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Is Centella Asiatica Safe for Pregnancy?

by Yu-Jun Park 07 Mar 2024

Alright, let's talk green! 

In the ever-evolving world of beauty and skincare, you've probably come across the darling of the K beauty scene – centella asiatica (or cica, as you might have heard it called). 

And as an empowered mama-to-be, you’re here to find out whether this skincare wizard has a place on your dressing table during pregnancy. 

Stay tuned while we unravel this skincare mystery together.

Can you use centella if you're pregnant?

Ah, the wonders of impending motherhood! 

Along with the anticipation of your future bundle of joy, there's also the great responsibility of taking exceptional care of your changing body, inside and out. 

Pregnancy is no less than a physiological revolution, demanding every bit of your attentiveness when it comes to what goes in and on your body.

Your skincare regimen might feel like it’s on a rollercoaster ride, along with everything else in your life. 

All those ingredients on the back of your products become a puzzling maze, making you wonder if that serum, packed with centella asiatica, is safe to use right now. 

Also called 'tiger grass,' this particular ingredient is a superstar in numerous K-Beauty offerings, loved for its potent skin-nourishing properties.

So on that note, let’s chat centella! 

This herbaceous perennial plant absorbs nutrients from the fertile soil in Asian wetlands, transforming them into a veritable feast of skin-friendly goodness: antioxidants, amino acids, and fatty acids. 

It has a storied fame for rejuvenating skin, promoting collagen production, and accelerating wound healing. Skincare aficionados rave about its ability to calm inflammation and erase blemishes, a wonder-herb that seems almost too good to be true.

But what happens when you mix centella asiatica with pregnancy? 

Can you and your mini-you indulge in its skin-loving benefits without concern?

The answer lies in understanding how it interacts with our body. 

Not all skincare ingredients interact with the skin in the same way. Some have large molecules, like hyaluronic acid, which sit on the surface of the skin and act as a barrier. 

Others, like vitamin A derivatives, can infiltrate further, potentially interacting with blood vessels and other bodily systems.

So where does cica fall on this spectrum? 

When applied topically, it's generally categorized as a 'surface dweller', not likely to penetrate beyond the skin's initial barrier.

So, is it safe for mama and the bump? Clinical and scientific literature leans towards yes when it comes to topical application — as long as you're not allergic or sensitive to it.

It's crucial to remember, the science of skincare is a vast and ever-evolving field. Even if a particular ingredient seems to have a solid safety profile, everyone's skin, body, and pregnancy is unique. 

It's not unusual for pregnancy hormones to turn your skin into a reactionary diva, contradicting what it used to love before you got pregnant. Your once calming centella asiatica might suddenly seem irritating. 

For this reason, a thumbs-up from your doctor is invaluable. Always consult with your healthcare provider or a specialized dermatologist before incorporating new products or substances into your skincare routine during pregnancy.

In a nutshell, you can't do too much homework about what you're using on your skin at this exceptional time in your life. 

Investigate, ask questions and listen to your body's feedback. Be the discerning queen that you are for both you and your mini-me, cherishing every step of this transformative journey. 

And in terms of centella asiatica in your pregnancy skincare routine? It seems you might have just found your skin's new best friend! 

But remember, first get that all-important thumbs-up from your doctor.

Can I use centella asiatica while breastfeeding?

Now let’s delve into whether centella asiatica is a green-light-go or full-stop-no for those navigating the winding journey of breastfeeding.

A conundrum indeed! 

So let's peel back the layers of this botanical enigma and equip you with the facts.

To recap: centella asiatica, an esteemed member of the herbaceous goodie bag, has been much ballyhooed for its skin-benefitting properties. A squirt here and a pat there, it promises skin as soft as a baby's cheek. 

Speaking of babies… 

Conventional wisdom and most derma-goddesses will tell you that topical application of centella asiatica is generally considered safe for new mothers. 

The logic here is purely locational: a product applied on your skin tends to stay confined there, without engaging in an expedition around your body.

However, the plot thickens when we turn the spotlight on ingesting centella. 

Ah, the don't-go-there land of the unknown! The puzzle lies in the lack of quality studies conducted on the use of centella asiatica during lactation.

So armed with the best scientific reasoning around, let's tackle this. 

When you ingest something, the process is quite a departure from our low-profile topical application. 

The ingested substance embarks on a roller-coaster ride through your digestive system, bloodstream, and then possibly to your mammary glands. 

Here we encounter the fog of uncertainty. Without concrete research, we can't definitively say whether any components of the ingested centella asiatica could make the grand leap into your milk.

In the absence of solid intel, we are ushered into the fall-back protocol: tread carefully.

Now, we aren't waving red flags and sounding alarm bells here, but it might be best for the breastfeeding brigade to err on the side of prudence when it comes to oral consumption of centella.

The simple reasoning? Without foolproof evidence to the contrary, it's best to avoid anything that might tango with the perfect balance of your breast milk.

