best circa k beauty cream

Why Cica Cream Is Our Latest K-Beauty Obsession

Prepare for soothed, hydrated skin.

By: Hannah Baxter

When it comes to makeup and skin-care innovations, Korea consistently leads the pack, creating cult-favorite products like the cushion compact and developing the 12-step skin-care routine. And now that winter is upon us, we’ve turned again to the K-beauty world in our search for products that will not only deeply hydrate our parched complexions, but also contain active ingredients to help fight acne and repair skin’s moisture barrier. We deserve it all! So what did we discover? It’s called Cica cream, and it’s about to become your new best friend.

Similar to BB cream and CC cream—which stand for blemish balm and color correcting cream, respectively—Cica is an acronym for the formula’s active ingredient, Centella Asiatica. You might know it more colloquially as pennywort or tiger grass, which is an herb popular in traditional Chinese medicine. “It’s used for healing acne and [its] type of inflammation,” explains Sandra Lanshin Chiu, an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist based in Brooklyn. “I use this herb a lot internally. Rather than relegate it to just being a good herb for one thing or another, it’s perhaps more useful to think of Cica as a great herb for supporting skin function all around, both inside and out.”

So what exactly are the benefits of using this ingredient in your skin care? Dermatologist Dr. Heather Rogers explains, “Centella Asiatica is rich in amino acids (the building blocks of collagen), fatty acids (an important component of the epidermis), and antioxidants, including madecassodie triterpenoid saponis, that protect the skin from attack, be it from disease-causing bacteria or the oxidative stress of sun and pollution.” She adds that because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial characteristics—as well as the high fatty acid content to soothe dryness—Centella can help fuel new skin growth, a vital part of slowing down the aging process.

Another important aspect of protecting your skin from damaging external factors like free radicals and pollution is strengthening its outermost layers so they act as a fortified shield. Says Lanshin, “Research has shown it to increase hydration levels in the skin, which helps with repairing and supporting the skin barrier.” A weakened skin barrier means increased moisture loss, which can lead to more prominent wrinkles and fine lines. That’s why using a Cica cream as your daily moisturizer (and as a part of a consistent skin-care routine) might just be our new favorite way to prevent premature skin aging and banish dry, itchy skin this winter. Best of all, it’s suitable for sensitive skin and can even help soothe symptoms of psoriasis and eczema, so skin is healthy and hydrated.

If you’re in the market for a new Cica cream, or just want to try out the latest K-Beauty trend for yourself, check out our five favorites below.


Derma Gentle Cica Cream, $25

A deeply hydrating day cream that also offers a demi-matte finish and sits perfectly under makeup. Rough skin is smoothed with added ingredients like madecassoside, panthenol, and cypress tree extracts.

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream, $48

The perfect cream for inflamed skin, this is formulated with an advanced Nolsome Capsule, which improves penetration of ingredients like resurrection plant, houttuynia cordata, and yarrow.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm, $15

If you don’t want to limit the nourishing benefits of Cica to just your face, pick up some of this all-purpose balm. It’s even suitable for babies, so you know it’s especially good.

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream, $20

What gives this calming cream its striking blue color is the addition of Guaiazulene, a skin-calming agent extracted from camomile oil. In conjunction with the Centella, it helps eliminate redness and keeps skin moisturized all day long.

L’Oréal Revitalift Cicacream Face Moisturizer, $18

If you really want to ramp up your anti-aging regimen, the added Pro-retinol of this formula will help improve skin’s elasticity, while strengthening its barrier and increasing hydration. Fine lines are reduced, and skin is soothed and supple.

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