Scientists have found that topically applied coenzyme Q10 helps repair this damage and reverse some of the outward effects of time.
Oxidative Stress Accelerates Skin Aging
When we’re young, skin uses its own natural supply of antioxidants to counter oxidative stress.1,2
But aging and chronic sun exposure deplete the skin’s antioxidant reservoir.3,4
Oxidative stress left unchecked results in inflammation,5 damaged lipids,6 dysfunctional mitochondria,7 glycated proteins,6,8,9 and mutated DNA.6,10
This compromises the growth and maintenance of youthful skin cells.
Over time, visible signs of premature aging appear, including wrinkles and sagging skin.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a lipid-soluble compound found throughout the body.
In skin, it is present mostly in the outermost layer. There, it acts as an antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage.11,12
In one study, pretreating human skin cells with CoQ10 before exposure to ultraviolet radiation decreased DNA damage by up to 70%, prolonging cell survival and protecting against skin cancer.12
CoQ10 is used by the mitochondria, the power plants of cells, to produce the primary energy source used for skin maintenance and repair.13,14
Human skin cells treated with CoQ10 show increases in energy metabolism.15,16
In a preclinical study, CoQ10 promoted the healthy proliferation of normal and aged fibroblasts.17
Fibroblasts are cells that make collagen and the skin’s extracellular matrix. Collagen is essential to maintain skin structure and integrity.12,17,18
CoQ10 also prevents collagen from being degraded by inhibiting the enzyme collagenase.12
Together, these beneficial effects diminish the appearance of unsightly wrinkles.
In one clinical trial, 20 mature participants with photodamaged skin topically applied CoQ10 around one eye and a placebo around the other eye, once daily.
After six months, there was a 27% reduction in mean wrinkle depth on the CoQ10-treated side, compared to the control side.12
Another clinical study also showed that topical CoQ10 reduced wrinkle grade scores, compared to baseline.
Goji Berry Extract
Skin stem cells secrete exosomes, which shuttle information and material to other skin cells.19
Exosomes signal fibroblasts to produce new collagen and elastin that give skin its firmness and elasticity.19
As we age, the number and function of skin stem cells decline.20 This leads to a loss of collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles and sagging.
Lycium barbarum (goji berry) is a fruit-bearing plant that grows in Europe and Asia.21
When aged human skin stem cells are treated with an extract of Lycium barbarum, they show increased vitality, exosome production, and greater activity of collagen-elastin gene expression.22
In one clinical trial, compared to placebo, topical use ofLycium barbarum stem cell extract reduced wrinkle depth and decreased facial sagging.22
Orchid-Derived Stem Cells
Calanthe discolor is a species of orchid native to Asia. Its stem cells have been shown to increase the output of multiple growth factors in skin stem cells.23
These growth factors activate tissue repair and regeneration. In a lab study, Calanthe discolor (orchid-derived) stem cells:23
- Increased fibroblast proliferation by 220%,
- Increased fibroblast migration by 144%,
- Increased type I collagen (the most abundant kind) by 53%, and
- Increased elastin by 81%.
In a clinical study, 26 participants with aging facial skin topically applied Calanthe discolor (orchid) stem cell extract or a placebo once daily to the target area.
After 56 days, compared to the placebo, Calanthe discolor led to a:23
- 17% increase in skin firmness,
- 10% increase in skin elasticity,
- 13.7% increase in youthful skin glow,
- 15% decrease in the number of wrinkles, and
- 12% decrease in total wrinkle surface.
These improvements were accompanied by a lifting effect of the upper eyelids that rejuvenated the appearance of the eyes.23
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Three Nutrients to Repair Damaged Skin
- In the skin, oxidative stress damages cellular structures vital for cell renewal and repair.
- Over time, this results in wrinkles and saggy skin.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential nutrient that protects against oxidative stress and increases energy metabolism in skin cells to enhance tissue regeneration.
- Lycium barbarum (goji berry) stem cell extract stimulates the activity of aged skin stem cells to reduce wrinkles, improve skin density, and decrease sagging.
- Stem cell extract from an orchid called Calanthe discolor increases the synthesis of growth factors in aged skin stem cells, boosting output of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep skin firm and healthy.
- All three of these compounds have been combined into one topical formula to create firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
Oxidative stress accelerates skin aging.
Research shows that CoQ10 and stem cell extracts from two plants, Lycium barbarum and Calanthe discolor, help protect against oxidative stress and repair the damage it inflicts.
