What Is Ferulic Acid? Benefits for Skin and Beyond - Dr. Axe

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What Is Ferulic Acid? Benefits for Skin & Beyond


Ferulic acid - Dr. Axe

The use of ferulic acid for skin health is common, and it can yield some seriously impressive results.

You actually may already get ferulic acid in your diet and not even know it, but have you ever used it topically? If you look at some ferulic acid before and after pictures, you may want to consider a ferulic acid serum as a top choice in your anti-aging efforts.

What Is Ferulic Acid?

Ferulic acid (FA) is a phytochemical found in plant cell walls. A phytochemical is a chemical compound created by plants to help them thrive (and also to protect them from predators and pathogens).

Phytochemicals (aka phytonutrients), such as antioxidants, are generally considered beneficial to human health. They are known for their anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Ferulic acid is found in many natural sources, including:


  • bamboo shoots
  • eggplant
  • beets
  • tomato
  • radish
  • broccoli
  • green beans
  • avocado
  • red cabbage
  • burdock root
  • carrots
  • parsnip
  • peanuts
  • banana
  • grapefruit
  • orange
  • apples
  • whole grain rye bread
  • whole grain oat flakes
  • long grain brown rice
  • coffee

What Is It Used For?

FA is most commonly found in topical products, such as a ferulic acid serum.

Common uses of ferulic acid for skin include:

Some animal research to date also points toward possible benefits of ferulic acid for diabetes and hypertension when used internally.

Health Benefits

There are several potential ferulic acid benefits. As an antioxidant, it can help reduce antioxidant damage and the visible signs of aging.

One of the leading causes of inflammation, damage and aging of the skin is free radicals. FA is known to combat the negative effects of inflammatory-inducing free radicals.

According to a scientific article published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, FA’s anti-aging effects are a result of its ability to effectively act as a harmful (free) radical scavenger and suppress UV radiation-induced oxidative reductions that can be bad for skin health.

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, FA is also a great ingredient for people struggling with acne since it can help calm an existing pimple while also discouraging any post-acne dark spots.

Ferulic acid is known for working well in combination with another antioxidant, vitamin C. This is why you’ll often see a vitamin C serum or a vitamin C oil also contain ferulic acid as a key active ingredient.

Another skincare combination many people use to fight signs of aging as well as acne is ferulic acid and retinol.

Risks and Side Effects

According to Angela Lamb, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, ferulic acid is an excellent anti-aging skincare ingredient as long as you don’t have sensitive skin or are allergic to it.

You may want to check with your dermatologist before using ferulic acid for acne or other chronic skin concerns, especially if you have sensitive skin.

An allergy to FA is possible since it can be sourced from various plants. For example, it can be obtained from bran so if you have a grain allergy, you should be cautious when using FA products.

Discontinue use of FA topically if any unwanted side effects occur. Possible ferulic acid side effects may include redness, peeling, itchiness, rash or hives.

How to Use/Dosage

For skin concerns, ferulic acid is most commonly used as a serum topically. You’ll most commonly find it combined with other antioxidants, like vitamin C.

A ferulic acid and vitamin C serum for face should always be applied to clean skin. Serums are typically applied to the skin first before other moisturizers.


FA skincare products can be used morning or night. Many dermatologists suggest using ferulic acid serum as part of your morning skincare routine since it can help protect the skin from environmental factors (UV radiation, pollution, etc.) that can contribute to skin damage.

There is currently no established dosage for FA supplements. Always check with your health care provider before taking any new supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions.

Where You Can Find It

For skin, it’s generally considered to be most effective to use ferulic acid as a serum that also includes vitamin C. It’s not hard to find a ferulic acid serum at beauty product retailers, in person or online.

It isn’t easy, but it’s possible to find a ferulic acid supplement for internal use in some health stores or online. However, FA supplements are not commonly made or used.

Some people also like to purchase ferulic acid powder to use in DIY beauty products.


  • Ferulic acid (FA) is a phytochemical found in the seeds and leaves of plants.
  • FA is commonly used topically to boost the health and appearance of the skin.
  • Potential benefits of FA include reduction in acne, hyperpigmentation, age spots, wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Vitamin c serum benefits can be even greater if FA is included in the serum since the two antioxidants are known for working very well together.
  • FA is typically considered safe for topical use by most skin types, unless you have sensitive skin or an allergy to FA.
  • A ferulic acid and vitamin C serum (one of the most common FA skincare products) can be used as part of your morning skincare routine to guard against free radical damage that can occur due to environmental factors, such as UV radiation and air pollution.

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