22 June 2022
Cica may be one of the most popular ingredients in Korean skincare; but Cica has a history of centuries behind its use in beauty products1,2. Also known as Centella Asiatica, Cica’s versatile benefits have it highly sought after in skincare, especially for users with sensitive skin.
Centella Asiatica contains a key active ingredient called saponins (or triterpenoids)3,4. Some of the benefits of applying Centella Asiatica to the skin include:
• Anti-aging: One study showed that cica extract combined with vitamin C improved skin firmness and elasticity by improving collagen levels in the skin5.
• Wound healing: Cica promotes wound healing and reduces scar formation6.
• Cellulite or stretch marks: Cica may help with reducing cellulite formation and improving skin health7 .
• Acne: Cica reduced inflammation related to C. acnes bacteria and improved skin hydration in one study8
• Psoriasis: Cica extract improved psoriasis in one study9. Based on preclinical studies, Centella Asiatica brings about these benefits by enhancing collagen synthesis10, improving growth of small blood vessels11, and reducing inflammatio10,11.
The Centella Asiatica plant grows in tropical and subtropical climates such as Madagascar, India and Eastern Europe. In recent decades, Madagascar is emerging as a leader for harvesting Centella Asiatica through more environmentally friendly and ethical practices for farmers.
Currently, Madagascar is the world’s top producer of Centella Asiatica12. It is also the second most important medicinal plant harvested from Madagascar12. The leaves of the Centella Asiatica plant are harvested by hand by farmers and represent a vital source of income for most of the poor, rural Madagascan farmers13. To meet growing international demand for Cica and protect the environment and farmers from exploitation, an international NGO, Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), has paired with suppliers to improve harvesting practices in Madagascar.
One skincare brand that features Centella Asiatica from Madagascar prominently is SKIN1004. SKIN1004 is a beauty brand from South Korea that was founded in 2014 by several skincare enthusiasts who wanted to create a hypoallergenic skincare line that could be used by most people. Hence, the first skincare range from SKIN1004 focuses on Centella Asiatica- a versatile and safe ingredient for most people.
Madagascar emerged as their top choice for SKIN1004 to harvest Centella Asiatica because of the optimum climate and environment. The plants for SKIN1004 are harvested by trained pickers in 17 regions of Madagascar that have been optimised for farming Centella Asiatica.These pickers employ Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for traceability and quality preservation of the plants.
SKIN1004 gifted their entire Centella and Hyalu-Cica range to me; and I’ll be sharing my review of these products in this blogpost. This post was not influenced; and all opinions expressed are entirely mine.
Centella Asiatica from Madagascar is featured in all the products from SKIN1004’s Centella- from cleansers to serums and sunscreen. The Hyalu-Cica line contains a combination of hyaluronic acid and Cica to calm and hydrate the skin.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil is an oil cleanser that also doubles as a makeup remover. This cleansing is rich in emollients and its star ingredients, Centella Asiatica, to thoroughly clean the skin without damaging the skin barrier.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil has a light but very pleasant floral scent, likely due to the addition of the Bergamot fruit oil. If you prefer to have a luxurious feel and scents to your skincare, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil is my recommendation. I double cleanse my skin with an oil cleanser; and I like that SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil feels light on my skin, without the heaviness that some other cleansing oils that I’ve tried before.
To use SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil, pump the product into your hands and gently rub it on your dry face to remove makeup and dirt. You’ll notice that SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil becomes an emulsion that can be easily rinsed off with water. SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil gets the job done for me- makeup and dirt come off but I’m a fan of double cleansing, so I follow up with another facial cleanser as a habit.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil is a gentle and effective makeup remover. My skin does not feel dry or tight after using it and the floral scent made the sensorial experience more luxurious.
Besides Centella Asiatica, this foaming cleanser also contains glycerin and sodium hyaluronate to moisturise the skin. The cleansing agents in SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule Foam are Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate. These are surfactants that are gentle on the skin; and do not disrupt the skin barrier.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule Foam comes in a tube. After squeezing it onto your palms, rub it onto your face to form a foam cleanser that can be rinsed off. The feel of SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule Foam is very functional; there’s no scent to it; it gets my skin cleaned just like a face cleanser should.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Toning Toner is a gentle exfoliating toner that also contains gluconolactone, a type of polyhydroxy acid (PHA). Gluconolactone removes the top layer of dead and dull skin to allow newer skin to emerge for smoother and more even skin tone. Compared to acids such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA); PHAs have a larger molecular weight, so their exfoliating effects are less pronounced.
