Amidst the sea of skincare ingredients, one often overlooked gem stands out: ferulic acid. While its name may not be as familiar as other skincare staples, the powerful antioxidant is making waves as the next big skincare ingredient to use. Get the low-down on ferulic acid in five steps.

It makes vitamin C work harder

A 2005 study suggests that ferulic acid has the potential to offer twice the amount of photo-protection when combined with vitamins C and E. It’s thought to help stabilize vitamin C, while also increasing its photo-protection (we love a product that multitasks!). Photo-protection refers to something’s ability to minimize sun damage. The study’s authors also note that such antioxidant combinations could reduce someone’s risk of future photo-aging and, possibly, skin cancer –but these effects aren’t fully understood yet.

Reduces the formation of brown spots

Pollution and radiation cause an increase in pigmentary alteration—like sunspots—and it works to shield the skin from that effect. It reduces tyrosinase activity by directly binding to the enzyme tyrosinase, so it functions as an anti-pigment agent, which means your risk of brown spots could be reduced. Win, win!

Decreases uneven skin tone by redness

Pollution and radiation cause an increase in blood vessel formation in the skin (which leads to redness) and ferulic acid works to shield the skin. What’s more, antioxidants like ferulic acid have anti-inflammatory properties, so you can reduce redness and inflammation with every application.

Ups your SPF in just one application

Some research has shown that when ferulic acid is combined with vitamins C and E, it can make your SPF eight times (yes, eight!) more powerful. For those looking to protect their skin from the rays while they’re off fulfilling their wanderlust dreams, this could be a major help.

Where can I find it naturally?

Ferulic acid is a plant-based antioxidant primarily used in anti-aging skin care products. It’s naturally found in a variety of foods, including bran, oats, rice, eggplant, citrus and apple seeds. But since it works so well with vitamin C and E, we’re reluctant to part them, so be sure to incorporate a product with ferulic acid into your skincare routine and watch your skin glow.