Exclusive interview

Cica cream: The latest craze from South Korea

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Cica cream: The latest craze from South Korea
Sensitive skin care concerns are on the rise, so we caught up with Laurie Du, Senior Beauty & Personal Care Analyst, China, at Mintel to find out how cica creams are providing a sensitive solution.

Cica creams are often thought to only appeal to sensitive skin care cream wearers, but “the term sensitive has a broad definition, and it is not limited to just skin type”​, revealed Laurie Du, Senior Beauty & Personal Care Analyst, China, at Mintel.

Its unique appeal

“It’s been closely related to any skin conditions that are a result of pollution, external aggression, seasonal change, or stressful urban lifestyles.”

Commenting on its wide appeal, Du added: “Therefore, the cica cream can be perceived as an item or new subcategory applicable to a wide audience who are in need of a variety of products to treat different conditions, or very simply a basic, daily skin care item that’ll protect against external aggression.”

Hydration is key

The K-beauty cosmetics phenomenon is typified by hydration in textures, formats and packaging claims.

Consumers are increasingly seeking skin care items that contain labelling with ‘soothing’ as a sought-after benefit. These appeal to beauty buyers who have sensitive skin and who are looking for pollutant, stress and chemical protective choices.

International research company Mintel's Global New Products Database​ has found 23% of skin care products entering the market in South Korea between January and October 2017 were conceptualised ‘for sensitive skin’. This has grown from 11% in 2014.

Safety is paramount

Described as the hero product for new skin care launches​, Cica creams represent safety and gentleness that can “relieve irritated skin, strengthen the skin barrier and gently moisturise”.

The main ingredient of Cica cream is Centella asiatica, a traditional herbal ointment. As brands increasingly develop and vary their offerings, companies are now adding ingredients such as probiotics to their product launches. Firms are also creating alternatives to Centella asiatica (i.e. azulene chamomile).

Emphasising what makes cica cream special, Du enthused: “It has a safe image, and features a protection or repair function that’s supported by hero botanical ingredient centalla asiatica.”

Product launches

Some of these new product launches include Dr Jart+’s Cicapair Serum, a light green, transparent serum with a very light skin finish, or Clio’s Dematory Hypoallergenic Cica Gel Cream which emphasises the use of Azulene in addition to centalla asiatica. Clio’s cica gel cream comes out as a light purple, translucent gel cream, Du highlighted.

The evolution of cica creams

“During the beginnings of cica creams, most launches came in a white, light yellowish balm, ointment or cream texture,”​ Du stated.

“However, as the product grew in popularity, more and more players in the market started to launch their own versions of cica creams including those that came in cream or essence formats. They do this in a bid to stand out in the cica cream market,”​ Du went on to say.

Along with tackling environmental issues such as anti-ageing and anti-pollution, the key benefits of cica cream include the “soothing, protection and strengthening of skin barriers—commonly seen in the skincare industry”.

Looking ahead to the new age of cica creams, soon-to-be-unveiled releases will feature innovative textures and forums that not only appear in creams but feature in serums, toners and facial masks, along with complexion-aiding products including tone-up creams, cushion compacts and foundations.

As for its development potential in other APAC regions, “at this moment, most of the launches are still from South Korean beauty brands”​, Du concluded.

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