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Best Korean Centella Asiatica (Cica) Products in 2024

If skincare were a K-drama, Centella would be the main character.

Best Korean Centella Asiatica (Cica) Products

written by Alyssa Tan

updated on

Garden of Muses includes affiliate links marked with an *. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Centella Asiatica, also known as cica in the skincare world, is an ingredient that works wonders for soothing red and inflamed skin.

Centella Asiatica skincare products are one of the fastest-growing Korean skincare categories. Centella has been in the ingredient spotlight for a solid minute now, and I’m not complaining. Its prominence in skincare began in South Korea, where its product inclusion was inspired by the need to combat the ill effects of high air pollution levels.

It can, therefore, be quite overwhelming to know which product to choose. Almost every brand has its line of Cica products. You can find Centella products anywhere, from toners and serums to cica creams and sheet masks.

Korean Centella Asiatica Serum
Centella Asiatica serum by Alyssa Tan for Garden of Muses

What Is Centella Asiatica?

Centella Asiatica is a cute little plant with pretty little fan-shaped leaves. Centella Asiatica is the scientific name of the medicinal plant commonly known as gotu kola, tiger grass, or Indian pennywort. It’s a perennial herb with small fan-shaped leaves that grows in tropical and subtropical regions, including Asia, India, equatorial Africa, and Central America.

This tiny, perennial herb has an impressive history of use as a remedy for mild to severe skin conditions, including asthma, ulcers, leprosy, and vein diseases. It has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years, especially for dermatological conditions such as minor wounds, scratches, and burns. It is also an anti-inflammatory ingredient to treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It has even been used as an antibacterial and antiviral drug to relieve anxiety, as an antidepressant, and improve cognition.

The tiger grass legend
The tiger rolling on Centella Asiatica by Alyssa Tan for Garden of Muses

The Tiger Grass Legend

Did you know that tiger grass has a fascinating origin story behind its name? It is said that wounded tigers would roll on the plant’s stems to heal their injuries. This legend reveals tiger grass’s incredible healing powers and explains why it is also called the “herb of long life.”

Active Constituents of Centella Asiatica

So we now know that Centella is a plant with substantial medicinal value, but what gives this little herb its pro-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties?

The skin benefits of Centella stem predominantly from its main active constituents, also known as saponins. Centella’s four main skin-loving saponins are Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassoside, and Madasiatic Acid. These saponins have similar characteristics, contributing to Centella’s exceptional soothing, healing, and antioxidant properties. 

Benefits of Centella Asiatica For Skin

Centella Asiatica is a plant powerhouse when it comes to skincare – it does have many, many benefits for the skin.

Many scientific studies have shown it has potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Centella Asiatica Strengthens the Skin’s Barrier

This study found that a formulation of 5% Centella Asiatica extract for four weeks improved the hydration of the skin’s barrier by 25%. This is mainly due to the molecular structure of the saponins in Centella Asiatica – which can bind water within an occlusive layer – reducing the amount of trans-epidermal water loss.

Centella’s effect on the skin’s hydration is comparable to Aloe vera’s.
If you’re looking for an excellent moisturizer to improve your skin’s epidermal barrier function, looking for one with Centella Asiatica extract might be worthwhile!

Centella Asiatica Reduces the Skin’s Sensitivity to Irritants

The same study as above also evaluated the anti-inflammatory properties of Centella Asiatica. It was found that Centella has a protective effect on the skin, reducing its sensitivity to irritants.

Although I’d love to go into the biochemical details of how Centella has these effects, I will spare you! I’ll instead say that it is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of the compounds found in Centella – which reduce skin redness (erythema), decrease trans-epidermal water loss, and allow the skin to return to optimal pH after exposure to irritants.

In other words, if you have sensitive skin that gets irritated easily, a Centella product could help calm and soothe your skin while reducing redness!

Anti-aging Benefits of Centella Asiatica

If the above benefits weren’t enough, Centella Asiatica has also been shown to increase collagen production and improve skin firmness and elasticity, making it a powerful anti-aging ingredient.

This study found that the compound Madecassoside in Centella Asiatica reverses skin photo-aging by significantly improving deep and superficial wrinkles, suppleness, firmness, roughness, and skin hydration.
The active compounds found in Centella Asiatica can improve deep and superficial wrinkles and skin firmness by increasing collagen production.

Centella Asiatica Speeds up the Healing of Acne

Centella is also a great ingredient to include in your skincare routine if you have acne-prone skin. This is because the active constituents of Centella Asiatica speed up wound healing and decrease inflammation by stimulating collagen production.

Many Korean skincare products targeted for acne-prone skin contain Centella Asiatica or one of its derivatives. This is because Centella helps to heal pimples faster while preventing acne scarring.

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The Best Korean Centella Asiatica Products

Centella Asiatica can be found in many Korean skincare products as it is one of the most popular ingredients. This is due to its many benefits for the skin and scientific studies confirming them. It can therefore take some work to know which product you should buy. Which ones are the best?

I’ve researched for you and have listed what I found to be the best Centella Asiatica products currently available in the Korean skincare market.

