Naturally present in the body, coenzyme Q10 stimulates cellular regeneration and prevents the degradation of collagen, thereby averting the loss of skin elasticity. However, its concentration in the dermal cells decreases with age and sun exposure. Therefore, it is beneficial to supply it to the skin through a cosmetic formula. Here are the key facts you need to know about it.
Everything you need to know about Coenzyme Q10.
- Coenzyme Q10, but what lies behind this name?
- The benefits of coenzyme Q10 for the skin
- In which skincare products can this active ingredient be found?
Coenzyme Q10, but what lies behind this name?
Thecoenzyme Q10 is referenced according to the INCI nomenclature under the name "ubiquinone".Its history is not very old, as it was first discovered in 1958 in beef heart by Frederick CRANE, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin. The role of co-Q10 in energy production by mitochondria was revealed in 1978 by British researcher Peter MITCHELL, who, on the same occasion, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He highlighted that it is an electron and proton carrier involved in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. This molecule is thus naturally present in the cells of the human body, as well as in various foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
Chemically, it consists of a 'head', the benzoquinone, connected to a 'tail' made up of 10 isoprene units, hence the name Q10. The term 'cofactor' that precedes it refers to the three mitochondrial enzymes (complexes I, II and III). Regarding its molecular structure, it resembles vitamins K and E. Its molecular weight is 863 g/mole.
In skincare, co-enzyme Q10 is utilised for its potentantioxidant power: it prevents the oxidation of skin lipids and aids in protection against the effects of UV rays. It is derived from bacterial fermentation using corn seeds (Zea mays L.) followed by a drying stage, then extraction and separation by silica gel chromatography. The compound is then purified to be safely incorporated into a cosmetic formula.
The benefits of coenzyme Q10 for the skin.
The coenzyme Q10 acts on various biological factors to ensure smooth and even skin for as long as possible:
As an antioxidant, it combats skin ageing caused by the frequent attacks of free radicals.
The coenzyme Q10 operates on two levels to combat oxidative stress: it reduces the production of free radicals and it regenerates vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant present in the body. To recall, free radicals are reactive oxygen species naturally produced by the body. However, when cells are faced with a stress, they produce them excessively. The sources of stress are numerous, the main ones being exposure to UVA, pollution, smoking, a diet too rich in fats and/or sugars. Free radicals are particularly unstable molecules due to their single electron. They tend to react with other molecules to form an electron pair, and thus cause damage to cells, DNA and proteins in the body. This accelerates ageing and wrinkles appear on the skin's surface. Coenzyme Q10 donates electrons to free radicals, stabilising them and thus preventing them from causing harm and accelerating the natural ageing of the epidermis.
It slows down the sagging of the skin and the appearance of wrinkles.
Collagen and elastin are fibrous proteins that make up the connective tissue found in the dermis, the deep layer of the skin. They ensure the firmness and elasticity of the epidermis. However, with age, their synthesis slows down and their content decreases: the skin slackens and wrinkles deepen. At the level of dermal fibroblasts, the coenzyme Q10 acts by reducing the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), enzymes responsible for the degradation of collagen and elastin.
The coenzyme Q10 diminishes the appearance of pigmentation spots.
The emergence of brown spots is linked to several factors: the natural ageing of the skin, exposure to external aggressors such as pollution and UV rays, the intake of certain medications, hormonal fluctuations. As a reminder, hyperpigmentation is defined as a disruption in the pigmentation process: the melanin, the pigment responsible for the natural colouring of the skin, is overproduced in certain areas, leading to the appearance of brown, red or pink spots that can sometimes be unsightly. Studies have shown that coenzyme Q10 inhibits the activity of tyrosinase and the production of melanin in B16F10 melanoma cells.
In which skincare products can this active ingredient be found?
For a cosmetic treatment to be effective, the coenzyme Q10 must be incorporated at a minimum concentration of 0.01%. It does not have any contraindications; it is particularly suitable for sensitive skin as well as the thinner and more reactive skin around the eye, as it is non-irritating unlike molecules such as retinol. This active ingredient can be found in regenerating creams and serums for the face, as well as sun care products for the body.
To prevent the onset of crow's feet, also known as "smile lines" that form at the outer corners of the eyes around the age of 30, Typology has developed two galenic formulations based on Q10: the eye contour serum (3% Q10) and the eye cream for wrinkles and fine lines (1% Q10).
ZHAO R. & al. Coenzyme Q(10) enhances dermal elastin expression, inhibits IL-1α production and melanin synthesis in vitro. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2012).
BLATT T. & al. Topical treatment with coenzyme Q10-containing formulas improves skin's Q10 level and provides antioxidative effects. Biofactors (2015).
RAIZNER A. E. Coenzyme Q(10). Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal (2019).
YANG H. L. & al. The in vitro and in vivo depigmenting activity of coenzyme Q10 through the down-regulation of α-MSH signaling pathways and induction of Nrf2/ARE-mediated antioxidant genes in UVA-irradiated skin keratinocytes. Biochemical Pharmacology (2019).