ferulic acid

Ferulic Acid at a Glance

  • Antioxidant that helps defend skin from the signs of sun damage and environmental assault
  • Improves stability and efficacy of other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E
  • Research indicates ferulic acid can help inhibit discolourations
  • Naturally found in plants, such as bran and bamboo
  • As a raw material, ferulic acid is supplied as a crystalline powder

Ferulic Acid Description

Ferulic acid is a phenolic antioxidant (a type that intercepts damaging hydrogen radicals) that is naturally found in bran and bamboo shoots, among other plants. Research has shown that it provides its own benefits to skin while also enhancing the stability of other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, when paired with them.

Of note, ferulic acid plays a significant photoprotective role, which is one of the reasons it’s a welcome addition in sunscreen formulations.

Research also indicates that it has the ability to inhibit certain triggers of skin discolourations, making ferulic acid a nice complement to products that are intended for evening skin tone. In general, it also helps defend skin against environmental assault.

Ferulic acid can be used in the types of high concentration chemical peels available in a dermatologist/esthetician setting, where it is usually combined with other acids, such as lactic, to address signs of photoageing. Ferulic acid’s soothing properties are believed to help reduce potential skin-irritating side effects of such peels.

As a raw material, ferulic acid comes as a crystalline powder that is insoluble in water at room temperature but reaches solubility in higher water temps. It is also soluble in other types of solvents.

Ferulic acid is shown to be most effective at boosting the results from other antioxidants when used in concentrations of 0.5% or greater. It is typically not used above 1%, as doing so can impart an undesirable colour to a skin care formula.

Ferulic Acid References

Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, October 2020, pages 281-288
Acta Biologica Marisiensis, December 2018, pages 53-60
Food and Chemical Toxicology, March 2014, pages 185-195
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, May 2012, pages 443-451
International Journal of Pharmaceutics, October 2010, pages 44-51
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, August 2008, pages 290–297
Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, March 2007, pages 92-100
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, October 2005, pages 826-832

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!