Happy Birthday, Q10!

Successful: NIVEA skin care products with Q10
Successful: NIVEA skin care products with Q10

Beiersdorf as pioneer of Q10 skin research

It is one of the most widely used cosmetic active ingredients and today it is almost impossible to imagine a cosmetics shelf at the store without it: the coenzyme Q10. But did you know that it were Beiersdorf researchers who first made Q10 useable for skin kicking off a unique success story? 20 years ago, based on this pioneering work, Beiersdorf introduced the first NIVEA skin care products with Q10 onto the mass market – and with continuous innovations it remains successful in this area.

The story of the discovery of Q10 shows how inspiring findings from basic research can be for both science and industry: the American scientist Frederick L. Crane discovered the coenzyme in 1957. Fascinated by this molecule, the British researcher Peter Mitchell uncovered the importance and mode of action of this substance that the body produces itself – and received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for this work in 1978. 

Dr. Thomas Blatt and Dr. Julia Weise

Studies show Q10 can significantly minimize the aging process of skin cells

In the 1990s Beiersdorf researchers started their intensive studies on the modulation of skin aging processes. In the end the research team was able to reveal the essential importance of Q10 for the energy metabolism of skin cells: “Q10 is essential for life,” Dr. Thomas Blatt, Principal Scientist at Beiersdorf R&D, says. “This molecule is located in every single human cell and can activate about 95% of our entire body energy. It plays a central role in mitochondrial conversion of nutrients into cellular energy, but in its second function as an antioxidant, it is also able to scavenge damaging free radicals that accelerate skin aging,” the human biologist says.

After intensive research our scientists were also able to prove that Q10 levels in skin cells rapidly decreases with age, stress and UV radiation. “This starts a vicious circle: the skin’s metabolism is more and more error-prone accompanied by an increased generation of free radicals. As a result, the skin cells need more and more energy for repair and protection,” says Dr. Julia Weise, Lab Manager in Biological Testing. The solution: “Our work has shown that this can be compensated for when the skin’s own Q10 is made available with the help of our anti-aging products, replenishing the skin’s Q10 depot,” the skin researcher says.

Formula of Q10
Formula of Q10

Scientific exchange with international Q10 researchers

Since the introduction of the first Q10 skin care products Beiersdorf has continuously optimized the Q10 assortment of its brands. Constant new findings on the coenzyme – also gained in exchange with leading Q10 scientists and experts of other research areas – have led to continuous improvements in the Q10 formulas. In the meantime, numerous scientific studies and publications by Beiersdorf’s researchers have clearly confirmed that skin’s own Q10 levels increase following the application of NIVEA Q10 products. Also, the energy metabolism of skin cells is supported, and the number of free radicals can be verifiably reduced. And other scientific disciplines – such as in Parkinson’s and cancer research – have also profited from the numerous, fundamental findings on cellular aging from the research and development team of Beiersdorf.

Creatine formula
Formula of Creatine

Q10 as ideal platform for product formulas

Tailored to various target groups and consumer needs, Beiersdorf scientists are highly engaged day by day to further optimize the Q10 products.  As a consequence the Q10 platform is continuously developed in years-long intensive research and development work by adding highly-effective and compatible combination partners. A very successful partner for Q10 is creatine: “In numerous studies in collaboration with experts of the ETH Zürich we have analyzed the way the body’s own substance creatine works in the skin. We successfully revealed that the combination of Q10 with creatine in NIVEA skin care products can improve the effects of anti-aging applications even further,” says Dr. Thomas Blatt. These findings led in 2014 to the first patented NIVEA products with the active ingredient combination of Q10 and creatine.

Dr. Julia Weise’s team was able to certify vitamin C as another beneficial combination partner for Q10 in elaborate experiments. The findings of this work on the increased cellular respiration in skin cells through adding vitamin C together with Q10 laid a foundation for the market introduction of Q10 Energy products in 2017. 

Q10 – Quick Facts

  • Q10 is a molecule that the body produces itself, which acts as an energy supplier for cells, and is also able to scavenge free radicals, which damage skin cells and accelerate skin aging.
  • Q10 was discovered by the American scientist Frederik L. Crane in 1957.
  • The British researcher Peter Mitchell received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1978 for his findings on how Q10 works.
  • In 1998 Beiersdorf introduced the first skin care products with the active ingredient Q10 onto the mass market. Since then the Q10 assortment has been continuously updated based on latest scientific findings.

Press Contact

Corporate Communications
Beiersdorf AG
Unnastrasse 48
20245 Hamburg, Germany

Phone: +49 (0) 40 - 4909 2001