DHC PQQ skincare ($34-43, on sale, DHC.com) is the first to have coenzyme PQQ. Also called methoxatin, coenzyme PQQ is widely distributed in the skin and body (Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 1989). It may protect against long wavelength UVA rays (Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2000).
The real benefit of coenzyme PQQ is the way it targets skin cells. Most anti-aging skin care ingredients target the same portions of the skin cell: For instance, retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids increase cellular turnover through exfoliation, while vitamin C and retinoids increase skin firmness by increasing the production rate of collagen-producing skin cells called fibroblasts.
But coenzyme PQQ may works on the mitochondria of the cell (US Patent). Without getting all Biology 101 on you, the mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell. In each of [most of] the trillions of cells in your body, mitochondria generate cellular “energy”, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondria are also involved in cell signaling, differentiation, cycling, and growth (source) for all of the organs of your body, including the skin.
By using skin care with coenzyme PQQ, you may be able to stimulate the mitochondrial activity of your skin. This is revolutionary, as most skin care ingredients target the entire cell, and some target different portions of the cell altogether. This means that you should be able to use coenzyme PQQ and get additional results, because you are stimulating a different part of your skin cells.
Like many coenzymes, enzymes, and nutrients naturally occurring in the body, levels of coenzyme PQQ naturally deplete with age. This is because you produce less coenzyme PQQ as you age, and because coenzyme PQQ, an antioxidant, becomes lessened with environmental toxin exposures. If you’ve noticed a loss in luster and brightness (“cellular energy”) that even the strongest peels and exfoliants have not restored, perhaps boosting mitochondrial activity with coenzyme PQQ skin care may work. Here’s my review of the DHC PQQ skincare products:
DHC PQQ Cream ($43, DHCCare.com)
DHC PQQ Cream is a very hydrating moisturizer designed to brighten, soothe, and hydrate the skin. The hydrators include jojoba seed oil, shea butter, jojoba esters, triglycerides, and oat extract, so it’s best for normal/dry to very dry skin.
Aside from coenzyme PQQ and hydrators, DHC PQQ Cream also contains Collaxyl® IS. Also known as hexapeptide-9, this peptide has “messenger” molecules that may signal for the skin to repair and regenerate itself. It is relatively new in skin care, but becoming increasingly popular for skin rejuvenation and anti-aging (Comprehensive Aesthetic Rejuvenation).
Another exciting ingredient in DHC PQQ Cream is trehalose. A naturally occurring sugar in the skin, trehalose may protect the skin from dehydration. Studies on trehalose are limited, but it has been shown that trehalose prevents fetal skin from dehydration (Cryobiology, 2002) and skin flaps from drying out when stored (British Journal of Plastic Surgery, 1998).
DHC PQQ Cream is a white odorless cream with a medium-thick texture. Despite all of the hydrators, it glides across the skin and drinks in without any stickiness, owing to a good concentration of skin-penetrating butylene glycol. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated.
I recommend DHC PQQ Cream for nightly use with your regular skin care regimen, if you have normal/dry to very dry skin. It’s a great way to test the effects of potentially mitochondria-stimulating coenzyme PQQ for your skin!
Ingredients: water/aqua/eau, caprylic/capric triglyceride, butylene glycol, glycerin, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, squalane, pentylene glycol, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, jojoba esters, sodium acrylate/acryloyldimethyltaurate/dimethylacrylamide crosspolymer, behenyl alcohol, hydrogenated lecithin, tocotrienols, glyceryl stearate SE, phenoxyethanol, trehalose, glyceryl stearate, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, citric acid, disodium pyrroloquinolinedione tricarboxylate, sodium hyaluronate, tetradecyl inobutyroylvalylaminobutyric urea trifluoroacetate, humulus lupulus (hops) strobile, tocopherol, ethylhexylglycerin, magnesium chloride, hexapeptide-9
DHC PQQ Lotion Toner ($34.00, originally $38.00, DHC.com)
DHC PQQ Lotion Toner is a “lotion toner” because it is deeply hydrating, with hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, and soluble collagen (which hydrates the skin).
Aside from coenzyme PQQ, other beneficial ingredients include hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, licorice, and alfalfa.
