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A Guide To Ferulic Acid’s Skin Benefits

Answered: What Is Ferulic Acid?

A few years ago, you might have balked at the idea of putting acids on your face. Now, we’d be far from surprised if your medicine cabinet or vanity is stocked with hyaluronic acid and a variety of alpha-hydroxy acids. Over time, education on skincare acids has expanded, which has helped dispel related fears and promote their benefits. Still, even with this increased guidance, there are more acids to learn about. 

Ferulic acid is one you may not be familiar with that’s certainly worth knowing. Below, we’re presenting our guide to ferulic acid skin benefits. Find out what the ingredient is (beyond an acid), what it does, and how to add it to your skincare routine.

What Is Ferulic Acid?

Ferulic acid may not be what you would first assume. It’s not an alpha-hydroxy acid, nor is it similar to hyaluronic acid. If those are your only reference points for acids for the skin, it could come as a surprise that ferulic acid is actually an antioxidant. It’s a naturally-occurring substance that can be found in the seeds and leaves of plants. It’s possible—if not likely—you already consume ferulic acid without thinking anything of it. It’s in fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, oranges, and carrots. Aside from food, ferulic acid is known to have proven skincare benefits and can be found in topical skincare formulas, including ferulic acid serums and essences.

What Are The Benefits Of Ferulic Acid?

Now, let’s focus on those ferulic acid benefits. When it comes to your skin, this ingredient is recognized primarily as a free radical scavenger. That adventurous-sounding descriptor refers to substances that protect skin from free radicals. This is a key part of ferulic acid’s role as an antioxidant. It defends the main skin structures and is able to break free radical chain reactions. This is important because, otherwise, the potential for skin damage is quite vast. UV-induced reactive oxygen species (a group that includes free radicals) are recognized as contributing to up to 80% of skin damage.I

Kiehl’s Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment With Lactic Acid is one way to introduce this ingredient to your skin. It’s formulated with ferulic acid, as well as lactic acid and olive-derived squalane. The essence helps support your skin’s natural recovery process and defends against skin-aging free radicals. It also works to remove dull surface skin and helps strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier for visibly smoother, more radiant-looking skin. Last but not least, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. Speaking of which, research shows in addition to its antioxidant benefits, ferulic acid also has anti-wrinkle properties.II

Some studies have specifically recommended using ferulic acid in combination with vitamins E and C.III To incorporate the latter into your routine, we recommend our Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum. It contains l-ascorbic acid and ascorbyl glucoside, which are pure vitamin C and a vitamin C derivative, respectively. The serum instantly improves radiance and visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles in just two weeks.

Does Ferulic Acid Improve The Appearance Of Discolorations?

There’s discussion about whether one of ferulic acid’s skin benefits is an ability to improve the look of discolorations. And, it’s a topic that has actually been researched. However, there aren’t extensive studies. While we know the antioxidant is believed to inhibit melanin production, more information is needed to recommend it for this purpose.

How To Use Ferulic Acid In Your Routine

To help you reap the aforementioned benefits, we’ve curated a six-step routine featuring ferulic acid.

1. Cleanser

An essence should only be used on clean skin. Reach for Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash to gently lift away dirt, impurities, and oil. The formula with calendula and glycerin deeply cleanses without over-drying your skin.

2. Essence

Next comes the star of this ferulic-focused show: Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment With Lactic Acid. For application, follow the Kiehl’s five shakes, five drops method. Start by giving the bottle five shakes before opening. Then pour five drops of essence into your palms. Concentrate the application on key spots: Press it onto your cheeks, chin, forehead, and neck for two seconds each.

Kiehl’s Tip: In case you were wondering, this essence isn’t quite the same as a toner, like Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. While both are skincare essentials, essences are typically associated with having more concentrated active ingredients. You can learn more about the differences between these two product types in our article What’s The Difference Between a Toner and an Essence?.

3. Oil

Our essence helps prime your skin to better receive the products that follow. Meaning, your skin should be perfectly prepped for this step: applying a face oil. We recommend Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil, which boosts essential moisture, replenishes skin, and improves the appearance of fine lines. The formula with evening primrose and lavender essential oils is also lightweight and suitable for all skin types.

4. Eye Cream

Your eye area needs special attention. De-puff and hydrate this delicate skin with Avocado Eye Cream. It has a unique water-in-oil formulation that provides instant and long-lasting hydration. The eye cream’s other benefits include visibly de-puffing, improving under-eye texture, and defending the skin against digital fatigue caused by blue light.

5. Moisturizer

Finish your daily routine with Ultra Facial Cream, which contains moisturizing ingredients, including squalane, glycerin, and glacial glycoprotein. It provides lasting, 24-hour hydration and balances even your skin’s driest areas with 2.3 times more moisture.

Bonus Step: Face Mask

A few times a week, your skin deserves extra pampering. Give it that TLC with Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask. We love this mask for this routine in particular because it’s formulated with cranberry seeds, which are a source of antioxidants and resveratrol. Ferulic acid and resveratrol are a popular skincare duo that you can try by using the mask before Ferulic Brew Rejuvenating Facial Essence. On your masking days, cleanse and then apply the radiance-boosting formula. Wash it off after 10 minutes and follow with the essence.

Next: 6 Plant Extracts Your Skin Will Love

I.Poljšak, Borut, and Raja Dahmane. “Free radicals and extrinsic skin aging.” Dermatology research and practice vol. 2012 (2012): 135206. doi:10.1155/2012/135206
II.Park, Hye-Jin et al. “Whitening and anti-wrinkle activities of ferulic acid isolated from Tetragonia tetragonioides in B16F10 melanoma and CCD-986sk fibroblast cells.” Journal of natural medicines vol. 72,1 (2018): 127-135. doi:10.1007/s11418-017-1120-7
III.Kumar, Naresh, and Vikas Pruthi. “Potential applications of ferulic acid from natural sources.” Biotechnology reports (Amsterdam, Netherlands) vol. 4 86-93. 16 Sep. 2014, doi:10.1016/j.btre.2014.09.002

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