Over the last few years you may have heard about a new skin-protecting kid on the block – Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 for short). It may not have the catchiest name, but it is catching on for its ability to make skin act younger.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant produced naturally by the body. It’s vital to our cells’ ability to produce energy. When we’re young, our bodies are very efficient at making CoQ10, but as we age, we need an extra boost of antioxidants like CoQ10, especially to neutralise free radicals caused by factors like stress, pollution and too much sun exposure.
The free radicals released through UV exposure oxidise skin cells. This leads to skin ageing and can result in brown spots, fine lines and potentially skin cancers. Scientific research has shown that that topical CoQ10 penetrates skin and reduces oxidative stress - effectively slowing visible signs of UV damage.
The good news, is that even through our bodies make less Q10 as we age, we can get more of this vital antioxidant through our diet, supplements and skincare.
Here are 5 great reasons to include CoQ10 in your skincare routine.
- Energise skin cells: Our skin cells need energy to repair themselves correctly. Young skin is great at harnessing energy to use nutrients and eliminate toxins. CoQ10 supports this directly natural energy process, literally giving older skin more youthful energy.
- Reduce sun damage: CoQ10’s powerful antioxidant action protects skin at a molecular level against the damaging effects of free radicals due to UV exposure. So it’s great to apply before and after sun exposure (along with your regular sun protection of course). In one study, scientists exposed human fibroblast cell samples in a lab to radiation. They found that when treated with CoQ10, they showed faster regeneration and better preservation of the mitochondrial membrane.
- Even out skin tone: Hormones, some medications and sun exposure can all increase melanin production, creating dark patches on your face called melasma, a form of hyper-pigmentation. CoQ10 has been shown to block tyrosinase - an enzyme needed to create pigment. Tip: If you have a history of vitiligo, approach topical CoQ10 products with caution, as it can increase depigmentation.
- Improve skin’s structure: CoQ10 supports the body’s ability to produce collagen and elastin – the ‘elastic’ protein that helps skin ‘bounce back’ after stretching or contracting. Scientists at Beijing’s Space Biology Research and Technology Center observed that ‘CoQ10 treatment increased elastin gene expression in cultured fibroblasts’.
- Improve hydration: Because CoQ10 is fat-soluble, it works best with oil-based formulations. When combined with lipid carriers (oils), CoQ10 has been shown to absorb more easily to improve skin hydration. In a 2010 study, subjects reported an increase in skin hydration when using a cream that combined CoQ10 and lipids, rather than CoQ10 without the lipid carrier.
In fact, we chose to include CoQ10 as a key ingredient in SKIN by ecostore Multi-Nutrient Facial Oil, because of its increased effectiveness when combined with natural oils. These highly nourishing plant oils include jojoba, apricot, avocado, blackcurrant, kiwifruit seed and grapeseed. It’s a combination rich in vitamins, antioxidants and omega fatty acids.
This article is not a substitute for medical advice. For specific skin concerns, please consult your health professional.