Hyaluronic acid is like the ant of skin care: Hyaluronic acid is able to bind moisture in up to 1,000 times its own weight when topically applied to the skin (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2004). Unlike some moisturizing factors, which can suck moisture up from the skin and actually dry your skin out in low humidity conditions, hyaluronic acid works well in both high and low humidity conditions (In-Cosmetics).
Hyaluronic acid also helps for the skin to heal after injury (American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2005; Biologicals
On the other hand, licorice is a skin-lightening agent. Although there are more potent lighteners on the market, licorice extract is proven to be gentle, which many hyperpigmentation treatments can’t say. .
The efficacy of licorice root extract stems comes from its active component, glabridin. In varied studies, glabridin demonstrates skin-lightening properties similar to hydroquinone (HQ), interfering with the same enzyme responsible for melanin (skin pigment) formation, tyrosinase (Pigment Cell Research).
Unlike HQ, glabridin (and hence licorice) lightens without the disturbing DNA synthesis (Pigment Cell Research). So there is the potential for all of the benefits of HQ, without the potential discoloration or irritation associated with HQ.
DHC PQQ Lotion Toner absorbs into the skin quickly, owing to the butylene and pentylene glycol, but it feels hydrating and not drying on the skin, thanks to the sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid. Unlike many toners, it is not irritating, owing to the chamomile and oat extract.
I recommend DHC PQQ Lotion Toner after cleansing for those with normal to dry skin who want to try the effects of coenzyme PQQ.
Ingredients: water/aqua/eau, butylene glycol, glycerin, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, sinorhizobium meliloti ferment fi ltrate, sodium citrate, alpha-glucan, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, citric acid, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, cetyl hydroxyethyl cellulose, disodium pyrroloquinolinedione tricarboxylate, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, lecithin, soluble collagen
DHC PQQ Up Gel ($35.00 on sale, $39.00 original, DHC.com)
Ah! A coenzyme PQQ product for those with normal to oily skin at last!
DHC PQQ Up Gel is a clever serum booster, which means that it can be added to your existing serum.
Aside from the coenzyme PQQ, my favorite part of DHC PQQ Up Gel is Albizia julibrissin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent (Biochemistry and Medicinal Letters, Carbohydrate Research, Glycoconjugate Journal). Also known as the Persian Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin has demonstrated that it prevents against glycation by preventing it and by arresting the process in its tracks (US Patent).
Glycation, by the way, is one of the most significant causes of aging. While we think that the sun causes aging, the truth of the matter is, glycation makes us more susceptible to UV damage!
In glycation, excess simple carbohydrates turn into sugar in your bloodstream. These excess sugars have been linked to diabetes, adrenal fatigue, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and autoimmune disorders.
In the skin, glycation causes sugars to attach to proteins. As you can imagine, when proteins are linked to sugars instead of to one another, the skin appears less firm and smooth.
The pH in DHC PQQ Up Gel makes it suitable to mix a few drops (2-3) with acidic vitamin CE serums. I recommend doing so each morning.
Ingredients: water/aqua/eau, glycerin, butylene glycol, pentylene glycol, PEG-240/HDI copolymer bis-decyltetradeceth-20 ether, phenoxyethanol, albizia julibrissin bark extract, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, sodium citrate, C12-13 alkyl glyceryl hydrolyzed hyaluronate, alpha-glucan, citric acid, hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin, glucosyl ceramide, disodium pyrroloquinolinedione tricarboxylate, palmitoyl tripeptide-5, palmitoyl tripeptide-38
Coenzyme PQQ is a new ingredient that may uniquely work on the mitochondria, the energy-producer, of the skin cell (US Patent). In turn, the skin may seem brighter, more “alive,” and more hydrated.
I recommend DHC PQQ Cream and DHC PQQ Lotion Toner for normal/dry to very dry skin, and DHC PQQ Up Gel for all skin types. I especially love DHC PQQ Up Gel, because it can be mixed with your regular serum, and Albizia julibrissin may further help to prevent glycation.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried DHC PQQ and like it? Let me know in Comments!
A special thanks to the Nail Spa on Forbes in Pittsburgh for letting us take photos there!