Pregnancy can bring about so many, more or less noticeable, bodily changes. Unfortunately, skin concerns are not uncommon during these expecting months.
The causes of pregnancy-related skin problems vary from hormonal changes, worsening pre-existing conditions, or the appearance of new dermatoses1.
Pregnant women can develop different skin problems, but some of the most common are stretch marks (also known as striae gravidarum), hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and dry skin.
Since pregnancy is a sensitive period, you may be worried about the safety of your skincare products in general, but especially about the skin treatments.
That is why you will probably think of the alternative, natural treatments, which will bring you to – Centella asiatica.
Centella asiatica extract is one of the most popular ingredients in the Korean skincare routine. And it is nothing shocking, as this ingredient has great properties, especially in keeping skin hydrated, but also soothing your skin, improving your skin tone, and much more.
Plus – Centella asiatica has been studied among pregnant women, so its safety in this vulnerable group has already been tested. Make sure you read this article carefully, to learn how to use it safely!
What Is Centella Asiatica?
Centella asiatica is a medicinal plant used for various types of health concerns, including skin conditions. Centella asiatica is a tropical plant with purple flowers and tobacco-like aroma, used for centuries.
Initially, it was a part of alternative medicine treatments, but due to its benefits, it is nowadays used in modern medicine, too.
In fact, dermatologists suggest using Centella asiatica extract to treat some skin issues, but also recommend it to improve hydration and to keep your skin healthy, by maintaining the skin’s natural barrier, reducing damage.
As part of the skincare routine, it will surely help you achieve proper hydration, a more even skin tone, improve skin texture – and leave you with glowing clear skin. But the story doesn’t end there.
It will help with certain skin conditions. For example, it can treat stretch marks! Keep reading to find out how.
Other Names Of Centella Asiatica
Centella asiatica is also known as Gotu Kola, Asiatic, or Indian pennywort, simply pennywort, or marsh penny.
Who Should Use Centella Asiatica
- Wounds, burns, scars
In several medical studies, Centella asiatica has been shown to be effective in treating wounds, burns, and postoperative hypertrophic scars.
Asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside, the components of Centella asiatica contribute to wound healing, making Centella asiatica extract a great part of the topical treatments, making the wound smaller, too.
Furthermore, the terpenoids (TTF) may increase the percentage of collagen and stimulate scar maturation, also having anti-inflammatory properties2.
- Dry skin and sensitive skin issues
This magical extract can help keep your skin hydrated, and it has been shown to help improve skin moisture levels, which, in turn, helps reduce dryness and improves the overall appearance of the skin, improving skin elasticity and firmness. You can combine it with other skin care ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, to achieve better results.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and soothing properties, it can help you deal with irritated skin and various skin diseases, and reduce redness and inflammation on your skin. This can be particularly helpful for those of you with skin.
- Fine lines, wrinkles and signs of aging
Centella asiatica has anti-aging and protective antioxidant benefits for your skin, especially thanks to phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Both of these help reduce the damage that pro-aging external agents, like UV rays and pollution, can do to your skin.
This magical compound has been shown to stimulate collagen production3, which may improve skin texture and firmness – and reduce signs of aging and the appearance of boring fine lines and wrinkles.
Generally, Centella asiatica contributes to improved blood circulation and promotes the growth of new skin cells, leading to a more even skin tone and smoother texture.
By the way, ampoules
- Stretch marks & cellulite
Centella asiatica has proven benefits in wound healing and by promoting fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis, it helps you deal with stretch marks. Studies have also shown it has benefits in reducing cellulite6.
- Hair loss
Centella Asiatica has been shown to promote hair growth by improving blood circulation to the scalp, widening the blood vessels that supply the scalp with blood – and stimulating the growth of new hair follicles.
While it is not officially recognized as an anti-acne ingredient, it does have soothing properties that may complement acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, zinc oxide, and benzoyl peroxide.
This way it help to keep your skin calm and visibly reduces redness and inflammation related to acne (don’t forget its anti-inflammatory properties!)
- Prevention from sun damage
As it prevents the negative effects of the sun on your skin, it is a great addition to your sun protection regime, being able to replace chemical sunscreens.
If you are looking for a skin-friendly physical sunscreen, opt for the one containing Centella asiatica extract and hyaluronic acid, too, as these two ingredients will also replenish moisture to your skin, and prevent water loss which is inevitable with sun exposure.
Who Should NOT Use Centella Asiatica
There is a difference between oral and topical use. In the case of topical treatments, you can use it for up to 10 weeks, as it may cause some itchiness and redness afterward.
First of all, you should avoid using it if you are allergic to it – logic. If you experience any signs of allergic reactions – immediately stop using it.
While the studies suggest it’s safe for pregnant women, when applied topically, you should always consult your gynecologist before its use during pregnancy.
On the other side, there isn’t enough reliable evidence on the safety of Centella asiatica taken orally when pregnant. Likewise, there is not enough scientific evidence to estimate if it’s safe to use when breastfeeding.
