Can coenzyme Q10 help protect and repair your skin?
CoQ10 has at least two important roles in the body. First, it is one
of the essential cogs in the biochemical machinery that produces
biological energy (ATP) inside the cells. Second, CoQ10 is an
antioxidant. It helps neutralize harmful free radicals, which are one
of the causes of aging. Under perfect conditions, the body can produce
as much CoQ10 as it needs. However, various factors, such as aging,
stress and some medications, can lower the levels of CoQ10 in the body.
As a result, the ability of cells to withstand stress and regenerate
Unfortunately, the levels of CoQ10 in the body almost inevitably
decline with age. In fact, CoQ10 is regarded as one of the most
accurate biomarkers of aging since its decline correlates so well with
the aging process. In some studies, rodents treated with supplemental
CoQ10 lived up to 30 percent longer than their untreated counterparts.
The effects of CoQ10 supplements on human longevity remain unknown. On
the other hand, it was proven useful in treating certain human
diseases, including heart failure and hypertension.
What can CoQ10 do for your skin? Theoretically speaking, CoQ10
(in a skin cream, for example) can be helpful. In most people over
thirty, levels of CoQ10 in the skin are below optimum, resulting in
lesser ability to produce collagen, elastin and other important skin
molecules. Besides, CoQ10-depleted skin may be more prone to the damage
by free radicals, which are particularly abundant in the skin since it
is exposed to the elements. Thus, CoQ10 may boost skin repair and
regeneration and reduce free radical damage. Furthermore, CoQ10 is a
small molecule that can relatively easily penetrate into skin cells.
Based on this rationale as well as the drive to put new products
on the marker, some companies introduced skin care products with CoQ10.
It is unclear whether these products are effective. Firstly,
theoretical effectiveness does not always result into practical
benefits. Second, very few real studies indicating possible practical
skin benefits of CoQ10 have been conducted so far. Arguably, the most
encouraging was a 1999 study by German researchers who reported that
long-term use of CoQ10 reduced crows feet (wrinkles around the eye).
Even if CoQ10 can be effective in treating skin aging, it is
unclear whether popular CoQ10 products contain sufficient concentration
of active CoQ10. (Keep in mind that CoQ10, just like vitamin C, can be
inactivated by oxygen from the air.). You can get around this problem,
however, by preparing your own CoQ10 cream where you can ensure proper
freshness and concentration.