Derm DMs: Can You Use Ferulic Acid As a Standalone Antioxidant (Without Vitamin C)?

February 15, 2022
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
Derm DMs: Can You Use Ferulic Acid As a Standalone Antioxidant (Without Vitamin C)?

Known for helping skin fight free radicals, which can damage skin, incorporating an antioxidant into your skincare routine is a good idea if you want to help keep visible discoloration, dullness and aging skin at bay. Some of our favorite antioxidants that you may have heard of are vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacinamide. A perhaps lesser-known option that’s recently appeared on our radar is ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is derived from vegetables and is often found in products formulated with vitamin C for extra antioxidant protection. Ahead, we asked Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, board certified dermatologist and consulting expert, about the benefits of ferulic acid and how to incorporate products formulated with it into your routine.

What Is Ferulic Acid?

According to Dr. Ciraldo, ferulic acid is a phyto-antioxidant found in tomatoes, sweet corn and other fruits and vegetables. “To date, ferulic acid has been used more for its role as a very good stabilizer with the L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C — an ingredient that is relatively unstable,” she says.  

Can Ferulic Acid Be Used as a Standalone Antioxidant?

Dr. Loretta says that while ferulic acid has many potential benefits as a standalone antioxidant, more investigation is needed. “It’s a bit difficult to formulate because while a great stabilizer at 0.5%, we are not certain that this level of ferulic acid is sufficient enough to produce visible improvement in skincare formulations,” she says. But if she had the choice between a vitamin C product with or without ferulic acid, she’d choose the latter.

How to Incorporate Ferulic Acid Into Your Routine

Although ferulic acid shouldn’t be the only antioxidant you use in your routine, Dr. Loretta suggests pairing vitamin C products with ferulic acid, or using products that contain both. 

“Ferulic acid is non-irritating and well tolerated amongst all skin types,” she adds, and there are a variety of options out there. For acne-prone skin, we recommend SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF which is formulated with vitamin C, ferulic acid, and salicylic acid designed to help prevent oil oxidation that leads to breakouts.

We suggest pairing a ferulic acid product with vitamin C  in the morning such asthe Kiehl’s Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment which is designed to help boost your glow and reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Follow with the L’Oréal Paris 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum on top and then finish your routine with a broad-spectrum SPF 30 (or above) sunscreen.

Design: Hannah Packer

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