In the wonderful world of skin care, there are nearly countless acids to utilize for a variety of concerns. There are quite a few popular ones, but you’re probably most familiar with these two: exfoliating glycolic and hydrating hyaluronic. However, we think ferulic acid products are highly underrated, as this antioxidant is known for its proven ability to make other ingredients in your regimen work better, faster, and more efficiently.
According to New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, ferulic acid is an antioxidant found naturally in the walls of plant cells. She says to think of this ingredient as a helping hand to the rest of the actives and antioxidants in your skin-care products. Research, such as this 2005 study published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, has proven that one of the biggest benefits of ferulic acid is its ability to stabilize multiple ingredients, such as vitamins C and E, so they can last longer without losing their potency. “The stability of antioxidants may be increased by adding other antioxidants,” says King.
“Ferulic acid is a strong antioxidant and so is vitamin C,” adds cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “But vitamin C is not stable on its own, so when they work together, they have a synergistic effect for maximum performance.”
Dr. King also suggests pairing ferulic acid with another skin-care staple: sunscreen, specifically with the American Academy of Dermatology‘s recommended broad-spectrum SPF rating of 30 or higher. “Sunscreens, either mineral or chemical, help to protect the skin from UV radiation,” says the dermatologist. “But if these ingredients are combined with antioxidants like ferulic acid, then the protection has been shown to be greater because the antioxidants help to neutralize the free radicals from UV rays.”
You also won’t have to worry about having any irritation or sensitivity issues with this ingredient, because Dr. King says all skin types can enjoy ferulic acid, including sensitive skin types and acne-prone skin. However, its brightening benefits make it especially great for anyone dealing with dullness, dark circles, and hyperpigmentation — which explains why it’s usually paired with vitamin C, another radiance-boosting antioxidant.
If you’re ready to elevate most of the ingredients in your skin-care routine to perform their best (while having a pigmentation-targeting treatment in the process), grab some of these ferulic acid-infused favorites, below.