The Application of Ferulic Acid in Cosmetics

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1.Introduction of Ferulic acid

Ferulic acid(フェルラ酸,페룰릭애씨드)is one of the derivatives of cinnamic acid and its chemical name is 4-hydroxy- 3-methoxy cinnamic acid. It is a phenolic acid which was widely found in plants and was initially found in leaves and seeds of plants. By now, ferulic acid is mainly obtained though extraction and synthesis techniques. Ferulic acid that Shaanxi Yongyuan works with is extracted from rice bran.


2.Flowchart of Ferulic acid


3.Application of Ferulic acid in Cosmetics

Ferulic acid is a kind of phenolic acid widely found in plants. Because of its super antioxidant ability and scavenging effect of free radical, ferulic acid has become a research hotspot in many fields, such as medicine, food industry, and cosmetics. In particular, Ferulic acid can help with skin whitening, freckle prevention, sun protection and so on, which makes it a potential unit in the skin care industry.

Ferulic acid is favored by the cosmetics industry because of some of its characteristics.

1.It has good ultraviolet absorption near 290-330nm, and UV light of 305-310nm is most likely to induce skin erythema.

2. Ferulic acid is strong in antioxidation and tyrosinase inhibition, which can help inhibit skin aging, prevent the formation of melanin and support skin whitening.

Furthermore, the combination of ferulic acid and other ingredients can enhance its efficacy. In 1999, a study showed that ferulic acid can be used as a whitening ingredient for pigment deposition when combined with vitamin E because it "inhibits the production of melanin and the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase in an indirect way. " That is to say, Ferulic acid works better with vitamin C and E although it works well on its own. Ferulic acid can help maintain the stability of vitamin C and E and enhance their antioxidant properties.

Duke University (research institute of Skinceuticals)found in researches that ferulic acid can improve the chemical stability of VC and VE in an antioxidant combination of 0.5% ferulic acid with 15%VC and1%VE. It is necessary to simulate 4 ~ 8 times solar radiation to form erythema and sunburn cells, it can reduce the formation of thymidine dimer and enhance the anti-oxidative stress of skin. The study pointed out that the specially incorporated ferulic acid can further enhance the antioxidant properties of VC VE.

3.2 Formulations for reference


(1) Shampoo: ferulic acid 1.5%, ferulic acid triethanolamine 3.5%, propylene glycol 15.0%, menthol 0.1%, ethanol 15.0%, polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil 0.5%, anti-inflammatory medicine 1.0%, spice 0.3%, refined water 65.1%.

 (2)Liniment: ferulic acid 1.0%, polyvinyl alcohol 20.0%, ethanol 20.0%, glycerol 5.0%, spices 0.3%, refined water 53. 7%.

 (3)Skin cream: ferulic acid 1.0%, squalene 10%, isopropyl tetradecanoate 7, 22 alcohol 1.0%, hexadecanol and octadecanol mixture 5.5%, glycerol monostearate 2.0 %, tocopherol 0.05%, POE (20) monostearic acid sorbitol anhydride 2.0%, xanthan gum 0.1%, 1.3 Butanediol 2.0%, glycerol 3.0%, sorbitol 5.0%, active agent 0.2%, adjust pH, add refined water to 100%.

Noted: ferulic acid is stable in the form of solid powder while it is easy to decompose in aqueous solution under the influence of temperature, illumination, PH value of the solution and so on. Furthermore, ferulic acid is stable in the buffer solution from PH 2.62 to PH 5.10, and the significant degradation and deactivation occur as the environment gradually becomes alkaline.


In the European Union, ferulic acid is allowed to be applied to cosmetics. It can be used for UV prevention, anti-oxidation, skin whitening, sun protection and so on.

In Japan, Ferulic acid is approved for sunscreen.

Ferulic acid is one of the raw materials of cosmetics approved by CFDA.

Ferulic acid is included in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredient.






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