Ferulic Acid: The Antioxidant Boost Your Skin Care Needs


Acids sometimes get a bad wrap because they may sound serious, but friendly ferulic acid has your back and is safe to use daily for most people. From anti-aging results to antioxidant properties, ferulic acid is a friend with benefits. We got insight from experts on where the antioxidant comes from, what it’s good for and how to start incorporating it into your skin-care routine, as well as some products to try.

What is ferulic acid?

Ferulic acid, formally known as hydroxycinnamic acid, is a potent plant-based antioxidant. Its most notable benefit is its ability to protect against free radical damage, but it’s also well-known for anti-aging skin benefits, says SkinCeuticals Partner Physician dermatologist Sarah Boyce Sawyer, MD. It’s naturally found in plants including oats, citrus and apple seeds.

It boosts other antioxidants

Ferulic acid is often found in the mix with fellow antioxidants because it can boost the effects of these other beneficial ingredients, including vitamins A, C and E, says Dr. Sawyer. According to Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby, mixing ferulic acid with other commonly used antioxidants improves their power. She explains that “it supports the antioxidant cascade, as one antioxidant captures a free radical a little bit of free radical is present so another antioxidant can capture the smaller one.”

It can fight off free radicals

Free radicals, such as pollution, ultraviolet lights or cigarette smoke, can cause signs of aging to develop or worsen, which is why it’s important to protect your skin against them. “Ferulic acid is mainly used to fight off free radicals known for causing age-related skin concerns such as dark spots and wrinkles,” says Dr. Sawyer. In simpler terms, Dr. Allenby explains that antioxidants like ferulic acid help combat environmental damage that causes the skin to look weathered.

It helps with anti-aging

While ferulic acid can help preventatively with signs of aging by fighting against free radicals, it can also be beneficial going forward. “When added into skin-care products, it can provide visible anti-aging benefits,” says Dr. Sawyer. Some of these benefits include “reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness and dull skin.”

This all sounds great, so how can you add it to your routine?

Experts advise using ferulic acid in the morning. Dr. Allenby says she routinely uses it as part of her morning daily skin-care regimen. Dr. Sawyer says it should be one of the first steps in your skin-care routine. “This allows your skin to soak up all of the product after cleansing,” explains Sawyer. She suggests starting out with just two to three times per week usage, gradually working your way to daily use depending on your skin.

Products with ferulic acid

To get the antioxidant and anti-aging benefits of ferulic acid, you can try these expert-approved products. Dr. Allenby says she uses SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($169) daily. She notes that it’s very tolerable and has the best combination to fight daytime damage. Dr. Sawyer adds that it’s “clinically proven to reduce combined oxidative damage from free radicals. The antioxidant combination within C E Ferulic is an unparalleled industry gold standard.”

To address dark spots, try The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% ($9). Kiehl’s Ferulic Brew Facial Treatment Essence with Lactic Acid ($54) is great signs of aging, and to improve skin texture, test Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Texture Renewal Serum ($72).

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