Hopefully, this saves you hours of frustration when deciding which Centella product to choose!

Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence

Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence
Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence by Diana Brown for Garden of Muses. *Affiliate links below

AHAs are a very beneficial skincare ingredient, and incorporating them into your skincare routine can result in massive improvements to your skin. So, when looking for a new exfoliant, why not include one with the added benefits of Centella Asiatica and its main constituents?

Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence contains 4% glycolic acid and 4% lactic acid. This means that it has 8% AHA overall. However, the formulation is gentle on the skin due to its lactic acid, which has a slightly larger molecular size and is more hydrating than glycolic acid.

Glycolic acid and lactic acid are the most effective and widely-researched AHAs. They are both relatively small molecules that can easily penetrate the skin’s surface. Interestingly, glycolic acid has also been found to increase the production of hyaluronic acid in both the epidermis and dermis.

I also like that this essence contains Chestnut extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, and Allantoin, which have soothing effects on the skin, as well as sodium hyaluronate and panthenol, which both have skin-hydrating properties.



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Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence Ingredients List (last updated 2024)

Water, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Castanea Crenata (Chestnut) Shell Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Centella Asiatica Extract, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Madecassoside, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Allantoin, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Phosphatidylcholine, Sucrose Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ethylhexyl-Glycerin.

Ingredients referred from the Isntree website.

Active Humectant/Moisturizing Herbs

Etude Soon Jung Cica Relief Toner

One of the Best Korean Centella Asiatica Toners - Etude Soon Jung pH 5.5 Toner Review
Etude Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner by Alyssa Tan for Garden of Muses.
*Affiliate links below

I love the Etude Soon Jung line, and I’ve been using this toner since I started looking after my skin without even knowing it contains Centella!

At first, I was unsure about using an Etude skincare product in my skincare routine because I felt that Etude is heavily marketed towards younger women and teenagers (especially their makeup). But I am glad I considered the Soon Jung line because this toner has been great for my acne-prone skin.

Etude Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner toner contains Madecassoside, one of the main active compounds found in the plant extract of Centella Asiatica. It also has panthenol, a compound closely related to vitamin B5, which delivers deep hydration to the skin throughout the day.

It is one of the superior cica toners suitable for all skin types! To top it all off, it’s also affordable. I love this toner’s minimal ingredient list and its unscented content. When I’m breaking out quite badly, this is only one of the few products I continue to use while my skin is recovering.

I also love the look of the packaging, not that this should determine which product you choose. I love keeping it in the fridge for an extra-cooling and soothing effect.

Etude Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Betaine, Panthenol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Polyglycerin-3, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Madecassoside, Butylene Glycol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Tocopherol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.

Ingredients are referred from the Etude website.

Active Humectant/Moisturizing Herbs

Jumiso Super Soothing Cica and Aloe Essence Toner

Jumiso Super Soothing Cica and Aloe Essence Toner Review
Adela Wong for Garden of Muses.*Affiliate links below.

Jumiso Super Soothing Cica and Aloe Essence Toner has a watery viscous consistency that feels very lightweight but has enough slip before it gets fully absorbed. I love how refreshing it feels and how it hydrates my skin instantly. It layers beautifully, and it doesn’t feel sticky or heavy at all. It has a cooling effect if you’re looking to mask.

Besides Centella Asiatica, this soothing toner contains Asiaticoside, Madecassoside, Aloe Vera, and over a dozen humectants. Also, read Adela’s Jumiso Super Soothing Cica and Aloe Essence Toner full review.

Jumiso Super Soothing Cica and Aloe Essence Toner Ingredients List ( last checked 2024)

Mineral Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Methylpropanediol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Raspberry Ketone, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Madecassoside, Asiaticoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Benzyl Glycol, Erythritol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Polyglucuronic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Panthenol, Allantoin, Pantolactone, Xanthan Gum, 1,2-Hexanediol, Hydroxyacetophenone, Disodium EDTA.

Ingredients referred from the Jumiso official website.

Humectant/Moisturizing Active Herb Brightening

Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad

Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad
Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad by Alyssa Tan for Garden of Muses. *Affiliate links below.

The Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad are exfoliating pads soaked in a skin-soothing formula with Centella Asiatica and Hyaluronic Acid. This formula reduces redness, calms inflammation, and helps strengthen the skin barrier. They have a pH of 5.83 (Yesss!) and are gentle enough for daily use. Each jar has 90 pads, which is more than the usual.

My skin could already tell me how gentle these pads are without looking at the ingredients list. We’re all familiar with how amazing Centella Asiatica is, but these pads have more than that. Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, and Madecassoside are all components extracted from Centella Asiatica. These ingredients are gold! They increase collagen production, soothe and hydrate the skin, heal damaged skin, and calm sensitive skin. I also get an extra boost of moisture thanks to ceramides!

The exfoliating ingredients in these pads are Lactobionic Acid and Gluconolactone. These are types of PHA (Poly Hydroxy Acid), which is similar to AHA, but much safer and gentler on the skin. They don’t penetrate the skin as deep so exfoliation is kept at the surface level.

