Skincare Active Ingredients

Ferulic acid in skincare – Complete Guide

Ferulic acid is found in many foods including grains, spinach, parsley, grapes, and cereal seeds. This chemical is an antioxidant used in skincare.

  • Antioxidant: It protects the skin from free radicals and environmental pollutants.
  • Accelerates wound healing: by increasing hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine synthesis (precursors of collagen) according to studies.
  • Helps with pigmentation: It helps in the suppression of melanin production by directly binding to tyrosinase. It’s better to use it in combination with other anti-pigment actives.
  • Boost the effectiveness of other actives: It can boost the effectiveness and stability of other skincare actives such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
  • Good absorption: It has good permeability through the stratum corneum meaning that it has better absorption into the skin.
  • Other benefits: It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antiapoptotic(type of cell death), hepatoprotective, neuroprotective antimicrobial activity, hypotensive (it helps to prevent hypertension), anti-atherogenic (it may prevent the formation of fatty deposists), and anticancer properties.

Who all can use it?

Ferulic acid is generally safe for all skin types, but do make sure to conduct a patch test especially if you have sensitive skin and skin of color as it can be irritating.

How to add Ferulic acid into your skincare routine?

Some things to consider in your skincare routine:

  • Always patch test a product
  • Toner is optional.
  • A, B, C’s of skincare: Vitamin A and Vitamin C are really powerful antioxidants and should be used with caution for sensitive skin. Niacinamide is better for sensitive skin.
  • Chemical exfoliants should be used with caution for sensitive skin. Make sure to look at the packaging to know at what time of the day it should be used. Many of the chemical exfoliants should be used 2-3 times a week depending on your skin type.
  • Sunscreen is the best anti-aging product out there, so make sure to use it.

Morning routine:

  • Use a gentle cleanser.
  • You can use a toner of your choice.
  • You can use ferulic acid in the morning or night or twice a day. You can also combine Ferulic acid, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Cosmetic formulations are in concentrations between 0.5%-1%.
  • You can then use your moisturizer and apply your sunscreen.

Night Routine:

  1. Use a gentle, non-irritating cleanser.
  2. Toner is optional.
  3. You can use an AHA/BHA/PHA.
  4. Wait for 30 mins and then use ferulic acid at night. You can also combine Ferulic acid, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Cosmetic formulations are in concentrations between 0.5%-1%.
  5. You can then use your moisturizer.
  • Tip 1: you can try to use derivatives of Vitamin C or Retinol together with ferulic acid at night but do be cautious. Or just use niacinamide with the ferulic acid at night.
  • Tip 2: Since your using AHA/BHA/PHAs 1-2 times a week, you can modify your skincare actives such as Vitamin C or Retinol. For example:
    • Alternate nights: on 1st night you can use your AHA with retinol along with ferulic acid. On the 2nd night, you can use your AHA with Vitamin C along with ferulic acid.

Important note:

This routine is mainly an example, there are many ways and methods you can modify this routine by yourself. Layering skincare does not always have to be in order and you can make your own skincare routine by just listening to your skin.

Always consult a dermatologist about your skincare products.

What other skincare ingredients can I combine Ferulic acid with?

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Retinol
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Ceramides
  • Peptides
  • Niacinamide
  • AHA/BHA/PHA’s like glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, and salicylic acid.

How to choose and select the best Ferulic acid?

Make sure to look for ferulic acid that is stored in dark, tight bottles and is combined with other great antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E. This is the most common combination.

Make sure to pay attention to the expiry date of the product.

How to make your own 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum?

You will need:

  • A dark bottle with a dropper. (or else the vitamin C will oxidize)
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cup
  • 3 bowls (1 big and 2 small)
  • Vitamin C powder
  • Ferulic acid powder
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Vodka or witch hazel
  • Distilled water
  • Vegetable glycerin

Step 1: Take a small bowl and put in 1/8 tsp of Ferulic Acid powder (along with vodka till the solution dissolves) and set it aside.

Step 2: Take another small bowl and put in 1/2 tsp of vitamin C along with 2 1/2 tsp’s of distilled water and then another 1/4 tsp of distilled water.

Step 3: Pour the mixture into a dark bottle with a dropper and then add 1/2 tsp of Glycerin into it.

Step 4: Then pour 1/8 tsp of Vitamin E oil into the bottle and then mix well.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Ferulic acid safe for pregnancy?

No, ferulic acid is not safe to use during pregnancy. Instead, you can choose other skincare actives such as azelaic acid and niacinamide.

Does Ferulic acid cause purging?

Yes, ferulic acid may cause purging for some people. You should know that purging is a temporary worsening of acne after the introduction of a new product with a specific ingredient that increases cellular turnover. It is totally different from a breakout. Acne-prone skin is likely to experience it.

Purging should last for a maximum of 4-6 weeks and it only occurs on specific acne-prone areas of your face.

If you’re using ferulic acid with other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, it can lead to purging or sometimes even breakouts. Ferulic acid might cause acne, so it’s better to conduct a patch test.

Does Ferulic acid cause sun sensitivity?

No, ferulic acid does not cause sun sensitivity. It is an antioxidant that helps to scavenge free radicals. It can be used in the morning along with Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

Does Ferulic acid oxidize?

Yes, ferulic acid can oxidize if left in the open. You should make sure to buy ferulic acid that is contained in dark, tinted bottles. This won’t expose the product to light, air, and sun. This will prevent oxidization.

Does Ferulic acid dissolve in water?

No, ferulic acid doesn’t dissolve in water. It is soluble in alkaline pH only.

How to dissolve powdered Ferulic acid?

Powdered ferulic acid can be dissolved in vodka and witch hazel.

Can you use ferulic acid with tretinoin?

Yes, it is safe to use ferulic acid with tretinoin. You can use ferulic acid in the morning and tretinoin at night if you do not experience any irritation.

Can ferulic acid cause acne, breakouts, or irritation?

Yes, ferulic acid could cause acne, breakouts, or any form of irritation if you have sensitive skin or an allergic reaction to the product you’re using.