What is "CICA" skin care? Origin and active ingredients

  • January 4, 2021
  • 7 minutes of read time

What is "CICA" skin care? Origin and active ingredients

Translated and amended by Bettina Barlog

Sensitive skin manifests itself in redness, irritation or rashes, an itchy or dry feeling...etc. due to an undesirable change in the skin barrier and excessive production of inflammatory mediators. These symptoms are easily aggravated by endogenous and exogenous factors that occur daily: temperature changes, stress, pollution, diet, fatigue, sun exposure, etc. Beyond these clinical signs, however, this sensitivity can be more insidious, leading to a constant feeling of discomfort, premature ageing of the skin and even a loss of self-confidence. Often underestimated, this physiology is taking the world by storm.

Today, a growing number of consumers perceive their skin to be sensitive and products designed for them are gaining traction. In 2016, a study conducted by Mintel in the UK showed that nearly one-third of consumers aged 16-24 experienced skin irritation. In 2017, an NPD study conducted in the United States found that up to 48% of American women who use facials report having sensitive skin (up from 44% in 2015) and are actively seeking products that are gentle, safe and effective. Finally, according to Mintel, 23% of skincare products launched in South Korea between January and October 2017 were formulated for sensitive skin, compared to only 11% in 2014.

Fortunately, finding ways to soothe sensitive skin has long been a real priority. Across cultures, traditional ancient medical wisdom shows how to treat a variety of skin problems and soothe the most sensitive skin. Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, describes Pitta skin as a skin type very similar to our idea of sensitive skin. The tradition recommends the use of balms made from herbs and plants such as aloe vera or centella asiatica - commonly known as Asian pennywort or tigergras - to soothe and heal wounds.

Inspired by this ancient use of Centella asiatica, a new type of facial care is emerging with the aim of soothing sensitive skin: cica creams. On the rise since 2016, these products initially targeted irritated skin by strengthening the skin barrier and hydrating the skin. They contain a high concentration of Centella asiatica, from which the name was inspired: C for Centella and -ica from asiatica. In addition, the word Cica refers to certain skin creams used in the West, such as Cicabiafine® and Cicalfate™. The use of this prefix denotes gentle products that have healing properties. Cica creams therefore offer a solution for people with sensitive skin who are looking for safe and effective products thanks to their natural and dermo-cosmetic inspiration. Today, the Cica concept is gaining more and more acceptance. These products not only enable the regeneration of damaged skin and the strengthening or protection of damaged skin, they also combat the wrinkles associated with mature skin. In addition, creams can be quickly developed into new textures - such as serums, toners, face masks, cleansers, cushions, etc. -   well as be developed into products for the body and hands.

Seppic has a portfolio of active ingredients based on Centella asiatica that specifically address different skin needs and offers innovative formulas for the most sensitive skin types. 

Comprehensive expertise on Centella asiatica from Madagascar

Seventy years ago, thanks to its know-how in the field of botanical extraction, Seppic developed an expertise in the active ingredients extracted from Centella asiatica from Madagascar, which are rich in triterpene molecules, stable in composition and highly purified.

Wild Centella Asiatica Wild Centella Asiatica

1. TECA™, the regenerative cure for damaged skin

The skin is considered our first line of defence. Every day it is attacked and damaged and needs time to regenerate. TECA™, Titrated Extract of Centella Asiatica, is a highly purified active ingredient (95%) consisting of the most powerful molecules (INCI : Asiaticoside - Madecassic Acid - Asiatic Acid) of this plant. TECA accelerates the healing process of the skin on damaged skin and works to restore its integrity. A new 0.2% in vivo study shows that skin recovers faster after laser surgery when TECA is used: Inflammation in the epidermis ends 10 days earlier with TECA compared to placebo, and at D4, dermis density regeneration vs. D0 is 60% better with TECA. At D14 vs. D0, dermis density recovery is back to normal with TECA, which is not the case with placebo.

This dermo-repair active ingredient is excellent for the face and body and for improving the appearance of stretch marks.

2. MADECASSOSIDE, the break for sensitive skin

Sensitive skin suffers daily and this can affect confidence, mood and self-esteem. MADECASSOSIDE is a powerful active ingredient that is highly purified (95%). It has been tested in vivo at 0.2% and offers a moment of relief for sensitive skin thanks to its anti-itching (-25%), anti-redness (-70%) and anti-dandruff (-48%) properties.

