic treatment, respect the specialist’s prescription without overdoing it.

Research reported by Offarm magazine highlights that topical use is well tolerated and that hypersensitivity is rarely reported. However, it’s advisable to use it with caution so that there aren’t any complications.

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