The Beauty Bar: Coenzyme Q10

Your body naturally produces a compound known as coenzyme Q10— aka Co-Q10, or ubiquinone. This antioxidant darling of the supplement world helps cells regenerate and protects them against damage that could lead to premature aging, heart disease, or even cancer.

Sardines, mackerel, spinach, peanuts, and sesame offer heaping amounts of this important anti-aging nutrient, which helps the body counteract environmental stressors like ultraviolet light and pollution that destroy coenzymes and other antioxidants. When your antioxidant levels drop—most dramatically after age 30—Co-Q10 is the first to plummet, causing the little engines in your cells to become less adept at repairing themselves. Research suggests this may contribute to the general slowdown in energy metabolism associated with aging. So how can Co-Q10 affect your skin? As an antioxidant, it can help repair free-radical damage, protect the skin from sun damage, and potentially limit the sag-causing destruction of collagen.

What to Take: Supplements containing at least 50 to 150 mg of Co-Q10, taken with a meal to help absorption. Or use it topically in creams, toners, or serums.

We Like: Solgar Co-Q10 100 mg softgels or New Chapter Co-Q10+ Food Complex for supplements; Avalon Organics Perfecting Facial Toner, which blends Co-Q10 with arnica, lavender, and white tea. ($11.95, 8 oz; www.avalonorganics.com)