Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: Centella Asiatica

Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: Centella Asiatica

Centella asiatica’s been in skincare for a long time, but it’s really getting its time in the spotlight at the moment. What is it and what does it do? Here’s the science behind this trendy botanical ingredient.

What is Centella asiatica?

Centella asiatica, also known as Gotu Kola and Indian pennywort, is a herb that’s been traditionally used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. In some Asian countries the leaves are used in salads and drinks. It looks like this:

Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: Centella Asiatica

What’s in Centella?

Centella asiatica contains a bunch of active ingredients known as terpenoids, which make up around 8% of the weight of the plant. The main four that have been studied for their skincare benefits are asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside. They’re sometimes included in a product alone in pure form, or in combination as “Centella asiatica extract”. The terpenoids have very similar activities.

Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: Centella Asiatica

 

Along with the terpenoids, there are also other components that have skincare benefits: antioxidants, humectant moisturisers and vitamins.

What does Centella do?

Centella is most famous for its healing properties – a lot of Centella products contain the prefix “cica-” which, as a lot of astute readers have informed me, refers to its cicatrising or healing/scar-forming abilities.

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Cleansing Make-up Remover Wipe Review: Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Burt’s Bees, Wotnot

Cleansing Make-up Remover Wipe Review: Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Wotnot

I recently tried out a whole bunch of different wipes when I got my eyebrows microbladed (review coming soon) and couldn’t wash my face for a week. I generally prefer a proper cleanse to wipes because it feels less wasteful and polluting, but I do find them handy when travelling, and in situations like these! I tried wipes from Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Wotnot Naturals and Burt’s Bees They all tested at a skin-friendly pH 4-5. Here’s what I thought of the individual products.

Cleansing Make-up Remover Wipe Review: Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Wotnot

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water is a huge hit in Australia, so there’s been a lot of buzz around their new Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes ($20.99 for a pack of 25) too.

The Sensibio line is designed for sensitive skin, and these wipes have a very short ingredients list which is good if you need to scan for your specific allergens. I thought it would be just the micellar water in wipe form, but it’s a completely separate product: the surfactant in the wipes is polysorbate 20, while the micellar water contains PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides.

I found these a bit of a mixed bag. They didn’t sting my eyes, but they were a little weak in the make-up removal department. My skin felt a bit tight after cleansing with these, but paradoxically it still felt plump and hydrated with that slightly sticky humectant feeling. The regular Micellar Water works better overall in my opinion, although these are a bit more convenient. It has a stronger fragrance than the micellar water as well.

(This is probably a good time to mention my pet hate – when people write H20 (with the number zero) instead of H2O (with the letter O). H2O is the formula for water and means 2 hydrogens + 1 oxygen, H20 is twenty hydrogens bonded together against the laws of physics. I know it’s a super petty thing to get irritated by, but I needed to get that out of my system.)

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Polysorbate 20, Pentylene Glycol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Allantoin, Cetrimonium Bromide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum).

Philosophy Purity Cleansing Cloths

Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleansing cloths ($18 AUD for a pack of 30) are notable because unlike most other wipes, they don’t contain a standard surfactant in the top ingredients – there’s solvents (butylene glycol and water), oils (meadowfoam seed oil is the main one) and gluconolactone (a PHA exfoliant).

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Gentle Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Review

Gentle Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Review

Although my skin’s not sensitive, I’ve switched to gentle cleansers to avoid irritation, which can lead to oily, dehydrated skin that’s prone to acne. Here are some gentle cleansers I’ve tried out recently.

Gentle Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Review

Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Milk

Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Milk is a watery lotion for makeup removal and cleansing, designed for sensitive skin. It works a bit like a cold cream: you apply it to a cotton pad, then wipe it over your face. If you’re removing heavy makeup, you can also massage it directly on skin then wipe it off afterwards. The key feature is that it’s surfactant-free but also cleanses very well, making it great for sensitive skin. (Surfactants are the cleansing ingredients you’ll find in most cleansing products like face washes and shampoos; although they’re great at removing dirt, they also tend to disrupt proteins in the skin and strip away too much oil.) It’s also fragrance-free and contains anti-irritant ingredients.

I was surprised by how much I liked this cleanser, since I’ve never had much luck with cleansing lotions in the past. Sensibio Cleansing Milk removes makeup effectively. It leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturised, not tight and dry, thanks to its long list of humectant ingredients. It also doesn’t sting your eyes like micellar waters can, and because it doesn’t contain any surfactants, I didn’t feel the need to do an extra wipe afterwards. The only issue I had is that it’s not amazing at taking off waterproof gel eyeliner, although the rest of my makeup was removed nicely.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Polypropylene Terephthalate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/ VP Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hydroxide

Avène Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion

Avene Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion incorporates their Sterile Cosmetics technology. Through the use of sterile manufacturing and a special self-sealing dispenser, it avoids the need for preservatives, which is fantastic if you’re allergic to them. Here’s what the self-sealing stopper looks like:

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