Ubiquinone’s antioxidant action in skin was confirmed in vitro by sophisticated ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) (169). Increased antioxidants result in decreased UPE. Elderly volar skin demonstrated 33% reduction in antioxidant activity when compared with young skin. This was corrected after one week of twice-daily topical application of 0.3% ubiquinone. After UVA irradiation, a decrease in antioxidant activity was noted; this loss was significantly corrected with topical 0.3% ubiquinone.
The efficacy of ubiquinol in reversing photoaging was further studied clinically (168). Ubiquinol cream (0.3%) was applied to one-half of the face and placebo to the other once daily for six months. Casts were made of the periorbital rhytides. The improvement can be appreciated in the photographs shown in Figure 15. Quantitative microtopography demonstrated a 27% reduction in the mean wrinkle depth.
Another clinical measure of photoaging is stratum corneum cell size. With deceased cell turnover time in aged skin, comeocytes become larger. Treatment once daily for six months with ubiquinone cream decreased corneocyte size equivalent to rejuvenation of 20 years (168). Thus, ubiquinone is be an effective antioxidant protecting the dermal matrix from both intrinsic and extrinsic aging, making it a potentially important cosmeceutical.
Nutritional antioxidants represent a novel category of cosmeceuticals. There is no doubt that higher levels are achieved in the skin through topical application than with oral
supplementation, thus providing a protective antioxidant reservoir in the skin. Current research indicates that topical vitamin E and C and L-SeMet provide UV photoprotection and reverse photoaging. Ubiquinone and genistein may provide photoprotection. In addition, they as well as topical a-lipoic acid may retard both intrinsic aging and photoaging. There is further evidence that a-lipoic acid and ubiquinone may also reverse photoaging. Thus, topical antioxidants continue to be an important area of cosmeceutical research.