The Beauty Alphabet: F is for Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid is found in the seeds and leaves of most plants like: oats, wheats, and rice. It can also be found in coffee, apples, peanuts, artichoke, pineapple, and oranges.

Functionality of Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid is one of the more gentle acids that is great for sensitive skin. It will not give your pores that deep clean or combat acne like say, glycolic or salicylic acid, but it can do other great things.

It is an antioxidant which makes it great for anti-aging products to fight against free radicals like superoxides, hydroxyl radicals, and nitric oxide. It helps prevent damage to our cells caused by UV making it great in sun creams and moisturizers.

Ferulic acid is also a tyrosinase inhibitor, which inhibits the production of melanin, making it a great brightener and whitener, useful for hyperpigmentation and spots.

How Ferulic Acid is noted on Ingredients List

On ingredients lists, you will see Ferulic acid as… you guessed it, Ferulic acid! You may also see this ingredient “ferula foetida ___ extract”. The _____ is for root, plant, flower, etc. extract. Ferula foetida contains Ferulic acid esters, complex carbohydrates, and essential oils, which are composed of sulfur compounds and terpenes. Ferula foetida can be standardized for a certain % of ferulic acid, depending on tests and studies ran by raw material manufacturing companies.

  • Ferulic Acid
  • Ferula Foetida _____ Extract


Free radical damage can cause skin to age by destroying collagen and elastin — which help in skin elasticity. Ferulic acid is a potent antioxidant that is a great ingredient for anti-aging to fight against this free radical damage.

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by UV exposure, hormones, or genetic disorders. Impeding melanogensis can help you avoid or decrease hyperpigmentation, the process by which melanin is created and transported to the keratinocytes. The reduction of this will aid in evening out skin tones and encourage skin lightening and brightening. Ferulic acid is an inhibitor for the production of melanin, which makes it a GREAT ingredient for those wanting to brighten and combat pigmentation.

Because Ferulic acid is more gentle than other acids, it can be used in formulations for those with sensitive skin. For those with less sensitive, they can use products that combine Ferulic acid with other acids to target pigmentation and chemically exfoliate. That way, they can get even more benefits from cellular exfoliation and renewal for brightening.

Ferulic Acid Containing Product

  • The Ordinary: Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% (30 mL for $7.90) — honestly, a great product for a great price point. It contains a high amount of ferulic acid, which is not normally seen. It also has only 3 ingredients: Propanediol (a great humectant and solvent), resveratrol (a great brightener), and ferulic acid.

Further Reading

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