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What Is It: Ferulic Acid

Reviewed by Marta July 21, 2008 6 Comments
I am in danger of getting antioxidant fatigue. There seems to be a new super-duper-better-than-anything-that-has-come-before-it product every week. Still, the latest to reach my radar did pique my interest: 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 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 radical - ‘superoxide’, ‘hydroxyl radical’, and ‘nitric oxide’ - according to a 2002 Japanese study.

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). Meanwhile, Duke University researchers blended it with vitamin C and 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. 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.

Naturally this super antioxidant does more than prevent wrinkles. It fights cancer, is helpful for diabetics and even reduces hot flashes.

Products with ferulic acid aren't easy to come by. There is a DIY option for around $9. You can buy a small tube of ferulic acid from Skin Actives and add it other potions. But be careful with what you mix it or you could find yourself making an appearance in court. The topical combination of vitamin C (15%), vitamin E (1%) and ferulic acid (0.5%) has been patented by SkinCeuticals. They sell the formula, called CE Ferulic, for $139.
  • July 27, 2016

    by Rae

    Awesome! I was thinking of getting some actually. Can I blend it with essential oils? To make it smell a bit better?

  • October 30, 2015

    by pam

    Nicely written! & talk about "antioxidant fatigue!?" as I slept in the last few hours the word "Ferulic acid," kept rolling through my mind...studying a lot, see, I am about to take 300 question test & become certified in "Natural Food medicine." The funny part is that I am a licensed Aesthetician! & familiar w/a lot of skin care ingredients & all about anti aging! (28 yrs!) I am 51 & concerned w/it more than ever! Yea to all Phenol's & Antioxidants! Power to the seeds of the plants/fruits/vegetables & grains! "And God said,"Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree in which is a tree yielding seed;to you it shall be for meat." Genisis 1:29

  • July 23, 2008

    by marta

    <p>You know until recently I wouldn't have had enough knowledge or certainly the confidence to mix my own potions. One of the attractions about DIY is not just what you can put in, but all the crap you can choose to leave out. So, I am now going to start giving it a go and I'll let you know how I get on.</p>

  • July 23, 2008

    by Mike626

    <p>Marta, I took a look at the Skin Actives site. The prospect of formulating my own products is compelling. I'm wondering, with your knowledge and clinical eye, why do you purchase any ready-to-use products at all? </p>

    <p>It seems that armed with a site like Skin Actives, you would be able to make nearly all of the products you use for less than half the price. Do you think that the quality of ready-made products are superior?</p>

  • July 23, 2008

    by marta

    <p>Great tip. I've ordered some!</p>

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