CoQ10 for Skin: Health Benefits, Usage Guide, and Top Products

Coenzyme Q10 is a new trendy ingredient amongst “skintellectuals” or enthusiasts of skincare looking to more research and scientific information about cosmetic and skincare. It is called “new powerful antioxidant”, “energizing enzyme” and used mostly in anti-ageing skincare formulation. It is new for the media, but it is known for long years in biological science and stays in focus of active longevity research since the beginning of the twenty first century. 

Discovery of Coenzyme Q10 

Coenzyme Q10 was discovered almost by accident. In 1957, Assistant Professor Frederick Crane stumbled upon unknown yellow crystals on the walls of a test tube in his biochemical laboratory at Wisconsin University.

The tube contained material extracted from the cells of a bovine heart, and somehow, the rest transformed into these crystals. Crane's team were studying the synthesis of cellular energy in heart muscles and mysterious yellow crystals have been the magic energy substance keeping us alive.

It was a substance responsible for converting nutrients into energy within the body's cells. Most amazingly, scientists were already familiar with this molecule.

Very similar compounds had been discovered in plant cells some time ago. As it turned out, they were the main biochemical source of energy production in the mitochondria of almost any living organism on the planet. 

The new molecule was named ubiquinone by Professor Morton from Liverpool. He had already isolated the same substance from animal fat in 1954 but could not identify it.

He suggested using the word "ubiquitous" for the name, meaning omnipresent, and "quinone" - the chemical name of the quinone class. "Ubiquitous quinone", present in all living cells in the world, subsequently received several other names, amongst them vitamin Q10.

It is a vitamin-like substance because it is essential for human health. However, the most famous of names remains coenzyme Q10, indicating that it belongs to the class of enzymes and that it still stands for Quinone. 

What Do We Know about Coenzyme Q10 Today? 

  • It is a substance that helps convert food into energy for each cell of the human body, including skin. 
  • It is a very powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radical damage. 
  • It is a part of natural skin protection from ultraviolet damage. 
  • The human body is able to synthesize it on its own, but unfortunately, the synthesis of this substance begins to slow down after the age of forty, and by the age of eighty, its level in cells drops to a critically low level. 
  • It is one of the most accurate markers of human aging: as age increases, the content of Q10 in cells decreases. Decrease of Coenzyme Q10 level slows down cellular respiration processes, making the energy production process more difficult and less efficient. It results in gradual disruptions in the functioning of various organs, leading to an increased risk of heart failure, kidney disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and skin is not an exception. 
  • It is possible that the decrease in the amount of Q10 in the heart muscle during aging leads to the development of heart attacks and other heart conditions, including coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure - at least, it has been found that taking Q10 supplements improves the condition of patients after a heart attack and significantly reduces the risk of heart attacks in elderly patients. A similar dependence has been found in age-related vision disorders, and the possible effectiveness of using Q10 for the treatment and prevention of Parkinson's disease and other age-related conditions is currently being studied. 
  • Several clinical studies involving small numbers of people suggest that CoQ10 may lower blood pressure. However, it may take 4 to 12 weeks to see any change.
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, can reduce natural levels of CoQ10 in the body. Taking CoQ10 supplements can bring levels back to normal. Plus, studies have shown that CoQ10 may reduce the muscle pain associated with statin treatment. 
  • Gum disease is a common problem that causes swelling, bleeding, pain, and redness of the gums. Clinical studies show that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their gums. A few studies found that CoQ10 supplements led to faster healing and tissue repair.
  • Few studies show that it improves immune function in people with HIV or AIDS. 
  • Possibly, it can increase sperm motility and help with male infertility.
  • Another scientific prospective use of it is as part of the treatment for Parkinson's disease.
  • There is some evidence that it can help prevent migraine headaches as well as migraine frequency.
  • Experiments have shown that taking Q10 can prolong life and improve the overall condition of aging mammals. 
  • It improves exercise performance, increases muscle strength and endurance, and enhances the well-being of people engaged in sports.

What Happens with Skin if Coenzyme Q10 Is Deficient? 

It is clear that a deficiency of such a vital substance can be harmful to human health and the body. It is a part of the natural aging process, and hypothetically, it is one of the biochemical keys to aging.

First of all, a deficiency of Coenzyme Q10 cod10 enhances the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on the deeper layers of the skin and objectively accelerates the aging process. If the level of this substance in the dermal cells decreases, collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid synthesis immediately decrease. The skin becomes thinner and less elastic, wrinkles and lines are forming quicker.

