Ferulic Acid is starting to gain a reputation for being a miracle anti-aging treatment. We are seeing it turn up more often as an ingredient in a range of topical creams and lotions from high-end beauty brands. But what is it? And will it do anything useful for your skin?
What is Ferulic Acid (FA)
Ferulic acid (4‐hydroxy‐3‐methoxycinnamic acid) is found in plants. Various vegetables such as corn, herbs such as ginseng, and certain grains are all a source of ferulic acid. However, not all sources are created equal – some sources, such as wheat, have a form of ferulic acid that is more easily absorbed.
Using FA as part of your beauty & health routine
Although Ferulic acid has started appearing in face creams, it has been used in Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties for a very long time.
When used as an ingredient in skin care products it can help boost other antioxidant ingredients, so is often included in products that already use vitamins C and E. This can help reduce the effects of aging. As it also has natural UV protective properties ferulic acid can also help protect against sun damage.
Skin Care Benefits of FA
One of the biggest reasons to use it in skincare is that as an ingredient, it has an exceptional ability to really boost other antioxidants. This means that when included in a skincare product you’ll find it does help to reduce the appearance of fine lines. It can also help to lighten dark skin pigmentation such as sunspots, particularly when added to a skincare cream that included vitamin E.
FA & Acne
Because it has anti-inflammatory properties, it can be particularly helpful to reduce acne. It can also help to unblock clogged pores which reduces blackheads. Ferulic acid as part of a daily skincare routine has great potential to help treat various forms of acne.
Do not use FA with these skincare products
Although ferulic is great when combined with vitamins A, C, and E it shouldn’t be used if you are using exfoliating acids. Skincare products that use lactic and glycolic acids are often used to treat similar conditions as ferulic, so it could be tempting to try to double the benefit. However, these more exfoliating products counteract the effectiveness of the antioxidant properties found in FA.
Taking Ferulic Acid as a supplement
Although there is limited research on the effectiveness of taking ferulic acid as a dietary supplement, it may be taken for high blood pressure, diabetes management, relief of some menopause symptoms, and osteoporosis.
Generally as taken as a tea traditionally, but is also available as tinctures, included as an ingredient in multivitamin capsules or as a 250-milligram tablet.
There is almost no research or clinical trials that look specifically at using ferulic acid to treat any condition. So, while it may be of assistance, it should not be taken without medical advice for a serious illness.
Side Effects of ferulic acid
Because it is often obtained from wheat sources, anyone with an allergy to wheat or bran products should use caution. The lack of research around this substance also means that we don’t know if it will react with medications – particularly those taken topically for other skin conditions.