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Recommended: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Anti-Oxidant Treatment

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
June 10, 2009 Reviewed by admin 17 Comments
What does SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Anti-Oxidant Treatment have to do with keeping my 2008 New Year resolution?

In an earlier post I mentioned that my New Years resolutions have become a relished opportunity to make one specific "behavioral improvement", which results in greater mental, emotional or physical health. There is nothing vague about these resolutions (ie. lose weight, be more patient, get more exercise/sleep)....they are  instead "yes/no", "today I did it or I didn't do it" resolutions. I have "kept" every single resolution made over the last dozen years because they are simple and yield great results.

In 2008, my commitment was to protect myself from additional sun damage and to address the existing damage, and I can't tell you what a difference I have seen in my skin over the last 18 months, especially on my face.  I started using physical sunscreens and twice daily I also started to apply a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments which specifically target sun damage. How easy is that? Nothing grueling or time consuming here....just five minutes of prevention and repair daily, and my only regrets are that I didn't pick this particular resolution earlier and that I didn't begin equal treatment of (and attention to) my decolletage at the same time.  Live and learn.

For the past 17 months, I have tried quite a few different OTC products, and a fairly recent find is one of hands-down BEST products I have tried.  It actually falls into both the sun damage "prevention" AND the sun damage"repair" categories. It is the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment.

Let's start with the ability to"repair". This powerhouse vitamin C-based (plus ferulic acid and 1% alpha tocopherol) product packs a punch and the smell strongly resembles sardine oil, but bottom line: it does what it promises to do! The product is not going to deliver results overnight, but it certainly delivers when used long term (60+ days minimum). I was already using a beloved niacin-based facial moisturizing product on my skin, so I applied the SkinCeutical CE product to clean skin on one side of my face and neck for 45 days, and followed with the niacin moisturizer on top. Just about the time my first bottle of the CE was empty, it became clear something quite positive was happening, so I started a new bottle of CE and have been using it underneath the niacin moisturizer on BOTH sides of my face and neck for yet another month. The side which has now been treated to the SkinCeutical C E Ferulic product for nearly 10 weeks is noticeably more smooth, moist, firm, and much more uniform in color.  The "other" side is just now starting to enter into the improvement phase. I can't wait to see how far SkinCeuticals CE product will roll back the clock to atone for my years of sun worship.  Make no mistake, at $138+ per 30 ml bottle this is not inexpensive, but a single bottle should last 6-8 weeks.  As frugal as I am, I will be buying a third bottle because I can see that it REALLY works to repair existing damage*.

I also mentioned that this little gem also "protects". While it is busily repairing existing sun damage, it also protects cells from within against additional UV damage, once skin is titrated over a period of approximately three days.  Half-life disappearance is approximately three days, so this isn't going to "wear off and wash off" along with your sun screen. Put simply, just in case I miss a spot when applying sunscreen, or if I apply sunscreen too thinly, or the sunscreen is rubbed off over time, I have a built-in safeguard which protects my face from further damage and the re-emergence of freckles and malasma. It also (according to SkinCeuticals) "delivers an unprecedented 8 times the skin's natural protection against photoaging - neutralizing free radicals, helping build collagen, and providing unmatched antioxidant protection".  I believe it.

The SkinCeuticals product also contains 1% alpha-tocopherol (a form of topical Vitamin E) , and a study done by the UC Berkeleys Department of Molecular and Cell Biology found it "modulates the antioxidant network and diminishes UV-induced oxidative damage in murine skin". Translation: Alpha-tocopherol repaired existing sun damage and helped to prevent free radical damage in mice.