As the skin is less protected from ultraviolet rays, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots appear easier in response to short exposure to sun rays. This process is usually accompanied by increased dryness of the skin, increased sensitivity, and susceptibility to allergic reactions.

In young skin, the level of one's own coenzyme Q10 can be reduced by smoking. Research suggests that smokers have significantly lower levels of Q10 in their skin cells, which leads to accelerated skin aging. 

What Are Dietary Sources of Coenzyme Q10? 

  • Oily fish (such as salmon, rainbow trout, tuna, herring, sardines and mackerel)
  • Offal or organ meats (such as liver, kidney and heart)
  • Whole grains
  • Poultry
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Eggs
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil

How Is Coenzyme Q10 Used in Skincare? 

Clinical trials have shown that coenzyme Q10 penetrates the skin quite easily from creams and emulsions - as it is a fat-soluble substance, it needs a lipid base.

The size of the Q10 molecule is very small, less than 900 Daltons, so it can quickly reach the deep layers of the dermis. When packed in liposomes, coenzyme Q10 retains all its qualities, including antioxidant activity and the ability to slow down skin aging.

Most importantly, Coenzyme Q10 helps increase the energy level in skin cells to restore their ability to produce structural proteins such as collagen or elastin and hyaluronic acid, forming a skin matrix. Also, it reduces skin damage caused by ultraviolet, calms down sensitivity and inflammation processes, and activates the regeneration of the skin.

At the same time, it can neutralize the harm caused by smoking and tanning. There is a high possibility that it helps to restore a healthy synthesis of melanin in pigment cells, improving natural skin's ability to protect itself. Simply speaking, a Coenzyme Q10 is a universal tool for restoring skin's health and youthful functioning. 

You can find a Coenzyme Q10 in different skincare products such as: 

  • Anti-wrinkle creams and emulsions
  • Anti-aging solutions
  • Brightening and lightening skincare products
  • Products protecting from air pollution
  • Sunscreens and after-sun skincare
  • Sensitive skin care products
  • Night regenerative skincare
  • Eye care products

Why Coenzyme Q10 Is Not the Most Popular Cosmetic Ingredient 

Coenzyme Q10 began to be used as a medicinal preparation and cosmetic ingredient in the late 1970s since it was only in 1974 that a Japanese company proposed a method for synthesizing Q10.

It turned out that extracting it from plant or animal cells is very difficult, and the amount of it is so small that using natural Q10 was technically impossible. However, chemically synthesized or molecularly engineered Q10 is completely identical to natural Q10.

Another difficulty was discovered when creating cosmetic products: Q10 turned out to be a fragile molecule that easily breaks down under the influence of sunlight or temperature changes. In its pure form, it is almost impossible to preserve Q10 in a cream composition, especially when using traditional packaging open to air contact.

Nowadays, Coenzyme Q10 is used in specific forms like liposomes or transfersomes, but it is still an expensive and relatively rare ingredient. 

How to Know the Efficiency of a Specific Cream with Q10? 

There is a simple trick: pay attention to its color. Ubiquinone is one of the most resistant and vivid natural pigments, possessing a rich yellow-orange color. The amount of ubiquinone required to achieve effective skin action always colors the products yellow or cream. If the cream is white, it means there is too little Q10 in it.

How to Find Coenzyme Q10 Reading a Cosmetic Label? 

According to INCI: Ubiquinone

Other names: Coenzyme Q 10, Q 10, Ubichinon, Coenzyme Q6-10, Ubiquinone (Q10), Coenzyme Q10, Ubidecarenone, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Idebenone.

Meder Skincare with Coenzyme Q10

Vita-Long Facial Oil is rich in Coenzyme Q10, and you can see it is highly concentrated based on its beautiful golden color. We call this lightweight oil "The Longevity Veil" as it restores skin comfort in minutes after the first application, immediately improves skin color and elasticity, and restores a youthful, fresh look.

We recommend using Vita-Long to prevent and minimize age-related skin changes, including wrinkles and pigmentation. Vividly recommended for smokers and urban dwellers at any age, as well as a SOS treatment on beach holidays.

In 2020, Vita-Long oil by Meder achieved a highly prestigious Marie-Claire Prix D'Excellence de la Beauté Award for the best innovation in skincare. 

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