Spotlight On Coenzyme Q10: Is It An Effective Antioxidant?

by Gio
antioxidant skincare benefits of coenzyme q10

“And the ‘Antioxidant Of The Year Award’ goes to….”


“Coenzyme Q10!”

Sorry, Vitamin C. You’re awesome and all, but this year, the spotlight’s on Coenzyme Q10. Since getting the Nivea gig, this little known antioxidant is popping up on the skincare aisles everywhere.

But, how good is it? Is it an one hit wonder or does it have the potential to last the test of time?

Let’s find out:

What is Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance present in all human cells. Its job is to produce energy for the body but it’s its side hustle that has propelled it to fame. Coenzyme Q10 also has antioxidant properties that keep wrinkles away from your face.

For the first 20 years of your life, your body produces all the Coenzyme Q10 it needs. But, as it gets older, it can’t keep up with demand. It produces less and less.

P.S. Coenzyme Q10 has a nickname: Ubiquinone.

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What are the skincare benefits of Coenzyme Q10?

I’ve already mentioned this in passing, but let’s go deeper now. Coenzyme Q10 has powerful antioxidant properties that:

  • Fight free radicals
  • Reduce UV damage
  • Stimulate collagen production

A 1999 German study shows that using Coenzyme Q10 regularly reduces oxidative damage and could reduce crow feet.

Awesome, right?

Just don’t bet all your hopes on it. No antioxidant, doesn’t matter how powerful it is, can fight premature aging on its own. The more you use, the better.

Related: The Best Antioxidants In Skincare Products

Does Coenzyme Q10 has any side effects?

Coenzyme Q10 is safe for most people.

If you have super sensitive skin, there’s the risk it may irritate it (what doesn’t?). But even then it’s rare.

But, if you’re having chemo or taking blood thinners or other meds for cholesterol and blood pressure you should consult with your doctor before adding Coenzyme Q10 to your skincare routine.

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Coenzyme Q10?

Nivea may have made Coenzyme Q10 famous, but I’m not a big fan of the brand. They use only the odd antioxidant while I prefer products that are loaded with them (and other goodies). Like those below:

The Bottom Line

Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps you keep wrinkles away for that little bit longer. Just don’t use it alone. It’s way more powerful when it hangs out with his antioxidant friends.

Do you use skincare products with Coenzyme Q10? Share your faves in the comments below.



Ling September 6, 2011 - 1:51 pm

I love your blog for all the great skincare advice. Actually have a few products in the Nivea Q10 range which I may start using soon πŸ˜€

beautifulwithbrains September 6, 2011 - 4:59 pm

Ling, aww thank you! I’d love to know what you think of the Nivea q10 range. I’ve been eyeing it for a while but the jar packaging is putting me off as I don’t think it will keep conzyme q10 stable for long.

Dao September 6, 2011 - 3:36 pm

I used a L’Oreal creme that had CoQ10 before. I didn’t notice any significant differences but the creme was very thick and it moisturized well. Maybe now that I am older, I need to use it again to see how well it works.

beautifulwithbrains September 6, 2011 - 5:03 pm

Dao, I think it depends on the concentration (if it is too small it won’t do anything) and your age. If you don’t wrinkles yet, you won’t see any noticeable different but it’ll help prevent premature aging (if there is enough of it). But at least the cream moisturized well. πŸ™‚

Amanda September 6, 2011 - 4:23 pm

I used to have a hand cream (a Japanese) with coenzyme Q10, which claimed to be anti-wrinkle. But I didn’t notice any significant change of my hand skin. So, in my opinion, just because it contains a particular anti-aging ingredient doesn’t mean it will be effective. We have to consider its concentration and other ingredients in the formula.

beautifulwithbrains September 6, 2011 - 5:04 pm

Amanda, that is so true. If the concentration isn’t high enough, then it won’t do anything. It is also always best to use a combination of antioxidants as that will give better results.

Annabella Freeman September 6, 2011 - 9:52 pm

I’ve used Eurcerin and Nivea Q10 formulas and I really liked them both. I don’t know if they ironed out my wrinkles but my skin does smoother when I use either one of them.

beautifulwithbrains September 7, 2011 - 6:15 am

Annabella, I’m glad they work well for you. πŸ™‚

Makeup Morsels September 6, 2011 - 11:39 pm

I used to use DHC’s Coenzyme Q10 Cream when my skin was really drying up, and it helped smooth out my dry patches. I never knew much about the ingredient itself though, so this was really fun for me to read πŸ™‚ Thanks for always doing your research and presenting it in such a nice format!

beautifulwithbrains September 7, 2011 - 6:19 am

Makeup Morsels, I’m glad the cream helped your skin. I really enjoy researching and writing this type of post and I’m happy you guys seem to enjoy them too. πŸ™‚

Janessa September 7, 2011 - 1:29 am

I think that’s too much biology to bear! I am mildly biology scarred because of dumb class haha. Well I do not think I use any products with ubiquinone and I wouldn’t seek out a product just for that ingredient. This is a really neat topic. Thanks for sharing! :]

beautifulwithbrains September 7, 2011 - 6:24 am

Janessa, haha, these types of posts can be a bit boring I guess, even though I try to keep the language simple and easy-to-follow even for those that aren’t into science. πŸ™‚

xin September 7, 2011 - 2:21 am

i have been taking some q10 supplements on and off (if only i remember), hopefully with occasional intake, it will still show some results on skin as i age πŸ˜‰

beautifulwithbrains September 7, 2011 - 6:29 am

Xin, I think you should see some results but it may take some time. πŸ™‚

Fynl August 23, 2018 - 9:38 am

Would you consider updating your Q10 recs. Been searching for one with liposomal delivery that also does not contain retinol, alcohol or fragrance. Not having much luck thus far. Skin Biology uses coQ10, but there is always lavender oil in there somewhere and I live fragrance-free or at least highly reduced. (Family with COPD and asthma).
Thanks Gio!

Gio September 7, 2018 - 12:45 pm

Fynl, I’m not sure if you can find a Q10 product that meets all your requirements. Unfortunately, when formulating products, brands take more into consideration what’s popular/cheap than what’s effective. Another product I like, though, is Celltrex CoQ10 Complete.

Casondra B August 30, 2019 - 11:25 pm

i want to alternate a CoQ10 hyaluronic toner with my 8% glycolic toner–which one would be better to use at night and which would be better to use during the day. i was thinking CoQ10 at night because of the moisture holding properties of hyaluronic acid–what i mean is that i’m hoping it will help the night oils/retinol/moisturizer “work better”. Am I making this up or does it completely not matter which time of day i use them because they are both toners and not serums or something.

Gio September 14, 2019 - 5:28 pm

Casondra, it’s totally a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that glycolic acid makes skin more photosensitive, so use sunscreen religiously.

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