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

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated