Ferulic acid, like many natural phenols, is an antioxidant in vitro in the sense that it is reactive toward free radicals such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS and free radicals are implicated in DNA damage, cancer, and accelerated cell aging. If added to a topical preparation of ascorbic acid and vitamin E, ferulic acid may reduce oxidative stress and formation of thymine dimers in skin. There is also a small amount of research showing oral supplements of ferulic acid can inhibit melanin production in the process of skin whitening. It is used as a matrix for proteins in MALDI mass spectrometry analyses.