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Skincare FAQ

Everything You Need to Know About Asiaticoside — A Skin Savior Ingredient

Let’s delve into the skin benefits of asiaticoside.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the beauty prowess owed to Centella asiatica plant, skincare’s beloved “cica.” Used for over 20 years by popular k-beauty brands, cica products have rapidly become a staple for anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing results. Today the main compounds (triterpenes) of the plant are being used for more targeted effects, renewing dermatologists’ and skincare lines’ interest alike.

Centella asiatica is composed of four major actives responsible for the plant’s healing properties: asiaticoside, madecassoside, madecassic acid, and asiatic acid. Of these, asiaticoside is one of the most pharmaceutically active components of the plant.[1] A powerful antioxidant, asiaticoside promotes wound healing, collagen formation, and skin elasticity; reason its benefits have led to its prevalent use in products targeting aging signs and skin laxity. Let’s delve into the skin benefits of asiaticoside to see if it might be the right product for your skin.

Asiaticoside skin benefits

Healing

Asiaticoside is a powerful curer, fast-tracking wound healing and new skin growth due to its anti-inflammatory, collagen inducing, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.[2] As a matter of fact, asiaticoside is partly responsible for the antimicrobial activity of Centella asiatica, which has even been used as an antibiotic in ancient Chinese medicine.[3]

Whether you’ve suffered from fungal acne or the environmental stressors that bombard your skin, asiaticoside can help heal and protect your skin from damage. As an antioxidant, it provides free-radical protection and reduces UV-induced hyperpigmentation.[4] Meanwhile, its anti-inflammatory benefits can help calm the irritation from oxidative stress and promote skin healing.[5]

Improved circulation

If you’ve ever seen your complexion with a post-workout glow, you know the effect of boosted blood flow in the skin. Asiaticoside can help with that, too, as studies suggest asiaticoside can promote a process called angiogenesis.[2] Angiogenesis is the mechanism by which the body forms new blood vessels necessary for nourishing cells and removing toxins.

Asiaticoside uses this mechanism to improve the skin’s healing process and maintenance functions, thereby increasing oxygenation and micro-circulation.[6] Not only does this directly improve your complexion by supporting healthy blood flow, but it can also enhance the skin’s structure and support scar healing.

Skin structure 

Research shows that asiaticoside stimulates collagen production in the connective tissues, especially in damaged skin. In a study performed by the Centre for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, asiaticoside increased hydroxyproline content, the major component of collagen, and improved tensile strength in wound tissue.[7] It’s been shown in several studies to firm skin and increase the synthesis of type 1 collagen, responsible for skin elasticity and hydration.[7][8][9] So asiaticoside is just as good for anti-aging too.

Scar reduction 

While asiaticoside boosts the good collagen — the one necessary for skin integrity — it also decreases the kinds that lead to scarring. In the best of both worlds, asiaticoside only promotes healthy collagen tissue and prevents the overexpression of the types of collagen that lead to keloid and hypertrophic scars (thick raised scars).[10] Researchers have found that asiaticoside reduces scar formation and is being investigated as a potential scar treatment.[11][12]

Who asiaticoside is best for?

Due to its healing benefits, asiaticoside is suitable for most skin types and a game-changer for those with sensitive or problematic skin. Besides, if you have a dry, damaged complexion or are recovering from a chemical peel, asiaticoside is great to promote skin healing.

Asiaticoside uses

Now, let’s go over asiaticoside uses in skincare to determine how it may best suit you. 

Revitalization

In skincare, asiaticoside is often used as a conditioning agent to enhance skin appearance by providing hydration. Briefly, its role is to leave skin softer and more supple by restoring damaged tissue and providing a rich source of nutrients needed for a healthy complexion.

By stimulating blood circulation, asiaticoside also improves oxygenation of skin tissues, increases circulatory hydration, and delivers crucial nutrients for healthy cells.[7] The result is healthier skin with an enhanced repair mechanism and a more vibrant glow.

Anti-aging

Asiaticoside is also great for reinforcing the biomechanical properties of mature skin. Its ability to promote collagen synthesis and strengthen the intercellular structure of cells promotes better elasticity for a youthful complexion.

Besides, since it’s an antioxidant, asiaticoside prevents oxidative stress that leads to DNA damage.[4][5] Its circulatory effects can help reduce vascular aging, which can lead to wrinkles and fine lines.[14] This powerful combination supports complexion integrity to fight signs of aging and promotes more elastic and firmer skin.

