Inside The Benefits Of Ferulic Acid In Skincare

If you've never heard of ferulic acid, it's time to sit up and take notice. This compound is a powerful antioxidant, and once you realize just how good it can be for your skin, you're going to want to add it to your skincare routine immediately.

We know that there are thousands of different skincare products out there and that all of them promise to deliver some miraculous result, but ferulic acid is the real deal. "Ferulic acid is a phytochemical, (a chemical created by plants to protect them)," cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson told Ipsy. Ferulic acid works double time to protect plant cells from free radical damage, and, unsurprisingly, it can do the same for your skin. Robinson explains that its ability to neutralize free radicals keeps the skin from getting damaged by things like everyday pollution and the sun's harmful rays.

You can find ferulic acid in wheat, rice, and corn, dermatologist Sheila Farhang, M.D., told Marie Claire. And if you struggle with dull skin, Farhang assures that ferulic acid can help revive it in no time. "Not only is ferulic acid an antioxidant but it is also known to brighten dark spots and overall skin dullness thanks to its ability to inhibit the enzyme [tyrosinase which causes melanogenesis—the production of melanin]," she adds.

If your interest is officially piqued, let's discover all the benefits you'll reap once you start to incorporate ferulic acid into your skincare routine. You can thank us later.

Ferulic acid works great to turn back the clock

No matter who you are, you're probably at least mildly interested in anti-aging skincare. None of us want to have fine lines and wrinkles before our time, and the longer we can hold them at bay, the better. Ferulic acid does a great job in helping us achieve this goal thanks to its antioxidant properties.

According to Beautiful with Brains, ferulic acid is the queen of all antioxidants. Many skincare products include antioxidant compounds, but most of them only destroy one or two types of free radicals. This means you need to use a few antioxidants to ensure you're targeting all the nasties. This is where ferulic acid comes in: It kicks some serious butt and neutralizes not one but three different types of free radicals, more specifically nitric oxide, superoxide, and hydroxyl radical — impressive!

Skinkraft reports that using ferulic acid regularly can prevent premature aging and keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay, thanks to its antioxidant properties. It also works to improve elasticity so you don't deal with loose or saggy skin later in life. In fact, a 2018 study review published in Karger refers to ferulic acid as a "free radical scavenger," adding that it has the ability to keep the enzymes that aid in the production of free radicals at bay. If there ever was a bodyguard for your skin, ferulic acid is it.

Ferulic acid will make your vitamin C serum work a lot harder

What if we told you that you can maximize your favorite vitamin C serum's results? We all love the glow vitamin C provides, but adding ferulic acid can make your skin absolutely luminous. Add some vitamin E, and you'll be turning heads, according to surgeon and beauty scientist Jonquille Chantrey, M.D. (via Stylist).

Beautiful with Brains explains that antioxidants are by their very nature pretty unstable. Once they're exposed to air and light, they start to lose their potency. There's little we can do about that, but mixing vitamins C and E and ferulic acid is one way to remedy this issue. When used together, these compounds act as boosters, each enhancing the antioxidant properties of the other.

While ferulic acid plays very nicely with vitamins C and E, you should be careful of mixing it with other acids. While it's very unlikely that you'll experience irritation, other acids in skincare products can cause ferulic acid to become ineffective, which means you'll be wasting tons of product and money. Simply pay attention to the ingredients in your other skincare to avoid this mistake.

Ferulic acid can help protect your skin from the sun

Before we explore how ferulic acid can help protect your skin against the sun, we want to remind you that you should always wear sunscreen, rain or shine. It's your only defense against those harmful UV rays, and using ferulic acid won't change that. Now, according to WebMD, applying ferulic acid alongside sunscreen can help your favorite SPF to work a little harder, which is an incredibly nice perk. Studies have been conducted to confirm whether ferulic acid can effectively protect the skin from sun damage, and the results have been very positive.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology confirmed that ferulic acid can upgrade a sunscreen's original SPF. To top it off, researchers also discovered that ferulic acid can nip inflammatory reactions in the bud. "These results provided a new perspective for the development of multifunctional bioactive sunscreens using [ferulic acid] as a new platform," the study's researchers wrote. All in all, this is great news for our skin: The more we can protect it from the sun, the better, and ferulic acid can help us to do just that.

