Ferulic Acid: A Dermatologist's Guide

Your best complexion is yet to come.

Ferulic acid may not be top of mind when you're thinking about skincare. Maybe you're not exactly sure what it does for your skin, or even what it is. Well, I'm here to assure you it's worth considering if you want a clear and smooth complexion (and really, who doesn't?). The same way you look to your tried-and-true moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated or grab your favorite eye cream to help diminish dark circles and fine lines, antioxidants are here to guard and improve your skin—which is where ferulic acid comes in. This powerhouse ingredient is highly regarded for protecting the skin barrier from environmental stressors like pollution and infrared radiation that ultimately cause premature aging.

To learn about all things ferulic acid, I tapped dermatologist Sheila Farhang, MD founder of Avant Dermatology and Aesthetics in Tucson, AZ. “Ferulic acid is an antioxidant found in rice, corn, and wheat," says Dr. Farhang, adding that skin-revitalizing benefits come with the consistent use of the antioxidant. "Not only is ferulic acid an antioxidant but it is also known to brighten dark spots and overall skin dullness thanks to its ability to inhibit the enzyme [tyrosinase which causes melanogenesis—the production of melanin.]".

You'll often find ferulic acid in anti-aging products alongside ingredients such as niacinamide, resveratrol, and vitamins C and E. “Research shows that [ferulic acid] improves the chemical stability of vitamin c derivatives such as L-ascorbic acid thereby increasing its photo [UV] protection properties,” explains Dr. Farhang. But sometimes, ingredient cocktails can lead to breakouts, irritation, or contact allergies, so always start with a spot test, she advises. "I find that ferulic acid by itself is not a huge culprit of negative side effects.”

Intrigued yet? The ingredient comes in liquid form and is most effective when stored in an opaque bottle (to avoid oxidation) and stored in cool temperatures. For optimal results, incorporate a few pumps of ferulic acid serum or cream into your morning skincare routine after cleansing, then always follow with SPF.

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For Hyperpigmentation
C E Ferulic

Powerhouse ingredients vitamins C, E, and ferulic acid team up to correct fine lines and brighten the complexion, all while protecting the skin from environmental stressors. The price tag may be steep but trust us, the results are so worth it. 

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The Cost Friendly Find
Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%
The Ordinary

Presenting the budget-friendly complexion saver. For just under $10, your skin will reap the hydrating benefits of a highly concentrated formulation of ferulic acid and resveratrol to effectively prevent water loss in the skin. 

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For Hydration
C15 Super Booster
Paula's Choice

Along with its complexion-brightening ingredients, C15 Super Booster serum is packed with ultra-hydrating components such as vitamin E, castor oil, and hyaluronic acid to support skin elasticity.

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For Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Behold, a skin-revitalizing gem. Formulated with ferulic acid, retinol, and Dr. Gross's corrective ECG Complex, this heavy-duty moisturizer works to fade dark spots, improve the skin's moisture barrier, smooth uneven texture, and reverse general signs of aging. 

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The Spot Treatment
Potent-C™ Vitamin C Targeted Spot Brightener
Peter Thomas Roth

Looking for a reliable spot treatment? Checkout this small but mighty dark spot brightener. Potent-C uses THD ascorbate, which is a powerful vitamin C derivative that's shown to seamlessly penetrate the skin and diminish the appearance of pesky dark spots. 

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For Sensitive Skin
Vitamin C Ester CCC+ Ferulic Brightening Complex 20%
Perricone MD

Here's a highly effective yet non-abrasive brightening option. Powered by Vitamin C Ester, this serum works to gently fade imperfections and reduce visible signs of aging without causing irritation.

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The Facial Peel
Kakadu C Peel Pads

The key to a clear complexion is exfoliation. Turn to Kakadu C for a gentle daily peel that promotes rapid cell turnover to reveal a radiant glow. 

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