Superfood for the skin


  • Current study provides new insights into the body’s own coenzyme
  • Age-related depletion of Q10 in skin cells contributes causally to skin aging and weakens connective tissue structures
  • The study shows that a Q10 deficit can be replenished and a rejuvenation of the cells is thus possible

Q10 care products
NIVEA Q10 Face Care range

The best way to keep skin young and healthy for as long as possible is prevention. But even if you do everything right, you can’t completely stop the natural aging process. The good news is that there are effective ways to positively influence the passage of time. Beiersdorf has been doing this for more than 20 years with its Q10 care products, making it a pioneer in the mass market. In a recent study, a team of researchers gained new insights into the body’s own coenzyme. The results were published in March 2021 in a Q10 special issue of the scientific journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine. A success story that shows: Even if you already know a lot, it is worthwhile to continue researching. 

Improve skin vitality in a targeted manner

“We never run out of work. Even in Q10 research, we still don’t know all the details,” says Dr. Julia Weise. Since 2015, Weise, who holds a doctorate in biology, has headed a cell biology laboratory in the “Biological Testing” department at Beiersdorf. She and her team drive product claims with in vitro tests [in vitro = in the test tube] for the active ingredients in NIVEA and Eucerin products. The recently completed study on coenzyme Q10 and its positive influence on skin cells once again takes anti-aging research a step forward. For the first time, the scientists were able to prove that the age-related decrease of Q10 in skin cells causally contributes to aging and also weakens connective tissue structures. “With this knowledge, we understand the key function of Q10 in skin aging even better and can thus improve the vitality of the skin cells in a more targeted manner,” says Dr. Julia Weise. 

Q10 care products

International cooperation

Coenzyme Q10 is essential for our life. It is found in every single human cell, where it is jointly responsible for energy production and at the same time acts as a powerful antioxidant against so-called free radicals. But you can already guess: Over the years, the useful vital substance decreases. Renowned experts around the world are studying the consequences for our body. Among them is Luca Tiano, professor at the University of Ancona, Italy, and board member of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association (ICQA). “We have been working with him at Beiersdorf for about six years,” reports Dr. Julia Weise. “In 2019, using a skin aging cell model, we were able to prove that there is a direct connection between the decrease in Q10 and so-called cell senescence [Latin senescere = to grow old, to age]. While our cells divide and renew themselves regularly when we are young, this ability diminishes in cells with less Q10.” But that’s not all, adds Alexandra Vogelsang, R&D Senior Engineer: “Senescent cells don’t just stop dividing. They even secrete inflammatory messenger substances that have a detrimental effect on the cells and their environment.”

Turning back the clock

For the scientists, the findings were so exciting that they continued their collaborative work. The question that drove the team: Can we rejuvenate the cells again if we give them back Q10? In other words, can we help them to help themselves against harmful influences such as UV radiation, stress or environmental toxins? Alexandra Vogelsang summarizes the most important result of the recently published study: “Using our skin aging cell model, we were able to prove that a Q10 deficit can indeed be replenished and cells are rejuvenated as a result. Even in the mitochondria, the Q10 level is raised again. As so-called powerhouses of the cells, these convert nutrients and oxygen into cell energy with the help of Q10.” 

Study Team
Dr. Julia Weise (Head of cell biology laboratory (“Biological Category Support”), Alexandra Vogelsang (R&D Senior Engineer) and Sebastian Kordes (R&D Engineer)

In their experiments, the scientists were able to show another aspect: The coenzyme Q10 has a positive influence on the production of important components of connective tissue such as collagen and elastin. “If these decrease, the skin loses firmness and elasticity. This is a process that starts at the age of about 20,” explains Sebastian Kordes. The R&D Engineer is still at the beginning of his career and did research on the project as part of his master’s thesis: “It was a great opportunity to accompany this study and actively help to drive it forward. The topic is highly exciting and our results can open up new interesting perspectives in the development of anti-aging products.” 

Further information

If you want to dive deeper into the actual study, you can find it in the peer-reviewed article at Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Information about Q10 is also available at the International Coenzyme Q10 Association site. This non-profit organization promotes basic and applied research on the coenzyme and supports knowledge transfer. Every two to three years, members meet for an international exchange of expertise. Beiersdorf AG will host this meeting in May 2022.

Q10 History

In 1957, the American scientist Frederick L. Crane discovered the coenzyme Q10, which has been the subject of more detailed research for around 60 years. In the 1990s, Beiersdorf scientists were among the first to investigate the effects of Q10 on the skin. The company has been using Q10 in NIVEA skin care products since 1998, making it a pioneer in the mass market. Today, coenzyme Q10 is one of the most important active ingredients in anti-aging skin care and is used in face creams, body lotions, and serums.