What is Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid is found in the cell walls of plants such as wheat, rice, peanuts, oranges and apples. It seems to be particularly abundant in coffee and amaranth (the name comes from the Greek for “the one that does not wither,” presumably as a result of all the ferulic acid). It is an antioxidant that can seek and destroy several different types of free radical – ‘superoxide’, ‘hydroxyl radical’, and ‘nitric oxide’; according to a 2002 Japanese study.

A 2004 Italian study concluded that ferulic acid is a more powerful antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), beta-carotene, and ascorbic acid (Vitamic C). Meanwhile, Duke University researchers blended it with vitamin C and E and proclaimed it a “potent ubiquitous plant anti-oxidant”. In fact, it was discovered to act synergistically with other antioxidants and, in this case, rendered the vitamins C and E more powerful. The Duke Study found it particularly good for preventing sun damage, and studies elsewhere have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet light actually increases the antioxidant power of ferulic acid.

Naturally this super antioxidant does more than prevent wrinkles. It fights cancer, is helpful for diabetics and even reduces hot flashes.


Ferulic Acid Sources

Ferulic Acid, extracted from Rice Bran Oil, is one of the most powerful natural anti-oxidants.  from rice bran oil,  Many plants contain Ferulic acid, which plays a key role in the plants self preservation mechanism, re-enforcing it’s cellular wall strength and protecting it from microbial damage as well as sun damage, . In vivo testing has shown Ferulic Acid to be highly effective as a topical anti-oxidant. Comparable to Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) Ferulic Acid may help to prevent the propagation of the free radical chain.

Ferulic Acid has been demonstrated to be an anti-oxidant extender, for many of the other antioxidants. In particular the combination of Vitamins C, and E, were shown to double their photo protective capacity on the skin.  It is well known that Vitamin C is very problematic in skin care due to it’s highly oxidative state.  There are several factors that must be controlled for topical Vitamin C to be effective.  One of those factors is stabilization once it’s exposed to air, or moisture, where Vitamin C quickly oxidizes.  Ferulic Acid has been shown to do just that.  Ferulic Acid, combined at 0.8%, with Vitamin C works to stabilize the Vitamin C, preventing the oxidation, which resulted in the creation of the first C+E Ferulic Serum.

The combination of Vitamins C, and Vitamin E, along with Ferulic Acid was made very popular by Skin Ceuticals, C+E Ferulic Serums, which was used for the studies, and is a patented process.  The combination, in their C+E Ferulic Serums, was 15% Ascorbic Acid, 1% Vitamin E, and 0.8% Ferulic Acid.  This is one of the most duplicated serums in the DIY cosmetics arena.  However, when Ferulic Acid serums first hit the market it was only available in a form requiring the use of alcohol, and solvents, to utilize it in topical application.


How Ferulic Acid Used in Products

Ferulic acid is used both in supplement form to fight free radicals from the inside out as well as used in various serums made to apply topically on the skin.


Distinction Between Trans Ferulic Acid and Natural Ferulic Acid

Many people looking for Ferulic Acid serums are often confused by ingredients that are marked Trans Ferulic acid and Natural Ferulic acid. The fact is that both of these acids are natural, and the difference in names seems to be in how the Ferulic acid is used.

  • The term Trans Ferulic acid seems to be used most often in dietary supplements that people take as an anti-aging supplement.
  • Natural Ferulic acid is the term generally used when ferulic acid is used in a topical treatment.

Both the topical application and the supplements are used to fight anti-aging and help protect you from the damage of the UV rays, though the topical ferulic acid serums may have the added benefit of helping repair some of the damage that is already done by the sun’s rays.


Benefits of Ferulic Acid For Skin

Ferulic Acid serums has many benefits for the skin. For starters, it not only protects the skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but it actually helps reverse some of the damage your skin has already suffered due to the sun.

  1. This protection increases when ferulic acid serums are combined with vitamins E and C.
  2. Ferulic acid serums are also considered to be a super anti-oxidant which means that it can protect your skin from free radicals which is a major cause of aging.
  3. It also promotes collagen production which is vital to your skin looking more youthful and retaining its elasticity.
  4. In addition, after using a good Ferulic acid serums for a period of time, users find that their skin is smoother and softer as well as younger looking.
  5. It also helps to stabilize vitamins C and E in the same serum, significantly increasing the anti-aging properties of all three ingredients.


Disadvantages of Ferulic Acid

The current combination released in public (15% vitamin C, 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid) has had some debate as to restrictions that must be imposed upon its use.

  1. First of all, ferulic acid serums become rather harmful and is not to be used after its expiration date. This is not a warning to be taken lightly.
  2. Secondly, ferulic acid serums must be kept in the refrigerator tightly sealed. We all know that vitamins quickly dissipate in room conditions and even if the combination makes them more stable it is inevitable that some degradation is involved which means that the potency is reduced if the storage conditions are not proper.
  3. Vitamin C has been known, being an acidic compound, to cause irritation to people with sensitive skins. At the recommended concentrations for collagen production stimulation it is strongly recommended not to use any such compound before receiving professional advice.
  4. However, for many, the most important issue seems to be the price of ferulic acid serums. They are among the most expensive cosmetics available. It is not easy to come by and it is not easy to extract. There has been an attempt to create a synthetic version but it does not seem to be as effective as the natural version. It is because of this price that there has been strong support in DIY topical options. However, this is a complex issue as there are several risks involved if one dares to produce it at home and mix it with other compounds.


Ferulic Acid Side Effects

Most people can use ferulic acid serums safely.

But if you’re allergic to grains such as wheat, corn or barley, consult a doctor before adding ferulic acid serums to your skincare routine. Just in case.


Best Ferulic Acid Serums


  • Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid and Retinol Brightening Serum

It is a highly effective and lightweight serum infused with the goodness of ferulic acid and retinol solution apart from glycolic acid and other beneficial ingredients. It is paraben free and also free of synthetic fragrances/dyes, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, triclosan and GMOs. Also highly effective on mild and severe acne. It clears away all zits and scars completely with no chance of re-emergence at all.





  • Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Acid Serum

This Skinceuticals serum gets a thumbs-up from a handful of the dermatologists all over the world. Pigmentation can come from lifestyle habits like too much sun exposure, smoking, picking at your blemishes, and even genetic predispositions. But the L-ascorbic acid is not only great for brightening, it also contains powerful antioxidants that fight and reverse damage from free radicals that wreck your skin cells.

Not all vitamin C serums are equal or effective. Also, the addition of the ferulic acid in this product helps to stabilize the efficacy of the vitamin C.




  • Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum

This product is paraben free and non-greasy! Works extremely well for all skin types and gives the benefit of disappearance of fine lines and wrinkles.








While the properties of ferulic acid serums have been independently confirmed by more than one studies and these properties seem to classify it as a super anti-oxidant and a very valuable ingredient in cosmetics, they also classify it as a substance that needs to be handled with care and after some precautionary measures are precisely observed.

Have you had the chance to try Ferulic Acid serums? If yes, then let us know down in the comment section below!