I mentioned earlier that it not inexpensive, but in my opinion, you get what you pay for when it comes to Vitamin C-derivative products.  Claire did a fantastic 4-part series on the science behind Vitamin C in all forms, and her February 26th "Part 3: Vitamin C as L-ascorbic Acid is a must-read if you are considering a Vitamin C- based product. There are tons of products out there at all price points which contain L-Ascorbic Acid, so you really need to do your homework before you buy. I bought a cheap drugstore Vitamin C product and it was worse than useless. It burned and irritated my skin and that was likely because of the addition of cheap alcohol fillers. Be sure to read Claire's post, but suffice it to say that an effective vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid is the scientific name) product must be precisely formulated at ph levels which are less than 3.5, or it simply sits ON the skin, and doesn't enter the skin cell which is where the healing and protection takes place. To be effective it also must contain a concentration of at least 10% (the SkinCeutical product contains 15%)  of this relatively unstable antioxidant, and it also must be carefully packaged, stored, and "consumed"  fairly quickly once the seal is broken.  Because of degradation, bigger is NOT better, and don't expose even the best packaged Vitamin C product to light, heat, or leave the cap off for any more time than necessary. Thankfully, the SkinCeutical product contains ferulic acid which helps to keep it stable for a longer period of time. Note: You will find expiration dates only SkinCeutical products which contain ingredients regulated by the FDA (i.e.sunscreens, the Clarifying Cleanser, the Blemish Control Gel), but the CE ferulic product should easily remain at full strength for a full year if left unopened, and even longer if stored in a cool dark place like your refrigerator.

*My plan is to to buy a third bottle of the CE Ferulic anti-oxidant product and continue using it, but on June 1st I added an application of the SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF product (both sides of my face) to my bedtime routine. I can't wait to see what happens with this combination, and will keep you posted..... watch for that review late this summer.

Related posts

What is it: ferulic acid

Reviewed and Rejected: Skinceuticals Phloretin CF

All you'll ever need to know about vitamin C

Make your own age spot cream with vit C and ferulic acid


Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid (Topical Vitamin C), Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate.

  • July 9, 2010

    by rileygirl

    Very old post, but I am curious what your thoughts were on the Phloretin? I tried that and it dried my skin out horribly, so I went back to the C, E, Ferulic. I am curious if you used the Phloretin long term and if you noticed any improvements with that as opposed to the CEF?

  • November 22, 2009

    by Leslie

    A few months ago I had never heard of a facial serum, now it seems that I can't live without one. After looking at quite a few brands, I decided to give the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic a try and I love it. I love that it practically disappears into my skin, combats aging, and even provides another layer of armor against the sun.

  • June 19, 2009

    by Annamarie has a ce furulic and other antioxidant serums like skniceuticals at dramtically lower prices, they also sell on eBay. I am wondering how their products compare to skinceuticals, which I have been using for about 4 yrs. Brand loalty is not important to me if I can get the same or possibly better product at a lower price. Also, what do you think of their micro needle therapy, something I had not heard of before. Thanks!

  • June 12, 2009

    by Kate

    Marta and Debra,

    I too am interested in what a "trained professional aestetician" suggests in terms of the correct order, so I will get going on this topic.

    Anna Marie,
    Let me pose your questions (does color or color change mean loss of potency in C serums... and what does an oxidized c-product "do" if used on the skin) to the fine folks at SkinCeuticals. I will let you know once we hear back.

  • June 11, 2009

    by Anamarie

    What about oxidization? I've used this before and it always seems to turn orangey after a couple of weeks, which then scares me off.

    What about C serums turning yellow/orange in general--are they really still supposed to work or does it create an oxidization chain reaction on your face?

  • June 11, 2009

    by marta

    It is a good idea for a future post. We frequently get asked about the best order for products in a routine and it would good to stop improvising my answers.

  • June 11, 2009

    by Grace

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for sharing the methodology! I haven't tried Phloretin before, as I recalled Marta had a thumbs down on that product (seems like an anemic cousin of CE). I have sensitive skin so I only use Vitamin C once a day in the morning. I also use Phyto+ and B5 hydrating gel twice a day and love both products! In the evening I am using A G serum (the growth factor product) and a Matrixyl3000 serum. When my bottle runs out I plan to try Dermaradiant to see if it works.

  • June 11, 2009

    by Kate

    Hi Debra,

    Your question about "the order in which to apply things" is a good one. I am not an estetician but the rule of thumb I have always used is to apply "from thinnest to thickest", and I give each "layer" about 10 minutes to ensure absorption before adding the next. I also read the labels carefully and apply all waterbased products before applying anything containing oils. Moisturizers almost always have some type of oil... so they are usually (but not always) the last item before sunscreen. Sunscreen is always the last layer however, and goes on top.

    In the case of the Skinceuticals CE and Floretin products, they should be the first thing you apply to clean bare skin. Most L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) products are recommended to be the "first" layer.

