3 Skin Care Reasons A Beauty Expert Recommends CoQ10 Supplements*
Here's a little-understood, yet superpowered bioactive: coenzyme Q10.* It is an antioxidant that works somewhat behind the scenes, but one that delivers visible results—both internally and topically, I might add.* I'm a huge fan of using this bioactive all over, if I'm being totally honest.
For the full explanation of the coenzyme, you'll want to check our full guide to CoQ10. But a brief overview is this: CoQ10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant1 found in every cell of your body. It comes in two forms—ubiquinone and ubiquinol (the active form)—and your body produces it naturally, although your levels do drop as you get older.
It has a laundry list of roles it plays in the body when taken orally, but for my purposes (read: I'm a beauty gal and love writing about skin care), I'm a fan thanks to the roles it plays in skin cell health:*
Encourages cellular energy.*
In wellness circles, CoQ10 is perhaps most famous for its role in mitochondrial function, as it provides the little powerhouses with the tools they need.* As a reminder: Mitochondria are the organelles in your cells that facilitate cellular energy production from the nutrition we consume. Every single one of your cells needs energy to properly function, and every single mitochondria requires ubiquinol to function.*
This includes important skin cells like fibroblasts (which make collagen) and keratinocytes (which make keratin). However, as CoQ10 decreases with age, so does mitochondrial activity and energy formation2.* As you can imagine, this poses a problem for our natural levels of collagen, elastin, and the like. Ubiquinol CoQ10 is clinically shown to increase CoQ10 levels3 in the body on day one and beyond.* Further, ubiquinol is more bioavailable4 than the ubiquinone CoQ10 form.*
Neutralizes oxidative stress.*
Listen: One of the best ways to help your skin as you age is to reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when harmful molecules called free radicals build up and surpass the level of antioxidants, which are the tools your cells use to fight free radicals. (Basically, your body's natural defense becomes outnumbered.) When this happens, so does skin breakdown.
Like other antioxidants, ubiquinol helps your body deal with these free radicals5 head-on.* It also protects against lipid peroxidation6, a process by which free radicals damage cell membranes.* To top it off, CoQ10 protects the membranes of mitochondria and regenerates other antioxidants7, like vitamins C and E—both of which are just as important for healthy skin.*
Smooths fine lines & wrinkles.*
Thanks to a combo of the above, and its potent antioxidant properties: CoQ10 can make your skin look g-o-o-d.* See, your skin is bombarded with environmental stressors every day. And exposure accounts for a majority of skin aging8. If you want to get serious about skin longevity, you need to protect your skin from pollutants, UV exposure, and so on. One major tool you can use is antioxidants.* In fact, one study found that CoQ10 supplements reduce wrinkles9 and lines while enhancing skin smoothness.*
With growing awareness of internal skin health, more and more people are paying attention to the impact of cellular beauty. Notably, how you can encourage skin longevity with the right proactive steps, like smart supplementation.* Well, I'm right there with you.*
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.