The result is reduced wrinkle depth and less skin sagging.
All three compounds have been combined into a topical formula to enable visibly firmer, younger-looking skin.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.
Gary Goldfaden, MD, is a clinical dermatologist and lifetime member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is the founder of Academy Dermatology in Hollywood, FL, and Cosmesis Skin Care. Dr. Goldfaden is a member of the Life Extension® Medical Advisory Board.
Reprinted with permission of Life Extension®- Originally published August 2021
Read the original article on Life Extension’s website – https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2021/8/topical-coq10-for-skin
- Chen L, Hu JY, Wang SQ. The role of antioxidants in photoprotection: a critical review. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Nov;67(5): 1013-24.
- Pai VV, Shukla P, Kikkeri NN. Antioxidants in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2014 Apr;5(2):210-4.
- Steenvoorden DP, van Henegouwen GM. The use of endogenous antioxidants to improve photoprotection. J Photochem Photobiol B. 1997 Nov;41(1-2):1-10.
- Peres PS, Terra VA, Guarnier FA, et al. Photoaging and chronological aging profile: Understanding oxidation of the skin. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2011 May 3;103(2):93-7.
- Hruza LL, Pentland AP. Mechanisms of UV-induced inflammation. J Invest Dermatol. 1993 Jan;100(1):35S-41S.
- Briganti S, Picardo M. Antioxidant activity, lipid peroxidation and skin diseases. What’s new. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2003 Nov;17(6):663-9.
- Stout R, Birch-Machin M. Mitochondria’s Role in Skin Ageing. Biology (Basel). 2019 May 11;8(2):29.
- Quan T, Qin Z, Xia W, et al. Matrix-degrading metalloproteinases in photoaging. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2009 Aug;14(1):20-4.
- Pittayapruek P, Meephansan J, Prapapan O, et al. Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Photoaging and Photocarcinogenesis. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Jun 2;17(6).
- Markowicz-Piasecka M, Sikora J, Szydlowska A, et al. Metformin – a Future Therapy for Neurodegenerative Diseases : Theme: Drug Discovery, Development and Delivery in Alzheimer’s Disease Guest Editor: Davide Brambilla. Pharm Res. 2017 Dec;34(12):2614-27.
- Shindo Y, Witt E, Han D, et al. Enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants in epidermis and dermis of human skin. J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Jan;102(1):122-4.
- Hoppe U, Bergemann J, Diembeck W, et al. Coenzyme Q10, a cutaneous antioxidant and energizer. Biofactors. 1999;9(2-4):371-8.
- Lenaz G, Fato R, Castelluccio C, et al. The function of coenzyme Q in mitochondria. Clin Investig. 1993;71(8 Suppl):S66-70.
- Saini R. Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011 Jul;3(3):466-7.
- Schniertshauer D, Muller S, Mayr T, et al. Accelerated Regeneration of ATP Level after Irradiation in Human Skin Fibroblasts by Coenzyme Q10. Photochem Photobiol. 2016 May;92(3):488-94.
- Knott A, Achterberg V, Smuda C, et al. Topical treatment with coenzyme Q10-containing formulas improves skin’s Q10 level and provides antioxidative effects. Biofactors. 2015 Nov-Dec;41(6):383-90.
- Muta-Takada K, Terada T, Yamanishi H, et al. Coenzyme Q10 protects against oxidative stress-induced cell death and enhances the synthesis of basement membrane components in dermal and epidermal cells. Biofactors. 2009 Sep-Oct;35(5):435-41.
- Briggaman RA, Wheeler CE, Jr. The epidermal-dermal junction. J Invest Dermatol. 1975 Jul;65(1):71-84.
- Ferreira ADF, Gomes DA. Stem Cell Extracellular Vesicles in Skin Repair. Bioengineering (Basel). 2018 Dec 30;6(1):4.
- Ahmed AS, Sheng MH, Wasnik S, et al. Effect of aging on stem cells. World J Exp Med. 2017 Feb 20;7(1):1-10.
- Ma ZF, Zhang H, Teh SS, et al. Goji Berries as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Their Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019;2019:2437397.
- Available at: https://www.phytocelltec.ch/en/the-active-ingredients/phytocelltec-goji. Accessed May 13, 2021.
- Available at: https://docplayer.net/88810301-Orchistem-tm-orchidstemcells-improving-cell-communication-firming-skin-stem-cells-anti-aging-eyeopener-glow-byewrinkles-rejuvenating.html. Accessed May 13, 2021.