Should you be using a serum with ferulic acid?

Wouldn’t hurt

October 23 2020

Even for the most seasoned beauty addict, skincare is advancing at an alarming rate. At one point in time, retinol and glycolic acid were our go-tos. Now, serums are infused with a slew of new key ingredients, including niacinamides, alpha arbutin and azelaic acid.

One ingredient worth mentioning is ferulic acid. This powerful antioxidant has the potential to change your skin for the better; when used correctly, it can reduce pigmentation and even out skin tone.

Considering incorporating this anti-ageing hero into your skincare routine? Here, we break down the dos and don'ts of using ferulic acid.

What is ferulic acid?

First things first, what is ferulic acid, exactly? According to Paula Begoun from Paula's Choice, "Ferulic acid is a type of natural, plant-derived antioxidant known as a phenolic antioxidant. Among their duties, phenolic antioxidants help keep plants fresh and aromatic for a certain period of time after being harvested. Ferulic acid is found in many plants, especially whole grains, as well as berries, eggplant, tomatoes, peas, and asparagus."

When exposed to the elements, ferulic acid can lose its potency. "The natural breakdown of ferulic acid in plants can be seen when you slice an apple and leave it exposed to light and air," Paula tells BAZAAR. "The apple turning brown is the ferulic acid (and other antioxidants) losing their effectiveness. That's a great reason to never buy a ferulic acid product packaged in a jar."

What does ferulic acid do for skin?

"When applied to skin, ferulic acid works as a potent antioxidant, defending skin from environmental aggressors," says Paula. "It has also been shown to improve the stability of vitamins C and E, allowing them to work better and for longer period of time. Research has also shown that ferulic acid can help protect skin against the damage UVB light exposure causes, although it does not replace what a sunscreen can do."

Who should use products with ferulic acid?

The real question here is: should you use a ferulic acid booster? All signs point to yes. "Ferulic acid can be beneficial for and used by all skin types and all ages," Paula explains. "It's not known to be irritating to skin and in fact is added to grocery items like coffee and dried spices to keep them shelf-stable."

Who shouldn't use products with ferulic acid?

"No restrictions here unless you know you are allergic to this ingredient, which would be a rarity but as with all plants, an allergic response is possible."

When to apply ferulic acid-based products?

Timing is everything—apply your ferulic acid booster in the morning for best results. That way, the antioxidants can protect your skin from environmental factors during the day.

However, if you really want to apply at night, you can: "The 'reserves' of this antioxidant will remain in the skin, ready to help protect it the following day," Paula says.
As far as frequency is concerned, Paula's motto is more, more, more. "Ferulic acid can be used twice daily. As with all topical antioxidants, the more the better. Don't cheat your skin by applying them occasionally when daily use can do so much!"

What are the best ferulic acid products?

Ferulic acid comes into its own when combined with vitamins C and E—ideally, you want a product that contains all three.

Timeless Skincare 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster

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