Idebenone is a biochemical molecule nearly identical to the well-known coenzyme Q10. The importance of coenzyme Q10 in improving heart failure rates, reducing free radical wear and tear on the cells, and slowing down certain kinds of neurological damage has been long known.
While coenzyme Q10 is a natural compound present in all aerobic organisms, idebenone is a synthetic molecule that is apparently a lot more potent than its nature-made cousin. It was created by a pharmaceutical company in Japan with the view of using it in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of idebenone on Alzheimer’s were limited, but as it turned out, this molecule might have other uses. In particular, skincare companies are looking into idebenone due to its powerful antioxidant properties. Essentially, it fights free radicals, which makes it such a promising component in skincare products.
Idebenone is more water-soluble than coenzyme Q10 and slightly different from it in its cellular structure and antioxidant activity. Because of this, idebenone is more effective than coenzyme Q10 when it comes to neutralizing certain types of free radicals. In particular, idebenone does a better job than coenzyme Q10 in protecting skin cells from damage caused by impaired blood flow.
The effects of idebenone on skin
Idebenone has been used as a pharmaceutical agent for decades, but has only recently arrived on the skincare scene. The parallels between coenzyme Q10 and idebenone are extended to this field as well. A few studies have shown coenzyme Q10 to be helpful in reducing wrinkles, but the samples were relatively small and the results inconclusive. It only made sense, therefore, to apply the same research to idebenone, the newer, synthetic analog to coenzyme Q10. The results, so far, are very promising.
Research has shown that idebenone offers effective protection to the skin against antioxidative stress and works to reverse the damage caused by long-term exposure to harmful UV rays. In particular, it has the ability to suppress sunburn cell formation in the skin. Usage of idebenone-containing skincare products has been found to reduce skin roughness and dryness, improve skin hydration, reduce pigment spots, and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It also led to an increase of collagen – a vital component that makes the skin look firmer and younger. All of this makes idebenone a highly promising active ingredient in the treatment of aging, sun-damaged skin.
While the chemical structure of idebenone is very similar to that of coenzyme Q10, it appears that in practical application, its anti-aging effects on the skin are a lot more pronounced.
Is an idebenone cream worth trying?
There are several established anti-free-radical agents currently in use in the skincare products market, including vitamin C derivatives, retinoids and, of course, coenzyme Q10. If you have tried some of those and are not happy with the effects, you might achieve better results with an idebenone cream. While more research is definitely needed to establish the effectiveness of idebenone in anti-aging treatment, it appears to be a promising, and some would even say potentially revolutionary skincare compound.
Are there any side effects?
Generally, using idebenone-containing skin creams is considered safe. The compound has been in clinical use since the 1980s with no recorded adverse effects. Like coenzyme Q10, idebenone is sold over the counter as a nutritional supplement, and idebenone skin creams are apparently risk-free as well. Some individuals, however, have reported undesirable side effects such as irritation, redness, and stinging. When considering the application of idebenone cream, it’s important to keep in mind your previous history with beauty products. If you have experienced adverse reactions to skin creams before, it would be best to test the cream by applying it to a small area of your skin first.
How to use idebenone cream
There is currently a number of skin creams on the market using idebenone as their main active ingredient. These products can get pricey, so it’s important to learn to maximize their effectiveness.
Before applying any idebenone-containing skin cream, open your pores by a steam treatment for ten to fifteen minutes. This will allow the cream to penetrate your skin deeper, giving you more effective results. At the end of the steaming, gently pat your skin dry. Don’t rub your face while drying, as this might cause irritation. Apply the cream to clean, dry skin, focusing on the problematic areas.
Like other creams containing antioxidants, idebenone creams must be stored away from direct sunlight, since exposure to UV rays may make the active ingredient less effective.