This toner also contains niacinamide, an antioxidant that also reduces inflammation. The combination of Centella Asiatica, niacinamide and gluconolactone makes SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Toning Toner one that can be used on sensitive skin.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Toning Toner has a watery texture that sank into my skin very quickly. It’s also very light on the skin and dries to leave a barely there feel. This toner did not cause any hypersensitivity, dryness or purging on my skin.
My opinion of SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Toning Toner is that it is better for users with sensitive or dry skin. For me, the exfoliating effect was not very obvious despite consistent use for 2 weeks. Poly-hydroxy acids have always been too mild for my skin as I undergo regular chemical peels.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule is the star product of SKIN1004’s Madagascar Centella range. According to the brand’s website, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule contains 100% Centella Asiatica extract. The other ingredients in this product are glycerin and hexanediol, two humectants that retain moisture in the skin.
The ampoule has a very slight brown tinge, which does not cause any discolouration on my skin. It’s also very light weight and sinks into my skin quickly. After using SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule overnight, I felt that my skin felt calm and moisturised. In my opinion, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule is better for users with sensitive and oily skin. If you have dry, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule is best paired with another moisturiser for synergistic effects.
Users with sensitive skin can also benefit from SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule’s high amount of Centella Asiatica extract.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream is a moisturiser that is rich in emollients such as Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, shea butter and squalene. For treating dry skin, emollients are useful because they soften the skin and provide a protective barrier to retain moisture.
This cream also deserves particular mention for containing barrier repair ingredients such as ceramides and oils that are rich in essential fatty acids (e.g. Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil and Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil). This makes SKIN1004 Madagascar Soothing Centella Cream highly suited for helping to reduce irritation from inflammation and reducing transepidermal water loss. Other goodies in SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream are antioxidants such as niacinamide and other emollients such as squalene.
Although described as a cream, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream has a gel-cream consistency. There’s barely any scent to it; and it sinks in very quickly into the skin. The moisturising effects of SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Cream can definitely be felt; however it leaves a sticky feel to the skin after drying.
My skin felt nourished and plumper with use of this moisturiser and it did not clog my pores.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream is a moisturiser that improves the skin’s barrier function. It contains barrier repair ingredients such as 4 different types of ceramides, Phytosphingosine and cholesterol. These ingredients are integral components of the skin’s barrier function and replenishing these with skincare can reduce transepidermal water loss and hypersensitivity.
This cream is very thick and takes quite a while to dry. Even with a lot of blending and pat downs, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream left a heavy feel on my skin; and as someone who prefers lightweight moisturisers, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream felt like it would benefit someone with dry and sensitive skin better.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Spot Cream is a dab on for calming angry, painful zits. Other than Centella Asiatica for calming the skin; SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Spot Cream contains niacinamide and gluconolactone, a type of polyhydroxy acid.
This combination of gluconolactone, Centella Asiatica and niacinamide allows for gentle exfoliation of the skin while keeping inflammation and irritation to a minimum. For users with sensitive skin; or are unable to use retinoids for acne, acids can be used to resurface comedones and pimples.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Spot Cream has a gel consistency with a very faint herbal scent to it. This cream did not cause any irritation or dryness, but I found that my zits were slow to respond with SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Spot Cream.
Containing cotton pads pre-soaked in a calming concoction containing Centella Asiatica and humectants such as panthenol and sodium hyaluronate, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Quick Calming Pad packs hydration and soothing benefits in a mask.
Forceps are provided to pinch up the pads which are generously soaked in this calming serum; and place it on your skin for about 10-15 mins. When placed on my skin; SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Quick Calming Pad left a cooling and very calming feel. The pads are shaped in an almost circular shape with a concavity on one side to sit on the under eye area. After removing the SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Quick Calming Pad, the serum that remained made my skin feel more moisturised and supple.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Plus is broad spectrum and high coverage sunscreen with SPF 50 and PA++++ ratings. It’s a physical sunscreen that contains only zinc oxide as its sunscreen filter. No chemical sunscreen filters are used in SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Plus; so if you have sensitive skin or are looking for sunscreen with mineral filters only- SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Plus can be a consideration.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Plus also contains niacinamide, an antioxidant that strengthens the skin’s defenses and reduces inflammation in the skin. You can learn more about niacinamide in Niacinamide: A Versatile Skincare Ingredient Your Skin Will Thank You For. Several other antioxidants such as Tocopherol and Madecassoside are also included to provide additional protection free radical damage from the environment to the skin.