3. TALADVANCE™, a radiant complexion even for the most damaged skin.

In the face of temperatures and other external aggressions, the production of epidermal cells can become deregulated. This can lead to an excessive number of cells, which in turn results in rough, dry skin. The skin looks dull and tired. TALADVANCE™ is a natural extract (Cosmos certified), rich in triterpenes and polyphenols (INCI : Glycerin - Aqua/Water - Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract), which ensures that the skin is protected, balanced and permanently radiant. After evaluation by a trained jury and compared to a placebo formulation, TALADVANCE™ 5% was shown to leave the skin looking significantly fresher (+35%), more even-toned (+9%) and more radiant (+58%) just 30 minutes after application.

4. HETEROSIDES, which assist mature skin.

With age, the skin loses its integrity: metabolism slows down and the skin barrier is no longer properly maintained. The skin begins to dehydrate, sag and wrinkle. HETEROSIDES (INCI: Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract) is a multi-targeting active ingredient that strengthens the skin barrier. Tested in vivo against a placebo, it retains moisture (TEWL reduction: -8% in 28 days) for a visibly smooth (-36% in 28 days) and wrinkle-free (-19% in 56 days) result.

Cica formulations: sophisticated & innovative

Products for sensitive skin must meet certain formulation requirements in addition to the active ingredients. Especially since the cica concept is so popular that galenics are already multiplying (e.g. serums, cleansing gels) and expanding to other categories (e.g. body care). SEPPIC offers "super ingredients" that respect sensitive skin while providing innovative and soothing textures and galenics.

1. formulation requirements: safety, emotion and efficiency


SEPINOV™ WEO (INCI : Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer) and MONTANOV™ 202 (INCI : Arachidyl Alcohol & Behenyl Alcohol & Arachidyl Glucoside) are multifunctional ingredients that are well tolerated at low concentrations while providing stable formulas that feel good to the touch. Our EMOGREEN™ range are high purity alkane emollients, plant derived cosmos cotified and readily biodegradable. 

Emotion and perception

MONTANOV™ 202 is a 100% natural non-ionic O/W emulsifier. It is certified by Cosmos, Natrue and Ecocert. This liquid crystal promoter, which biomimetically replicates the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane, enables ultra-white texture formulas, from thick lotions to liquid creams. It provides a light and soft texture and is also known for its moisturising properties and restructuring effect (reduction of TEWL). SEPINOV™ WEO also plays a texturising role, providing a satin freshness that is very pleasant to apply. EMOGREEN™ emollients provide a refreshing and gliding experience with a soft skin feel.


SEPINOV™ WEO is an ideal powder polymer for building "chassis" formulas and challenging stressful and difficult actives.

Requirements for the formula for sensitive skin Requirements for the formula for sensitive skin

2. formula inspiration: creams and other galenics

Cream inspiration

"AS40140 Clean Moisture Lotion" gives your skin a soft and silky touch! A wonderful combination of moisturising (MONTANOV™ L + AQUAXYL™) and soothing (MADECASSOSIDE) ingredients to respect the skin and its well-being. SEPINOV™ WEO in combination with SOLAGUM™ AX thickens and stabilises the lotion.

Discover our mild soothing

lotion AS40140

Clean Moisture Lotion

Serum inspiration

"EU07535B INSTA-AGING FLUID SERUM" is a lightweight & fresh serum that combines instant action & long-lasting benefits for "selfie-ready" skin! 

For instant effect, the serum contains TALADVANCE™, a Centella asiatica extract that improves skin radiance within 30 minutes, and SEPIFINE™ BB, which provides an instant mattifying effect and EMOGREEN™ L15, which contributes to a light, volatile & powdery skin feel. This cream-gel texture is thickened and stabilised by SEPINOV™ WEO. A small amount of ORAMIX™ CG 110 reinforces the stability of the formula.

Get  "selfie-ready" with EU07535B INSTA-AGING FLUID SERUM


STICK- Inspiration

"US20105 Cica stick" is a nomadic & practical stick that accompanies you all day to soothe local skin irritations! TECA™, the legendary blend of active ingredients from Centella asiatica, restores & soothes the integrity of the skin. It is combined here with CERAMOSIDES™ HP, a natural active ingredient with a high concentration of OMEGA (3,6,9), which provides immediate and lasting hydration to the skin. EMOGREEN™ L19 brings a gliding effect on the skin and leaves a soft & powdery afterfeel and MONTANOV™ 202 & LANOL P contribute to the stability of the stick.

Soothe local skin irritations with US20105 Cica stick


Inspired by Ayurvedic tradition, Cica creams are a remedy for today's sensitive skin. SEPPIC offers a solution for the development of these products with different active ingredients from Centella asiatica, while supporting innovative formulations that respect sensitive skin.