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The Truth About Ferulic Acid

The Truth About Ferulic Acid

Reviewed by Marta May 21, 2015 5 Comments

Ferulic acid has been on my radar for years. It is a wonderful antioxidant that selflessly makes others more potent. It interests me so much that I was sure to add it to the Truth Vitality shampoo and conditioner. But truth be told, ferulic acid is an uncommon ingredient. One of the few lines to seem as excited by it as I am is Dr. Dennis Gross (you’ll be hearing more from me on this brand in the coming weeks). So I asked myself, why is ferulic acid such an unsung hero? It’s time to tell the truth about ferulic acid.

What is ferulic acid?

Ferulic acid is found in the cell walls of plants such as wheat, rice, peanuts, oranges and apples. It seems to be particularly abundant in coffee and amaranth (the name comes from the Greek word for "the one that does not wither," presumably as a result of all the ferulic acid). It is an antioxidant that can seek and destroy several different types of free radicals—‘superoxide’, ‘hydroxyl radical’, and ‘nitric oxide’—according to a 2002 Japanese study.

What are its powers?

A 2004 Italian study concluded that ferulic acid is a more powerful antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), beta-carotene, and ascorbic acid (vitamic C). Ferulic acid has also been established as a free radical scavenger (source).

Meanwhile, Duke University researchers blended it with 15% vitamin C and 1% vitamin E and proclaimed it a "potent ubiquitous plant anti-oxidant." In fact, it was discovered to act synergistically with other antioxidants and, in this case, rendered the vitamins C and E more powerful.

But what was most exciting was that ferulic acid was found to be a sunscreen. The Duke Study found it particularly good for preventing sun damage, and studies elsewhere have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet light actually increases the antioxidant power of ferulic acid.

What’s the truth about CE Ferulic by Skinceuticals?

One of the doctors on the Duke Study was originally behind Skinceuticals, now owned by L’Oreal. The flagship serum Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($142) was a bestseller until a copy cat came along called Cosmetic Skin Solutions at a mere cost of $39.95 (read more on these product twins). My personal theory is that L’Oreal’s attempts to protect itself from such flagrant plagiarism made other brands nervous about including ferulic acid in their formulas, especially if any vitamins were involved as well.

Where can I find ferulic acid?

Ferulic acid is beginning to show up more often. We added it to Truth In Aging True Volume Shampoo ($29 in the shop) where its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers aid healthy hair growth.

Since researchers have established vitamin C’s affinity with ferulic acid, I’m pleased to have discovered two products that feature it both in simple and powerful formulas. Skinfinite Advanced C20+ Serum ($65 in the shop) has 20% vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and phloretin, and is a great serum for evening out skin tone. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($29.99 in the shop) has a stable form of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

Your Best Face included ferulic acid in its Prep Microdermabrasion face mask and scrub ($80 in the shop). This skin brightener is packed with antioxidants and vitamins.

Argan oil is a rich source of ferulic acid and here are some of my favorite formulations: Trinite Organiques Forgiving Serum ($40), Amarte Hydrolift Cream ($70) and Tilvee Argan & Sea Buckthorn Age Defying Crème ($35).

One of the few lines to really embrace ferulic acid is Dr. Dennis Gross. His intelligent and unusual formulas combine ferulic with vitamin D in Active Vitamin D Serum Oil ($65) and a buffered retinol in Ferulic Acid and Retinol Brightening Solution ($85).

  • June 12, 2015

    by Bea

    Great article!

  • May 29, 2015

    by winnie hohaia

    Hey my name is winnie hohaia my question about certain products I had a free trial of a product that has irrtated my face product name luminiqe and I'm looking for a product that deminishe wrinkles,fine lines,and dark circles under the eyes kind regards winnie

  • May 23, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Howard, I'm really pleased to hear this. Especially as I know how scrupulously you choose your products. I think Dr Gross is a very intriguing formulator and I'll be getting to know his products more in the coming weeks (along with the TIA community). Watch this space.

  • May 22, 2015

    by Howard

    Speaking of Dr. Dennis Gross ..I am trying his trio of Ferulic Plus Retinol and Love it !!! It has reduced my naso-labial mounds and eye puffiness. I honestly did not think (with so much wrong going for it) that I would like it...however, I find myself LOVING it. It has reduced my smile, naso-labial, eye and neck areas. I think it is a GREAT find ! Curious to find your thoughts and findings Marta. It is not the most moisturizing (perfect for Texas summers) and found myself layering on Terri's La Vie Celeste (Excellent, Excellent)

  • May 22, 2015

    by Veronica

    I'm curious about why your site has stopped mentioning Skin Actives products. I found out about their excellent Antioxidant Serum years ago from your site. It has all these superstar ingredients, but I haven't found mention of it on your site since then. It's also affordable at $25, for those of us who can't afford $60 serums! Inclusion of it would really round out this review.

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