Coenzyme Q10 in Skin Care
By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Tue, Mar 31, 2020
Coenzyme Q10 in skin care is trending. You may have seen oral supplements that contain coenzyme Q10, but it is also a beneficial ingredient in your skin care products to help you fight skin aging and keep your skin healthy. This ingredient with a very chemistry-sounding name is still flying under most people's radar. You want to know about it and look for it on product labels.
What is coenzyme Q10 (also called ubiquinone, CoQ 10 or just Q10)?
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant made by your body and obtained from your diet. It is present in all human cells, and it is absolutely essential for growth and normal cellular function. Most importantly, CoQ10 is necessary for the production and maintenance of cellular energy. Without coenzyme Q10 normal cellular function comes to a crashing halt - including skin health!
Coenzyme Q10 is also an important antioxidant helping your body and skin fight damage and premature aging by free radicals. What you need to know is that CoQ10 levels decrease with age, illnesses such as heart disease, and external skin stress.
Coenzyme Q10 is an important antioxidant to fight oxidative stress of your skin.
Oxidative skin stress happens when free radicals damage vital skin structures such as DNA and lipid membranes that wrap precious structures your skin needs such as cells! Damage leads to wrinkles, skin aging, inflammation and skin cancers among other misadventures.
Free radicals form from UV exposure and during the course of normal cellular activities. They have an unpaired electron which is very unstable and eager to quickly grab an electron from anything including vital structures. Antioxidants are there to hand over that electron before it's snitched off something you value - like DNA. Your skin has an antioxidant reserve to neutralize free radicals quickly. Damage happens when free radicals form at a greater rate than your body's antioxidant reserve can neutralize.
CoQ10 is an important, though less well known, part of a team of antioxidants in your skin. It plays a valuable role because it can help to regenerate other key antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C when they have been oxidized while protecting your skin's precious structures from free radicals. Together these antioxidants are a sort of Marvel Universe for your skin and physiology and you want them all present in abundance.
Yes, you want a very generous amount of antioxidants in your skin at all times and Coenzyme Q10 is one of these important antioxidants that I want to put on your radar.
How do you get enough CoQ10?
Your body makes this fat-soluble antioxidant. You also get about 25% of your Coenzyme Q10 from your diet. The best sources are meat, fish and poultry. Oils are a good source such as olive, soybean, corn and canola. Nuts are a good source as are veggies, fruit, legumes and whole grains. But it's hard to get enough CoQ10 from your diet.
It is also unclear if taking CoQ10 supplements will raise skin tissue levels of this antioxidant. That's where CoQ10 becomes a valuable addition to your skin care.
Topically applying CoQ10 to your skin is proven to increase Q10 levels in your skin and provide skin health benefit.
Coenzyme Q10 penetrates into deeper layers of the epidermis when topically applied to skin.
Skin benefits of coenzyme Q10.
Coenzyme Q10 increases skin antioxidant capacity and reduces damaging free radicals in skin. The major overall benefit is in helping skin resist UV free radical damage, and other oxidative stress, thus supporting long-term anti-aging effects. It also supports cellular energy maintenance for skin cells. Skin clearly benefits from Q10-containing skin care products.
CoQ10 helps skin look and feel younger.
Topically applied CoQ10 has been shown to increase skin hyaluronic acid content. This helps to keep skin dewy and supple. CoQ10 also has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In my opinion, coenzyme Q10 is one of the ingredients that are good to have in your skin care products. Many of my facial products contain Coenzyme Q10 for this reason.
What is the best way to supplement your skin with coenzyme Q10?
Apply skin care products fortified with coenzyme Q10 in addition to eating a diet that provides coenzyme Q10 rich foods. I'm particularly a fan of eating olive oil which is a good source of CoQ10. Using oral supplements may be beneficial but they may interfere with anticoagulants and safety in pregnancy and lactation has not been determined. I prefer obtaining CoQ10 from a healthy diet and supplementing skin levels with skin care products fortified with this beneficial antioxidant.
I've got you covered for coenzyme Q10 because many of the products at Dr. Bailey Skin Care are fortified with high-quality pharmaceutical-grade coenzyme Q10 along with vitamins E and C including my:
- Daily Moisturizing Face Creams Dry/Normal and Oily/Normal
- Sheer Strength Sunscreens: Invisible, Spray and Matte Tinted
- Cleansers such as Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser, Daily Foaming Facial Cleanser, Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser and Glycolic Acid Cleanser
- Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Creams and Glycolic Acid Body Lotion
Coenzyme Q10, along with vitamin C and E are some of the silent supporting cast for the powerful actives in these products. Their formulations give you the best combination of skin care science to fight skin aging.
Knott Anja, et. al., Topical treatment with coenzyme Q10-containing formulas improves skin’s Q10 level and provides antioxidative effects, Biofactors, 2015 Nov 12; 41(6): 383-390.
Hernandez-Camacho Juan D, et. al., Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation in Aging and Disease, Front Physiol. 2018; 9:44
Blatt Thomas, et. al., CoQ10, a topical energizer for aging skin, JAAD, Farch 2004, 50(3), Supplement, Page P76