Don't let the absence of science dampen your glow, though! Remember, as far as topical usage is concerned, you and centella asiatica can host a spa night right in the comfort of your self-care sanctuary (read: bathroom). 

Take a moment of indulgence and celebrate the earthy aroma of this miracle plant gracing your skin in peaceful, non-invasive bliss.

From this scientific deep dive, we hope you've gleaned the conscious choice you need to make. 

Perhaps, it has even ignited a newfound appreciation for the intricate circle of life that your body, as a new mother, is gracefully upholding.

Remember, when it comes to your body and your baby, you're the CEO. You decide what's best. 

The science — and the guide you’re currently reading — are here to be your trusty aides.

What herbs should be avoided during pregnancy?

A lush sprinkle of parsley here, a pinch of St. John's wort there, and voilà, your meal is ready! 

However, did you know that these seemingly harmless plant-based garnishes, bursting with health benefits, could actually spoil the party if you're expecting? 

Not to be all doom and gloom, but not all that's green and leafy falls under the halo of safety during pregnancy. 

Much like pennyroyal, which might have donned the garb of a curing herb for ages, it's time to reveal its naughty side - it can actually stimulate uterine contractions. 

Shocking, isn’t it? It's definitely a big no-no during this roller-coaster journey of pregnancy. 

Similar is the case of tansy and mugwort; so if you've been relishing these herbs in your salads, it's time to hit the pause button.

Rolling further down the botanical minefield, you might stumble upon the likes of Dong Quai and Black Cohosh, those common condiments for menstrual disorders. You would think they might be your friends during pregnancy, considering their close connections to female health. 

Alas, irony plays its card here, and these herbs should be shunned like spoilers at a film premiere!

Now comes grand old aloe vera. 

We know, we know, it's the elixir of rejuvenation, right? 

It may well be, when applied to the skin, but remember, when aloe vera is taken orally, it springs up an unpleasant surprise - diarrhea and digestive issues. What might otherwise be a harmless bathroom inconvenience is quite unwelcome during pregnancy. 

And dehydration and the subsequent nutrient imbalances are something you definitely do not want to trifle with when nurturing a new life. 

Coming in the same league is feverfew. 

Known for its champion warrior-like qualities against migraine, inflammation, and fever (well, the name clearly indicates its brave heart, doesn't it?), it’s a regular guest on many culinary tables.

 However, during pregnancy, its role suddenly shifts. 

Studies suggest that feverfew may impact your baby's heart development, introducing an unwelcome risk that isn’t worth a few less headaches. 

So, does that mean you declare war against all herbs? 

Absolutely not! 

Instead, it’s your cue to be an informed consumer and pay attention to your diet. 

Each pregnancy is unique, and what might work well for one person might not work so well for another. We firmly believe that credible guidelines — and taking into account the quirks of your own body — are the best guiding stars here.

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, filled with days of anticipation and nights brimming with dreams.

Keeping a keen eye on the culinary road, especially where herbs and spices tread, can ensure a smooth ride, steering clear of bumpy disturbances. 

As we unfurl more secrets hidden in the green foliage on your plate, remember to trust your doctor's advice above all — they know what’s good for the precious cargo you’re carrying.

Is gotu kola the same as centella asiatica?

Have you ever found yourself scratching your head and squinting at the ingredient list of your latest K-beauty loot, wondering, "Is gotu kola the same as centella asiatica?" 

Congratulations, you've uncovered the intriguing world of botanical nomenclature!

Say what now?

Simple version: How plants are named. 

In reality, gotu kola and centella asiatica are botanical alter-egos. 

That's right; they're the same verdant power player making waves in the realm of Korean skincare. 

The plant in question dons different monikers, proving its versatile nature even outside its numerous benefits for our skin. 

It’s like an A-list celebrity in the world of skincare, with an alias on standby for covert-ops. Wink wink!

Understanding this charmingly complex world of plant names will elevate your K-beauty game. You'll have the upper hand during your investing-in-myself skincare shopping spree. 

Recognizing that gotu kola and centella asiatica are the same thing will empower you with a refined comprehension of what's actually in your skincare arsenal. 

Knowledge, my dear, is not only power but also the key to owning your fabulousness!

This green marvel is not only beneficial for your transformation into the glowing oracle of motherhood but is also an excellent companion during your unique (and yes, unpredictable) pregnancy journey. 

Fostering a routine that suits your individuality, your current cravings (pickles and ice cream, anyone?) and also nourishing your skin - now that’s what we call quintessential Mom Power!

Remember, while you're at it, nurturing a tiny miracle inside you, you're also shaping a brand new version of yourself - confident, radiant, and versatile — like centella asiatica itself. 

So, let your bump lead the way as you stride like a queen, basking in the glow of impending motherhood, one K-beauty ritual at a time.

Now onward, K-Beauty Queen! Gotu kola or centella asiatica, whatever it's named, this green gem is on your team. 

Take those baby steps or full strides, swing that brand new maternity bag, radiant mother-to-be, because you're glowing and growing in more ways than one!


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