Coenzyme Q10

Fast Facts          

Type of Ingredient: Antioxidant

Main Benefits: Evens skin tone, reduces sun damage, improves skin hydration.

Who Should Use It: Generally, CoQ10 is safe for most everyone to use. However, those with vitiligo should consult their dermatologist before use.

How Often Can You Use It: CoQ10 can be used during your morning and night skincare routines. Apply it before you apply any heavy moisturizers.

Works well with Aloe vera, vitamin C, vitamin B3, hyaluronic acid


What is coenzyme q10 (ubiquinone)? 

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance naturally present in the body. It is known to be a natural antioxidant that the body produces to maintain and help cells produce energy. CoQ10 is a component of the electron transport chain in aerobic cellular respiration, a way in which our bodies convert food into energy using oxygen. Organs with the highest energy requirements such as the heart, liver, and kidney have the highest CoQ10 concentrations. According to dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD "CoQ10 is vital in energy production in cells.” Dr. Idriss explains that when we're younger, we're able to produce as much CoQ10 as we need for energy. As we got older, aging and stress slow down the CoQ10 creation process, and our supplies diminish. "Coenzyme Q10 in humans begins at low levels when we are young, peaks in our late teens, and begins to decline after 20 years of age," notes Idriss.     


The Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

While CoQ10 can be taken orally as a supplement, it can also provide benefits in skincare products.

Energizes skin cell activity: Research conducted by Anja Knott and collegues show that topically applied CoQ10 gets absorbed into the skin resulting in increase levels of quinones and then is transformed into ubiquinol. This increased presence of ubiquinol enables cells in the skin to be more active helping rid themselves of toxins.

Reduce free radicals:  The sun's UV rays, which provides a source of free radicals, can be damaging to skin cells' DNA, causing sun damage. CoQ10 helps it to protect the skin at the molecular level from the damaging effects of the sun and damage by free radicals by reducing free radicals. Since CoQ10 aids in increased cell activity, cells are more efficient in flushing out toxins to minimize the damage they cause. Dr. Lisa Pruett of U.S. Dermatology Partners explains, there's "legitimate science" backing up the claims of CoQ10's antioxidant properties. . . Antioxidants are shields you can apply to your skin to combat all the things that contribute to aging skin such as UV radiation, infrared radiation, and ozone pollution. Remember that the majority of the aging of our skin is from environmental sources so if we can block those from occurring, our skin will ageless."

Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines: This ingredient helps your body produce collagen and elastin, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines. One study showed that topical application of this ingredient diminished the depth of crow's feet by 43% after 10 weeks of use.

Even out skin tone: CoQ10 works to block tyrosinase, which helps with the production of melanin. This means that CoQ10 can help fade and prevent dark spots. According to research conducted by You-Cheng Hseu and colleagues from the Department of Cosmeceutics, College of Biopharmaceutical and Food Sciences in Taiwan, demonstrates that CoQ10 a variety of biochemical pathways required for melanin synthesis.



CoQ10 is not FDA approved for treatment of cancer. As a nutritional supplement, the FDA does not regulate it. However, when used as a supplement, no serious side effects of CoQ10 have been reported with mild side effects such as insomnia or digestive upsets may occur.

CoQ10 may interact with the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin and the diabetes drug insulin, and it may not be compatible with some types of cancer treatment.

While the topical application is generally suitable for all skin types, you might want to take caution if you have certain skin conditions. "If you have a history of vitiligo, approach topical CoQ10 products with caution," says Dr. Idriss. "CoQ10 has been shown to block an enzyme known as tyrosinase, which is necessary for creating pigment. By blocking it, it may lead to worsening of depigmentation in those who suffer from vitiligo."



Biofactors, November 2015, pages 383-390

Biofactors, September-October 2009, issue 5, pages 435–441

Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2006, issue 1, pages 30–38

Biofactors, November 2005, issue 4, pages 179–185

Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2005, issue 4, pages 12–13

Journal of Dermatological Science, August 2001, Supplement, pages 1–4