Ferulic acid works great to reduce inflammation

If you're struggling with acne, seborrheic dermatitis, or hyperpigmentation, ferulic acid can help you get your glow back — literally (via Medical News Today). A 2018 study review published in Karger, confirmed that ferulic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it might just be the hero your skin needs.

According to Software, a skincare company specializing in prescription skincare, ferulic acid will not only calm your inflamed skin and kick acne's butt, but it can also help prevent future breakouts, thanks to its ability to repel pollutants. WebMD notes that ferulic acid can also help you get rid of any leftover discoloration you have from acne breakouts. As if that wasn't already enough to make us want to add it to our carts ASAP, ferulic acid also has the ability to decrease redness. It does this by keeping new blood vessels from popping up right beneath your skin. You know what that means: no more redness and obvious veins. Hello, glow!

It brightens and smooths the skin

Looking for smooth, glowing skin that makes heads turn? Then ferulic acid is about to become your new skincare bestie. According to Skinkraft, ferulic acid is a miracle worker when it comes to renewing skin cells; this leads to skin that looks youthful with a healthy glow. If you have damaged, textured skin, ferulic acid is the perfect product to address your concerns. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, continued use will improve your skin's texture in no time.

If textured skin isn't really a concern but you're dealing with pigmentation and dark spots, ferulic acid can also work wonders. Typically, these skin issues are caused by oxidative stress that leads to blocked pores and breakouts. Ferulic acid addresses these root causes, repairing and reinforcing your skin's delicate barrier while also kicking inflammation to the curb. When you put all these benefits together, you're left with skin that is smooth and radiant.

It might be an effective treatment for melasma

If you've ever dealt with melasma, you know just how frustrating it can be. Not only is it hard to get rid of it, but many products that promise to take care of it end up not making a dent. Melasma is characterized by skin discoloration that manifests as dark brown patches. These patches typically appear on the upper lip, cheeks, forehead, and nose. Dermatologist Nava Greenfield says that the main causes of melasma are changes in hormones, especially during pregnancy, and sun exposure. This is where ferulic acid comes to the rescue.

A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology confirmed that ferulic acid combined with vitamin E protects the skin from UV rays by absorbing them. This can help to heal melasma. reports that in addition to protecting the skin from harmful UV rays, ferulic acid also acts as a shield against infrared radiation, another common culprit behind melasma. If you're dealing with this pesky skin condition, ferulic acid is your best bet to get rid of it.

Ferulic acid can be used on sensitive skin

It can be so frustrating to have sensitive skin that reacts to even the gentlest of skincare products, but experts say that ferulic acid is a real softie, and you're very unlikely to deal with any side effects when using it.

No matter your skin type, you can reap the benefits of this powerful skincare ingredient. With continued use, ferulic acid will improve the health of your skin, and you'll notice that your complexion looks vibrant and youthful, Dafna Gershoony, PA-C, says (via Ipsy). With that said, you should still be cautious when you first apply ferulic acid to your skin. Even though it's usually kind to sensitive skin types, it's crucial you do a patch test to ensure you don't have an adverse reaction to the product. "People with sensitive skin may experience redness and peeling," Gershoony warns, adding, "Those allergic to this acid can have redness, itching, or hives and should discontinue use immediately."

According to Healthline, people who are allergic to the plants from which ferulic acid is extracted have a higher chance of developing an adverse reaction when they apply it. If you're allergic to corn, barley, or wheat, for example, chances are very good your skin might have an allergic reaction to ferulic acid that was derived from these sources specifically (via Beautiful with Brains). Doing a patch test will ensure your whole face doesn't end up covered in hives.

You can even use ferulic acid on oily skin

It can be so dang hard to find the perfect product to combat oily skin and breakouts, and if you think ferulic acid is just yet another skincare ingredient to which you'll have to wave goodbye, think again.

It turns out that ferulic acid can work for oily skin. Yes, it will give your skin a moisture boost, but it's not going to contribute to oiliness at all. According to plastic cosmetic surgeon Javad Sajan's website, ferulic acid's antioxidant properties are what make it a great ingredient in the fight against oily skin. Not only will it reduce inflammation as we previously noted, but thanks to its pollution-fighting abilities, your pores will be less likely to become clogged by all the gunk your skin is exposed to on a daily basis. With prolonged use, you might start to notice that your skin is no longer super shiny during the day and that breakouts and redness disappear.

If, however, your skin freaks out and you experience more breakouts and irritation after incorporating ferulic acid into your skincare routine, it would be best to stop using it and speak to your doctor or dermatologist.