To be honest, I was not a fan of the original Neogen pads. I got samples of them, but found the pads too rough for my skin. These pads are nothing like that! Just the other day I was telling my friend that they felt kind of like the backside of dental bibs. 😀 They’re soft and quite smooth, and both sides have the same texture.

Sometimes when I exfoliate, my skin reacts immediately and it turns angry red. Sometimes I’ll even experience stinging and burning if it’s a bad day. The first time I used these pads, I felt nothing. And that’s nothing in a good way! No stinging, burning, itching, etc. The only thing I felt after was hydration. You know what’s even better? My face was not red.  Any traces of peeling were gone, sebaceus filaments were not visible, and my face was just smooth. I don’t know how it gets any better than this. I feel kind of bad now because I think I’ve been torturing my skin all this time when I thought I was giving it TLC. Um… oops. Although I can use these daily without irritation, I still give my skin a break, and it’s been working!

I am totally won over by the Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pads! Their quality and effectiveness really impressed me, and I highly recommend trying them if you have sensitive skin.


  • Gentle
  • Effective
  • Non-irritating


  • Contains Bergamot essential oil, which is a possible con for some

Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Madecassoside, Lactobionic Acid, Gluconolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Octyldodecanol, Ceramide Np (Ceramide 3), Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Allantoin, Betaine, Panthenol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Propanediol, Diglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Disodium Edta

Humectant/Moisturizing Active Herb Brightening Essential Oil

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica 100 Ampoule

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule Review
SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica 100 Ampoule by Alyssa Tan for Garden of Muses. *Affiliate links below

This Centella product comes as an ampoule. Sometimes, we must look past all the other big-name brands and see what lesser-known ones offer!

So, how did this shy little ampoule come out on top? It’s down to its ingredient list, which contains 100% Centella Asiatica extract!!

Skin1004’s Centella ampoule contains only Centella Asiatica extract with three active compounds: Asiaticoside, Asiatic acid, and Madecassic acid, making it an excellent choice for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

The Centella Asiatica plant is harvested in Madagascar (hence the product’s name). It is then processed in Korea, where a low temperature is extracted. The extract is then put through a tiny microfilter and bottled. The resulting chemical composition of the Madagascar Centella Asiatica Ampoule is as follows:

  • 40% Madecassic Acid – soothing, reduces hyperpigmentation, acne, and acne scarring;
  • 30% Asiatic Acid – skin barrier strengthening, calming for sensitive spots, antioxidant, and improves skin elasticity;
  • 30% Asiaticoside – oil-water balancing, stimulates collagen production, anti-aging.

The great thing about this being such a lightweight serum is that it is fantastic for layering, and it can be added to your moisturizer or other creams and applied that way. Also, for the 100ml you get, it’s one of the most affordable products I have tried.

It is suitable for all skin types and would be great for very sensitive skin since it contains no other ingredients.

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica 100 Ampoule Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Centella Asiatica Extract (100%)

Ingredients are referred from the SKIN1004 website.

A’pieu Madecassoside Cream 2X

Apieu Madecassoside cream 2x Review
A’PIEU Madecassoside Cream 2X by Alyssa Tan for Garden of Muses. *Affiliate links below

I came across this product a lot when researching for this post. It is a popular choice for people looking for a Centella product and has excellent reviews. The brand A’Pieu has a whole line of Madecassoside products. However, I chose this cream because it seems the most popular.

A’PIEU Madecassoside Cream 2X is a moisturizing cream, not a spot-treatment cream. It contains 40% Centella Asiatica leaf water and 0.1% Madecassoside. It also contains Panthenol, witch hazel extract for extra hydration, and niacinamide for skin-brightening.

Therefore, the A’pieu Madecassoside Cream is excellent for all skin types unless you are sensitive to essential oils. It is also a perfect choice for a lightweight moisturizer for oily skin. Dry skin types might need to add a sleeping mask on top of this one.

Also, this cream is a good choice if you’re looking at fading hyperpigmentation, as it contains niacinamide.

A’PIEU Madecassoside Cream 2X Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Propanediol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sodium Chloride, Hydroxyacetophenone, Madecassoside, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Adenosine, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Disodium EDTA, Asiaticoside, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Juniperus Mexicana Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Madecassic Acid, Asiatic Acid, Centella Asiatica Extract, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol.

Ingredients are referred from the A’PIEU website.

Active Humectant/Moisturizing Herbs

Final Thoughts

Centella is fast becoming one of the most popular ingredients in Korean skincare products, especially those aimed at sensitive and acne-prone skin, due to its ability to soothe and calm red and inflamed skin.

But, with so many Centella skincare products, it can take time and effort to decide which product to purchase. My hours (I mean days) of researching Centella and comparing popular Korean Centella products can help you find the right product.

I chose Soon Jung toner for Centella in my skincare routine! However, I wanted to add more Centella into my routine. In that case, I would try the SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica 100 Ampoule due to its unique formulation of 100% Centella Asiatica extract.

Show Me Proof

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