    Those generalities aside, if you ever have questions, most reputable product manufacturers will have a website which very often covers their recommendations for layering, in the FAQ section, and/or you should be able to send your "list" to their customer service department via their website and get their recommendation(s). (The standard format is ", and works about 90% of the time.) I have also started contacting companies and asking if there are any known "interactions" or "loss of potency" issues when mixing across brands.

    Interestingly, one of the products I am currently testing actually has two esteticians on staff who answer that very type of question....a very smart idea and likely the wave of the future as products include more chemicals and variations.

    Your question sounds like a good idea for a future post, so let me look into it a bit more and get input from the real experts. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • June 11, 2009

    by Deborah Barnett

    Hi Kate,
    For newbies, can you tell me if this replaces using a serum before applying moisturizer? I still get the order of events confused with all of the products.


  • June 10, 2009

    by Grace

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I've been using CE for a year as well... my 30 ml bottle was able to last for 4 months - I wonder if I wasn't using enough? I apply one drop on my forehead, one on each cheek and one drop on my neck every morning. Can you share your routine? Thanks!

  • June 10, 2009

    by Kate

    Hi Grace,

    Happy to share my methodology, but if you are getting the results you are looking for by using a smaller amount, then by all means stick with your current dosing. I do think the key to success with this product is using it regularly and for an extended period time (at least 60 days), not in using a lot for a shorter duration. It takes a while for new skin to improve and then work its way up to the surface.

    I wanted to give the CE a fair opportunity to show results so I likely used more early on than I will use going forward. I warm about 1/4 or 1/3 of a dropper-full (apprx 6-8 drops)in the palm of my hand and spread it over my entire face (with extra attention to the areas around my eyes, parellel to my ears, and actually on my ears themselves). I wipe any of the product which remained on my hands onto my neck.

    I put the CE on in the mornings after cleansing and before anything else (sunscreen, moisturizer, makeup etc) and give it about 10 minutes to ensure that it is able to completely sink in before disturbing it. I also use a little extra after my weekly exfoliating mask, because it really calms my "fresh" skin and takes any redness out.

    Hope that helps...can't wait to see if the Phloretin works. Have you tried the Phloretin, and/or do you currently use them both? My plan is to use the CE in the morning and the Phloretin in the evening. Might be overdoing it, but I really don't want to quit using the CE while I test the Phloretin.

  • June 10, 2009

    by michlny

    Too bad it contains Propylene Glycol :(

  • June 10, 2009

    by Stephanie

    I second the suggestion for the $30 sample pack, as you can keep the unused vials in the fridge and thus extend their shelf life. I often wonder if the large bottles of Skinceuticals products lose potency due to environmental exposure; I feel better using one tiny vial at a time.

    Thanks for the great review. I'm also interested in the niacin moisturizer you are using as well as the physical sun blocks.


  • June 10, 2009

    by Maureen

    Can you tell me the name of the moisturizer you use and love?


  • June 10, 2009

    by Kate

    Hi Stephany,

    I am now a complete devotee to physical sunblocks, and there are at least three that I strongly can read the reviews by putting the their names into the search box on the TIA front page.... Abella, Clinique City Block, and Murad. I have also used the NIA-24 physical sunblock and while it is very effective, it really did leave too much "white tint" on my skin, making me look weird. These others are either flesh colored or completely sheer. I also have used and really like the Mychelle sunblock... and will be referencing it in a review of the Mychelle cleanser and Notox Serum in the next few days.

  • June 10, 2009

    by Kate

    Hi Stephanie and Maureen,

    I started using the niacin-based Nia-24 product line 18 months ago, at the suggestion of the plastic surgeon who did some "repair" work after a basel cell carcinoma was removed from the corner of my eye. It has done absolute wonders, and you can read the details by putting "nia 24"in the TIA search box.... be sure to ask me any questions that the review doesn't cover.

    Thanks for your input!!!

  • June 10, 2009

    by Alison

    Thanks for the great review. This is one of my all-time favorite products and I'm so pleased to see it works for you too. I've been using it for a couple of years but not as consistently as you are. When I'm "on" I can definitely see the improvement.

    You can buy the 6-vial travel pack on eBay for around $30 usually; you get a full ounce for an incredibly low price point.

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