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Ferulic Acid:The Ingredient Your Skin Needs

(Note: Cellular Skin RX’s F*a*C*E Synergy Serum combines Ferulic Acid with C, E, and Niacinamide.)

You’re a grown-up; you’ve got that whole face washing and moisturizing thing down, maybe with the addition of a serum here and there. But if you want to kick your regimen results from “good” to “impossibly glowing,” add ferulic acid. It’s the unsung hero of red carpet, lit-from-within skin and, quite frankly, you should get in on that.

So, what is it and how does it work? “It’s a phenolic compound found in the walls of plant cells and a powerful antioxidant,” says Dr. Doris Day, FAAD, MA, a top board-certified New York dermatologist and clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Centers. “It has an independent effect, but when combined with vitamins C, E, and niacinamides, the result is a very powerful antioxidant that helps with skin rejuvenation and even skin tone. Combined in the right formulas, there’s an accelerated and synergistic result; the antioxidants energize each other.” 

Vitamins C and E already help with cell repair, but adding ferulic acid makes them more powerful.

So, how do you reap the benefits of this power antioxidant? Look for the right formula. “SkinCeuticals and SkinMedica have some of the best formulas out there due to such rigorous testing before products go to market,” Day says. She recommends SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($157) and uses it herself.  (Cellular Skin RX’s F*a*C*E Synergy Serum: $48.50)

Ideally, you’d use Ferulic Acid twice a day, but even once will help boost the results of your skincare products. “It does different things at different times of day,” she explains. “At night, it helps repair the skin. During the day, it boosts the effects of your sun protection.”

However, just because you’re using high levels of vitamins doesn’t mean you can head to your local vitamin shop and start mixing them yourself. “You can’t use formulas that aren’t meant to go on the skin. Skincare products with vitamin E, C and ferulic acid are specially formulated for that purpose, so you can’t just head to your local vitamin counter and start cracking open capsules.”

As with any new product, try a spot test. “You can be allergic to anything, and any ingredient can be irritating, so know your skin,” cautions Dr. Day. “Also, it’s not meant to be a moisturizer, so you should add moisture around it.” And finally, don’t forget the SPF. Ferulic acid can do a lot of things, but sunscreen is always your skin’s best protection.

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