You can use ferulic acid while pregnant

Being pregnant usually means that women need to reassess their entire skincare routine to ensure they don't use anything that can potentially harm their unborn baby. While you might need to throw out your favorite retinol products, you won't have to worry about quitting your favorite ferulic acid serum.

According to a 2022 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, ferulic acid is safe to use during pregnancy and won't have any effect on the fetus. If your ferulic acid serum contains vitamin C as well, it's still safe to use, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told Paula's Choice. In fact, many dermatologists typically recommend women use a product formulated with vitamin C and ferulic acid while they're pregnant to combat any pregnancy-related skin issues like melasma, redness, inflammation, and acne.

We should note, however, that it's very important you check with your doctor first before continuing the use of these products while you're pregnant. Every pregnancy is unique, and your doctor will be able to tell you for sure whether it's safe for you to use ferulic acid and the other ingredients it's usually combined with.

It's easy to incorporate ferulic acid into your skincare routine

One of the perks of incorporating ferulic acid into your skincare routine is that it plays nicely with practically all active ingredients. There are, however, some ingredients you shouldn't mix with ferulic acid.

We already know that ferulic acid enhances the efficacy of vitamins C and E, but other actives like beta hydroxy acids and alpha hydroxy acids shouldn't be combined with ferulic acid. You won't be burning your skin or causing any breakouts, but you'll be wasting your products. "When mixing these, it will alter the pH of ferulic acid and therefore decrease its effectiveness," Dafna Gershoony told Ipsy. So, if you use products like lactic acid, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid in your skincare routine, take care not to apply ferulic acid when you've used them.

Other than that, adding this powerful ingredient to your skincare routine is pretty simple. It's recommended you apply it in the mornings. In order to reap all the benefits, use it as the very first step in your skincare routine — this will ensure your skin soaks up all the goodness. Then follow with your favorite moisturizer and, of course, sunscreen. You can use ferulic acid in the evenings as well — you can safely combine it with your favorite retinol serum to enhance its potency. Be careful, though: If your ferulic acid serum contains vitamin C, it won't play well with retinol, and you might end up with angry skin the next morning.

Picking the right product is easy if you know what to look for

When it comes to choosing a quality ferulic acid product, you need to pay attention to the packaging and accompanying ingredients. Because ferulic acid is an antioxidant, it is incredibly sensitive to light and air. It also works better alongside other antioxidants than it does solo, so keeping these things in mind is incredibly important when you go shopping. Beautiful with Brains recommends you opt for a product that contains both vitamins C and E in addition to ferulic acid. If you can find one that includes even more antioxidants, that's a great option — the more there are, the more benefits your skin will reap.

Inspecting the packaging is the next step in choosing the right product. Stay away from transparent bottles and jars — they provide no protection against light, which means your product will be practically useless within a few weeks. Instead, opt for packaging that is opaque. This protects the product and keeps it from losing its potency. Stylist recommends you choose products that are vacuum sealed, as this ensures that no air can come into contact with the product so that you can rest easy knowing that the last drops of your serum are just as potent as the first. As for storing your product, keep it in a place that is dry and cool — your bathroom definitely doesn't qualify. Armed with all this knowledge, picking the right product should be a breeze, and as long as you store it in the right place, it will be money well spent.

Various types of skin care products contain ferulic acid

The great thing about ferulic acid is that it works well with almost all active ingredients, so naturally, it can be found in various types of skincare products. Whether you prefer a serum or a cream, there's a ferulic acid product out there that will meet your needs.

According to, ferulic acid is commonly added to night creams and serums. Usually, these products contain retinol as well, giving it twice the anti-aging power. Many day creams and serums also contain this powerhouse ingredient, so look for products that contain at least 3% ferulic acid as well as other antioxidants like vitamins C and E and resveratrol. According to Medical News Today, ferulic acid can also be found in some sunscreens. These sunscreens can be even more effective than those that don't contain this compound, so they're definitely worth checking out. Just make sure you opt for one that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Ferulic acid can also be found in skincare that is aimed toward brightening the skin. Usually, these products are available as scrubs, creams, serums, and exfoliant liquids. Ferulic acid is also an ingredient in some eye creams.

As you can see, there is a wide range of products that include this powerful ingredient, so no matter what your preference is, there's a ferulic acid product out there just waiting to change your skin for the better. Happy shopping!