This sunscreen has a slightly heavy texture and required quite some blending to get a consistent layer across my skin. As expected with most physical sunscreens, SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Plus made my skin look paler. The sunscreen also took a while to dry and felt heavy on my skin. SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Air-Fit Suncream Plus also caused new comedones on my skin, so I would not recommend this sunscreen if you have oily skin.
If you have sensitive and dry skin; or are looking for moisturising products that are gentle and nourishing for the skin; SKIN1004’s Hyalu-Cica offers a combination of hyaluronic acid and Centella Asiatica for these needs. The Hyalu-Cica lineup from SKIN1004 comprises four moisturising products with a lightweight feel on the skin to keep the skin calm, moist and plump. Here’s my take on the products from SKIN1004’s Hyalu-Cica line:
Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Blue Serum offers moisturising and barrier boosting benefits- but without acids for exfoliation. SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Blue Serum offers a blend of humectants such as panthenol, pantolactone and hyaluronic acids for overall skin hydration. Niacinamide and ceramide are also included in SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Blue Serum to improve skin barrier function and reduce transepidermal water loss.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Blue Serum absorbs quickly into my skin and leaves my skin feeling plump and moisturised. It did not clog my pores or cause irritation; and it felt like a functional hydrating serum for use in the day.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Sleeping Pack is an overnight sleeping mask that’s also packed with moisturising superheroes- hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid, pantolactone and glycerin. Ceramide and niacinamide are also featured to improve the skin barrier function.
This mask is also rich in antioxidants from plant extracts to protect the skin from free radical damage from the environment. These include Hibiscus Esculentus Fruit Extract, Products with Pyrus Communis Fruit Extract and Rosa Damascena Flower Water; which also confer some anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.
To use SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Sleeping Pack; spread it on clean skin before you sleep. It leaves a film-like feel to the skin after drying, so you can use another serum underneath and seal in the goodness with this mask.
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Cloudy Mist is a hydrating mist that also calms hypersensitive skin. The addition of Camellia sinensis or green tea in SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Cloudy Mist also gives the toner additional multitasking benefits. As I’ve shared in this blogpost Benefits of Topical Green Tea, Camellia sinensis is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage to the skin from UV rays and environmental pollution. Polyphenols in green tea also slow down the skin’s breakdown of collagen to maintain skin’s tautness.
The mist spritzs out very finely and dries very quickly. SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Cloudy Mist provides a moisture boost to quench dry and sensitive skin with a triple combination of hyaluronic acid, Cica and green tea. I find SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Cloudy Mist to be very handy whenever I’m out; and I need a hydrating spritz mid day. It’s quick, convenient and effective.
Review of SKIN1004 Hyalu-Cica Moisture Cream A very thick and powerful moisturiser for very dry skin; SKIN1004 Hyalu-Cica Moisture Cream is a cream that is enriched with hyaluronic acid, Cica and niacinamide. This cream also contains several plant extracts rich in antioxidants and proteins that reduce inflammation in the skin. One that is worthy of mention is the Betula Platyphylla Japonica juice or birch extract; that is packed with amino acids and vitamins to nourish and protect the skin.
This cream is very thick; and it seals in moisture and serums applied beforehand well. It does take quite a while to dry; and it feels occlusive; so this SKIN1004 Hyalu-Cica Moisture Cream is better for users with dry skin.
Madagascar Centella and Hyalu-Cica line Centella Asiatica (Cica) and hyaluronic acid are safe and useful ingredients for moisturising and soothing the skin. If you have dry and/or sensitive skin; SKIN1004’s Madagascar Centella and Hyalu-Cica lines offer a complete range of quality products enriched with these ingredients that are worth a try. Two products from SKIN1004 that I enjoyed using were SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil and Hyalu-Cica Brightening Toner, for keeping my skin bright, clear and calm.
Have you tried SKIN1004’s products? Share your thoughts in the comments below! You can visit SKIN1004’s website to know more about their range here.
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