Body firming

Collagen is important for helping retain skin structure and elasticity, but that’s not the only trick asiaticoside has up its sleeve for improving tightness and suppleness.

Asiaticoside has also been shown to synthesize glycosaminoglycans or ‘GAGs,’ polymers that help the body retain water.[15] You may be familiar with a popular GAG, hyaluronic acid, but asiaticoside stimulates many factors to enhance skin hydration. This improves skin strength while maintaining its elasticity, delivering that plump, bouncy complexion of your dreams.

So with all of the skin benefits asiaticoside provides will this be your next beauty fave? If so, take a peep at these Centella asiatica-infused products, where asiaticoside is abundant too.

References
  1. Jantwal, Arvind et al. “Centella Asiatica”. Naturally Occurring Chemicals Against Alzheimer’s Disease, 2021, pp. 257-269.  https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-819212-2.00021-9.
  2. Shukla, A et al. “Asiaticoside-induced elevation of antioxidant levels in healing wounds.” Phytotherapy research: PTR vol. 13,1 (1999): 50-4. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199902)13:1<50::AID-PTR368>3.0.CO;2-V
  3.  Alfarra, H.Y.; Omar, M.N. “Centella asiatica: From folk remedy to the medicinal biotechnology” A state revision. 2013, pp. 49-67. Int. J. Biosci. http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/3.6.49-67
  4. KWON, KU JUNG et al. “Asiaticoside, A Component Of Centella Asiatica, Inhibits Melanogenesis In B16F10 Mouse Melanoma”Molecular Medicine Reports, vol 10, no. 1, 2014, pp. 503-507. Spandidos Publications, https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2014.2159. 
  5. Wang, L., Guo, T., Guo, Y., Xu, Y. “Asiaticoside produces an antidepressant‑like effect in a chronic unpredictable mild stress model of depression in mice, involving reversion of inflammation and the PKA/pCREB/BDNF signaling pathway.” Molecular Medicine Reports 22.3 (2020): 2364-2372.
  6. PIZZORNO, JOSEPH E. MURRAY. Textbook Of Natural Medicine – 2-Volume Set. CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE INC, 2020.
  7. Shukla, Arti et al. “In vitro and in vivo wound healing activity of asiaticoside isolated from Centella asiatica.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 65 1 (1999): 1-11.
  8. Lee, Jongsung et al. “Asiaticoside Supports Collagen Production For Firmer Skin.” Nutritional Cosmetics, 2009, pp. 335-352.  https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-8155-2029-0.50024-7. 
  9. Lee, Jongsung et al. “Asiaticoside induces human collagen I synthesis through TGFbeta receptor I kinase (TbetaRI kinase)-independent Smad signaling.” Planta medica vol. 72,4 (2006): 324-8. doi:10.1055/s-2005-916227
  10. Tang, Bing et al. “Asiaticoside suppresses collagen expression and TGF-β/Smad signaling through inducing Smad7 and inhibiting TGF-βRI and TGF-βRII in keloid fibroblasts.” Archives of dermatological research vol. 303,8 (2011): 563-72.
  11. Qi, S H et al. “Effects of asiaticoside on the expression of Smad protein by normal skin fibroblasts and hypertrophic scar fibroblasts.” Clinical and experimental dermatology vol. 33,2 (2008): 171-5. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2230.2007.02636.
  12. Arno, Anna I. et al. “New Molecular Medicine-Based Scar Management Strategies“. Burns, vol 40, no. 4, 2014, pp. 539-551. Elsevier BV, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2013.11.010. 
  13. Marenus, Kenneth D. “Skin Conditioning Benefits.” Cosmetic Claims Substantiation (1997): 97.
  14. Esquirol, Y. et al. “Wrinkles And Risk Of Death (Total And Cardiovascular Mortality) In A Middle-Aged Working Population.” Archives Of Cardiovascular Diseases Supplements, vol 10, no. 1, 2018, pp. 125-126. Elsevier BV, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acvdsp.2017.11.163. 
  15. Medda, S et al. “Glycoside-bearing liposomal delivery systems against macrophage-associated disorders involving Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.” Indian journal of biochemistry & biophysics vol. 32,3 (1995): 147-51.
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