Also, if you are suffering from liver diseases, you should avoid Centella asiatica, as it can cause liver toxicity in some cases – especially if you already have a damaged liver.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Centella, for would healing and acne, you may want to try niacinamide, which is pregnancy-safe (here’s my comparison of these two ingredients). The only difference is that niacinamide won’t reduce stretch marks.
Is Cica Safe During Pregnancy?
Safety of skincare products during pregnancy is always worrisome for moms-to-be. Many women seek natural solutions and alternatives to regular (chemicals) skincare ingredients. That is why they sometimes seek Centella asiatica extract.
But, is it safe to use during pregnancy?
According to scientific research – yes, Cica (Centella asiatica) is safe during pregnancy.
Studies have revealed that the topical use of the cream containing Centella asiatica, rosehip oil, and vitamin E, as well as a few other natural ingredients, has been reported to prevent the development and reduce the intensity of stretch marks, while being safe, with no associated harmful effects on the developing fetus or cause birth defects7.
Generally, Centella asiatica extract is considered safe when applied topically, in recommended doses. However, there is not enough relevant research on its safety when taken by mouth during pregnancy.
Centella Asiatica Benefits For Skin During Pregnancy
Skin changes in a pregnant woman can be quite unpleasant. Therefore, you can benefit from Centella asiatica extract if you have stretch marks, suffer from skin dryness or hair loss, worsening existing skin issues, like acne, eczema, or others, cellulite, and much more.
Namely, Centella asiatica is known for its hydrating properties – it can be an alternative to hyaluronic acid.
Additionally, it promotes collagen production, being a great prevention and treatment of stretch marks, one of the most common skin concerns in pregnancy.
Also, dry skin is a very common concern for new moms. Adding Centella to your skin care can make a great difference.
If you have issues with sebum production, in terms of oily skin and acne, you can add topical Centella asiatica extract to your skin care, as an alternative to regular (chemical) skincare ingredients.
Centella Asiatica Benefits For Hair During Pregnancy
Due to hormonal changes, you may also start losing hair – that is where the Centella asiatica extract jumps in – being a great ingredient that promotes hair growth8.
As mentioned above, it can increase blood flow to the scalp, supporting hair growth. You will probably need this postpartum.
Using Centella Asiatica For Pregnancy Stretch Marks – Is It Effective?
It is not just guessing- research revealed that Centella asiatica can help you with striae. The results of one study showed that the Centella asiatica cream can prevent the appearance of new stretch marks, and halt the progression of those already present.
Furthermore, in pregnant women with no stretchmarks at the baseline, the use of the cream was more effective than placebo in preventing new striae9.
There was also one review article on the efficacy of Centella asiatica in treating and preventing stretch marks. Two studies involved 130 women in total.
The first study of this review article included 80 women and compared the massage with a cream containing Centella asiatica extract and a cream containing a placebo. The group with Centella asiatica cream developed fewer stretch marks10.
Therefore, Centella asiatica can be effective in treating – and preventing striae, and it is non-toxic!
Is Centella Asiatica Safe For Breastfeeding?
There is actually not enough relevant scientific evidence of its safety in breastfeeding women.
However, according to what it contains, it should not be unsafe, especially if we consider the fact its topical use is safe during pregnancy.
Centella asiatica contains triterpene saponins, tannins, phytosterols and essential oils.
Because of a low systemic absorption through skin, topical use is believed to be compatible with lactation. Make sure you don’t use it on the breast directly, or clean it thoroughly to avoid ingestion by the infant.
To stay on the safe side, consult with your OB-GYN and/or doctor if you can continue to use your Centella skincare products during breastfeeding.
Avoid oral administration11.
Centella Asiatica & Pregnancy – FAQ
As with probably all other things about pregnancy, there are so many questions and worries. To relieve your stress, we will answer some of the most frequent questions about using Centella asiatica during pregnancy.
Is Centella Ampoule Safe During Pregnancy?
If Centella asiatica is the only ingredient in the ampoule – yes. In case the ampoule contains other ingredients, I would recommend you check other ingredients first.
Is Centella Skin 1004 Safe During Pregnancy?
Safety profile depends on several things – including the product itself, and other ingredients.
As for the cream, be aware that it contains licorice which is not safe for oral use during pregnancy. However, there is no evidence that the topical use of licorice in skincare products is unsafe for pregnant women.
Other 1004 products, including Cica foam cleanser or toner, contain other chemicals (like disodium EDTA) that are not recommended to use during pregnancy.
What Percentage Of Centella Asiatica Is Best?
If you are using Centella asiatica skincare products, it would be the best if it’s pure Centella asiatica – meaning 100% of Centella asiatica.
What Skincare Ingredients To Avoid While Pregnant?
- High doses of salicylic acid
- Some essential oils (especially in first trimester)
- Chemical peels
- Chemical sunscreens
- Disodium & tetrasodium EDTA
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS & SLES)
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
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