For years, skincare experts and dermatologists have been waxing poetic about the benefits of antioxidants. While they’ve earned superstar status for their ability to protect skin from the harmful effects of pollution, blue light and UV rays, the more familiar ones, such as vitamin C, green tea, resveratrol and niacinamide, they are the most valued ones we reach. But one of the most powerful antioxidants is being kept a bit under wraps. Enter: ferulic acid.
Recently, ferulic acid has received serious attention. In a world of confusing antioxidant jargon, this cult classic ingredient is loved for limiting photodamage and premature aging, making it a favorite skincare product to brighten and remove discoloration. We tapped the experts for the backstory of ferulic acid and everything you need to know about it and why you’ll want to incorporate it into your skincare routine stat.
What is Ferulic Acid?
While the word acid can be daunting and sound like a no-no for skincare, ferulic acid which is derived from plant cell walls works well on red and pink undertones of skin and prevents them from showing up on the skin’s surface. . . “It also improves the appearance of dull skin and reduces the look of hyperpigmentation,” says Tara Adashev, APRN, a registered nurse at Neinstein Plastic Surgery.
Furthermore, ferulic acid appears to have both anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties. It is often used in serums and creams due to its potential to improve the stability and efficacy of other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E,” say Marisa and Adriana Martino, licensed estheticians and co-founders of SKINNEY Medspa.
And, “as an antioxidant, ferulic acid helps repair and protect damaged skin cells,” says Roberta Del Campo, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Del Campo Dermatology. “Two of my favorite skincare products that incorporate ferulic acid include Babor Power Serum Ampoule Ferulic Acid Serum, which is clear ferulic acid in high concentrations can leave a tint to skin, and SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic.”
How Ferulic Acid Benefits Your Skin
Ferulic acid can help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, improve brown spots, and protect skin from environmental damage. As? It fights reactive oxygen species, which can create inflammation and cause DNA damage, according to Kseniya Kobets, MD, board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic dermatology at Montefiore Advanced Care.
By protecting the skin from free radicals, ferulic acid can maintain the quality of the skin and its supply of collagen and elastin to keep it healthy and supported and prevent the signs of premature aging.
Additionally, using ferulic acid on the skin consistently reduces inflammation to help prevent breakouts. And you can use the ingredient on areas with redness, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and even melasma-related brown spots.
Who should use it?
Most skin types can benefit from the daily use of ferulic acid, especially those dealing with or interested in hyperpigmentation, sun damage and general signs of aging.
But some antioxidants may not be compatible with some skin types, so proceed with caution if you have eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, sensitive skin, or allergies to ferulic acid foods. If there’s any sensitivity to the ingredient, such as dryness or burning, avoid using it, Adashev says.
How to incorporate ferulic acid into your skincare routine
Adding ferulic acid to your daily skincare routine is easy: Most ferulic acid products are also formulated with other antioxidants for effortless application.
However, it’s important to wear sunscreen with ferulic acid (as is the case with all skincare ingredients, to be fair), and it pairs especially well with vitamins C and E.” We know ferulic acid can increase the effectiveness of sunscreen increase SPF when used in combination with these two vitamins,” says Dr. Of the field. Resveratrol is another skin-friendly ingredient that works well with Ferulic Acid – you can find the ingredients combined in The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%.
Not all skincare ingredients are ideal to combine with ferulic acid; some, namely exfoliating acids, should be limited if ferulic acid is used. They can alter your existing pH and make ferulic acid less effective, says Dr. Of the field. (An exception is lactic acid; you can find the match in Kiehl’s Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial with Lactic Acid.)
Meanwhile, to maximize the antiaging benefits, mixing retinol with ferulic acid is considered safe, and you can even find skincare products that contain both, such as Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advance Retinol + Ferulic Texture Renewal Serum.
However, when looking for a good ferulic acid skincare product for your skin, Dr. Del Campo suggests one with between 0.5% and 1% ferulic acid. The best way to find a serum or moisturizer with ferulic acid is to look at the ingredients list on the back of the bottle and make sure it looks right up. Also, opt for those in packaging that protects from exposure to light and air, as ferulic acid can oxidize.
With antioxidants, it can be difficult to see skin improvements right away; Dr. Kobets estimates that once you start using ferulic acid, it can take several weeks or months to see results, depending on the degree of sun damage and the pigment on your skin. Bright side? They will be worth the wait.
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