Discover more from Skincare Stacy's Stack
Ingredient Lists 101: Gotu Kola
Diving into Centella asiatica, a Korean skincare favorite!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, just a cartoon deer on the internet with a background in chemistry and a hyperfixation on skin. This is not medical advice.
Popular in Korean skincare, Gotu kola is a wonderful ingredient for both skin health and anti-aging purposes.
Beautiful, no? You’ll find it commonly in skincare in the extracted form of Centella asiatica.
Today, we’ll review what I think are the coolest properties of Gotu kola:
We’ll also discuss how I would use Centella asiatica in my skin routine and how to formulate a great product with it.
Gota kula can be broken down to a number of cool chemicals.
Among those are triterpenes like oleanolic and ursolic acids:
These acids don’t function like the exfoliating acids you commonly see me discussing for anti-aging purposes.
Instead, they scavenge free radicals - basically binding to oxygen and reducing the otherwise subsequent oxidative stress it would put on your skin.
This, in turn, decreases opportunity for the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Pretty cool, huh?
Centella asiatica also contains saponins in addition to terpenes (and a whole host of other components).
Saponins exhibit anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Basically, when we say that something is inflammatory, we’re saying that it’s upregulating cytokine activity which comes with a myriad of health issues.
In terms of skin, inflammation presents as redness or “blotchiness”.
Thus, products formulated with Centella asiatica will soothe an uneven complexion.
Centella asiatica improves skin hydration.
Basically, this ability goes back to the presence of saponins in the plant’s composition that we discussed earlier.
Saponins contain sugar chains that bind to environmental water.
In turn, this improves the stratum corneum’s ability to hold onto water.
Centella asiatica also decreases rates of transepidermal water loss (aka the “evaporation” of water from the skin).
Aaaand what do I always say?
Hydrated skin is happy skin!
Keeping your skin hydrated is essential to maintaining the integrity of your skin barrier.
The better you can protect your skin barrier, the better you will age.
If you’re dealing with inflammation, hyperpigmentation, development of fine lines/wrinkles, or rosacea, choosing a product formulated with 2.5-8% Centella asiatica is a good move.
Ideally, I’d like to see it around 5% as studies show that is where efficacy is maximized.
Other than just “Centella asiatica extract”, you can spot this compound in products if the following are present in an ingredient list:
In fact, I’d actually prefer to see these compounds listed out over the extract as that will ensure you’re getting the correct active ingredients.
I suggest you look for it in a leave-on product like a serum or moisturizer rather than a wash-off product if you’re going to leverage Centella asiatica in your routine.
I’m not familiar with any good formulas with this extract that I think are worth the price at this time.
If you use any, drop it in the comments so I can take a look!
That’s all for now! Happy skincare!
Note: you can now book consultations with me! Check it out here or DM me on Twitter to book with ETH