Women's Concepts Logo

The Science Behind Ferulic Acid

You might not have heard of ferulic acid, but if you’ve ever bitten into a juicy apple, you’ve already met it. Now it’s high time you introduce it to your skincare routine.

What is ferulic acid?

Ferulic acid is a phenolic compound found in the cell walls of plants such as rice, oats, wheat, and the seeds of apples. It might sound complex, but it’s nothing more than a natural chemical. These chemicals often give plants their color, flavor, or even scent. Besides, ferulic acid protects plants against sunlight, gives them rigidity and strength, and even makes the plants less tasty to protect them against insects.

But what does it work in your skincare routine? Well, ferulic acid has quite a lot to offer. That’s because it’s a really powerful antioxidant. It fights free radicals responsible for premature aging signs and protects the skin from sun-induced dark spots, among other cool benefits.

Skincare benefits


Have you ever heard of free radicals? These unstable molecules lurk everywhere in the environment and can damage our skin and accelerate aging. As an antioxidant, ferulic acid neutralizes these pesky molecules. What’s more, it works at the cellular level to inhibit the enzymes that produce free radicals, leaving no chance for them to do harm. In doing so, it protects our skin from everything from aging signs to sun damage.


Ferulic acid could be your ticket to turning back the clock on aging. Why is that? Well, just think about sun damage. It’s thought to be responsible for about 90% of facial wrinkles. Ferulic acid acts like a protective umbrella for your skin against the damaging effects of UV. More than that, ferulic acid reduces the degradation of collagen and elastin, the two proteins that give your skin elasticity and firmness.[1]

Here’s a cool hack: apply ferulic acid after a microneedling session. The tiny puncture wounds created by microneedling act as channels, allowing topical treatments to work better on the skin.[2]

Brightens dark spots

Like most antioxidants, ferulic acid protects the skin from dark spots caused by sun exposure. It also brightens dark patches that are already present on the skin. How? Well, ferulic acid inhibits melanin, which is the pigment responsible for hyperpigmentation conditions.

Reduces inflammation

Redness, irritation, puffiness—be gone. Ferulic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and calm the skin.

Boosts other vitamins

You’re probably familiar with vitamins C and E. These are great antioxidants, but they’re actually very unstable and oxidize quickly. However, there’s some good news. It turns out ferulic acid stabilizes both vitamin C and vitamin E and enhances their protective effects.[3] Combining ferulic acid with these vitamins can even double the antioxidant protection.

How to benefit from ferulic acid

Topical application

Apply a ferulic acid product every morning. This will give your skin the protection it needs to combat the environmental stressors it faces during the day, such as sunlight, pollutants, and cigarette smoke. Most experts recommend products with a concentration between 0.5% to 1%. 

Eat foods rich in ferulic acid

Ferulic acid is like a health booster for our bodies. When we eat it, our body really knows how to use it. Plus, it remains in our blood longer than some other antioxidants, like vitamin C. This means ferulic acid is really good at protecting us for a longer time.[4] Plants like rice, wheat, and oats, grasses, grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds of coffee are all good sources of ferulic acid and other beneficial compounds.

Potential side effects

Ferulic acid is not without side effects. Some people may experience mild irritation or allergies, especially with high concentrations of ferulic acid. We recommend doing a patch test before using it all over your face.


Women’s Concepts uses reliable sources, including dermatologists’ insights, clinical trials, and scientific journals, to find accurate information and support all the facts shared in our articles. All statements and claims have clear references. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our sources of information and our process of researching the content.

  1. Kamila Zduńska, Agnieszka Dana, Anna Kolodziejczak, Helena Rotsztejn; Antioxidant Properties of Ferulic Acid and Its Possible Application. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 9 October 2018.
  2. Kamila MZ, Helena R. The effectiveness of ferulic acid and microneedling in reducing signs of photoaging: A split-face comparative study. Dermatol Ther. 2020 Nov;33(6):e14000. doi: 10.1111/dth.14000. Epub 2020 Jul 26.
  3. Lin FH, Lin JY, Gupta RD, Tournas JA, Burch JA, Selim MA, Monteiro-Riviere NA, Grichnik JM, Zielinski J, Pinnell SR. Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Oct;125(4):826-32. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-202X.2005.23768.x. PMID: 16185284.
  4. Srinivasan M, Sudheer AR, Menon VP. Ferulic Acid: therapeutic potential through its antioxidant property. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 Mar;40(2):92-100. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.40.92. PMID: 18188410.
Who wrote this?
Picture of Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get access to exclusive content, offers, and products.
Was this article helpful?
Awesome! Would you like to share it?
That's too bad. Thank you for your feedback!
More topics for you
Women's Concepts Logo
Join Us