Coenzyme Q10: good for skin but can give rashes too

It took some itchy rashes to realize that Coenzyme Q10 just isn’t suitable for me even though it is said to provide great skin benefits. What a bummer right? And it’s kind of strange considering that Coenzyme Q10 or simply CoQ10, is a powerful antioxidant naturally found in our human cells that helps convert food into energy. The reason why I was certain it caused my rashes was because when I stopped taking the particular supplement contain CoQ10, the itching stop. And when I resumed again, the itchy rashes returned.

CoQ10 may not be suitable for all
I’m not sure if the rashes was a result of the dosage of the vitamin or because it reacted with other supplements I was taking at the same time. Nonetheless, I’ve decided that CoQ10, despite the various ways it is said to benefit our skin, is just not right for me. My experience also brought back memories of accompanying a friend who developed a more severe case of rashes after taking a particular brand of supplement that also contains CoQ10. So even though many have raved about the benefits that CoQ10 provides their skin, this vitamin isn’t suitable for all.

Rash reports from CoQ10 users
In my research into Coenzyme Q10, I’ve found that there are no serious toxicity associated with its use. However, at certain dosage, it presented some symptoms and rashes was one of them (source). I also found this post-marketing study of rashes among people who take Coenzyme q10. Of the 299 people who have reported to have side effects when taking Coenzyme q10, 20 people (6.69%) have reported a rash condition. Hence, my suspicion of CoQ10 causing my itchy rash isn’t unfounded.

Skin benefits from ingesting CoQ10
My experience is most probably rare though because for most people, CoQ10 is not only a potent antioxidant that removes free radicals, but it helps keep their skin cells healthy by stimulating collagen production and even protecting against UV damage and photo-aging. So it has become a coveted ingredient in the skin care industry and has found its place in topical products too. And I’ve used skin care products containing this ingredient without any adverse reactions though.

Be careful with your choices
The reason I am writing this is not to discredit Coenzyme Q10, but rather to let others know that they should be careful in their choices, even those that are recommended here at Viva Woman. While some supplements may work well for others, it may not work so great for some simply because our body conditions differ. It’s best to read up more about the product or the ingredients before committing yourself to trying. However, should you get started on something new and find yourself developing any adverse conditions, do stop instead of continuing with the product.

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  1. says

    How was your rashes like? Hmm…this got me thinking, could my rashes/ezema around my mouth could have triggered by my chlorella supps?
    Alexandra last post is: Review: Moogoo Milk Shampoo

    • Sesame says

      Small red patches around my fingers, hand and back that caused me to scratch. My friend’s experience was very bad…she had eczema like breakout on her face.

  2. says

    Although ingredients like CoQ10 are advertised with such great benefits I try to steer clear. I try for simple products that clean and moisturize. It’s easier that way.

    It’s definitely a good thing that you can decipher what ingredient was giving you the rash, usually that’s the hardest part to figure out.

    • Sesame says

      This is a supplement so it’s easier to detect…it would be harder if it’s a skincare cosmetic product.

  3. SF says

    There are so many possibilities a rash can develop. What are the other ingredients in the supplement? What is used to stabilise the enzyme in this product versus other products could be different too. While you may feel you have evidence, the conclusion still sounds like ‘a shot in the dark’. Regardless, thanks for sharing!

    • Sesame says

      Yes, true…you have a point that there could be other ingredients causing issues too. The list is quite short with ingredients like aloe vera for example so I singled out CoQ10, which is considered a key ingredient. The dosage is 600mg I believe so that maybe too high for me. It could possibly be a shot in the dark but I’ll definitely be more careful trying supplements containing this ingredient going forward.

  4. says

    I’ve been using CoQ10 masks and my skin feels and absolutely great. But then, it’s not supplement which you have to intake it into your body. Perhaps you’re the sensitive body type..?..

    • Sesame says

      It works okay for me with topical application. I guess my body cannot handle the vitamin internally.

  5. says

    I finally succumb to supplements! Right now, I’m taking fish oil with omega 3 (no adverse effect up to now. Fingers crossed). When I become more adventurous, I might go for other choices like CoQ10. I hope I won’t have rashes like you do 😛
    Amanda last post is: Review: Marie Veronique Organics Anti-Aging Body Oil

    • Sesame says

      Supplements are important in my opinion but it can be tricky to find what works. I’ve had good experience with fish oil for a while but suddenly, I broke out eating them. So now, I have stay away from fish oil too.

  6. says

    My mum has eczema on and off on her arms. I just told her about your post (my parents both take CoQ10 supplements) and to do a trial to see if they aggravate her eczema by stopping for a time and then taking again.

    Thanks for the post.
    Audris last post is: Purchase of the Week: BCBG Femme Fatale Large Convertible Satchel in Smoke

  7. says

    actually the reason why am frequenting your blog these days is because I am demotivated to look good for I think about 2 years now.. its probably because I am a single mom and too busy caring for my 6 year old daughter, my mother who has been battling cancer for 2 years now using natural therapies…. and not bothered (at least not yet).. that I am single and probably will remain single… not dating.. just going to work and office everyday.. there is really no reason for me to look good.. except that my daughter seems to start noticing my looks and telling me I have to wear make-up, fix my hair and wear nice clothes.. just like the pretty moms in school.. so what the heck.. I think I should do a rain check and see what other moms are doing in the looks department… glad to see that your beauty blog is trying to be 100% all natural without being totally isolated from reality (that we cant be all natural in this day and age anyway).. I have not had manicures or pedicures for a year already.. my grey hair has started showing again (my last salon appointment was 3 months ago).. yeah I have to pull myself to a salon for my daughter;s sake and so that my mother have to stop nagging me about “not letting myself go”… the good news is I am now improving my diet and starting to exercise again… if not for the looks but at least for health’s sake..
    by the way, I am 36 years old… if that even is related to not beign motivated to look good..

    • Sesame says

      Your daughter is a good motivation to make an effort to look better, the fact that she wants you to! I know how life and reality can drain us of our time and energy for ourselves but do keep some “me time”. I’m glad and thankful that you read my blog… :) I think hair is quite important to maintain well and if you eat well, take good care of your skin, the rest are secondary. You can try doing pedicures yourself…I do that. However, I don’t do manicures often because my hands are needed for housework and so it’s kind of difficult to maintain.

      As for your age, you’re young! I’ve seen people who are older and very motivated and so I believe we can do better! :)

  8. KT says

    I have had severe eczema since a child & I have used vit E for 30 years & I seldom had a breakout since using the Vit E…UNTIL I started to use COQ 10. I’m breaking out on my hands, and this week getting rash on the corner of my mouth.Been taking COQ 10 for about 3 months and the past 3 weeks noticed the break outs. Going to stop taking it, even the cortisone isn’t working. Glad I read this post, I now remember why I quit using it 10 years ago.

  9. T F says

    Wow I wish I would have found this 4 months ago. I’ve suffered numerous trips to the dermatologist , a trip to Urgent and finally the emergency room. The rashes would come and go with such a fury. The first bout was relieved with cortisone creams and finally a steroid injection, the second a steroid cream, then finally the last rash was not responding to anything….who would have suspected a vitamin I’ve been taking? Then the doctor asked if it could be a new vitamin or one with a dye in it. As soon as I discontinued the CoQ10 relief came. I will begin to retake my other vitamins in a few days.

    • Sesame says

      So it happened for you too and yours was pretty severe! Good thing your doc asked you the right question.

  10. says

    i tried samsclub’s “simply right” coq10 100 mg for the last two days, my blood pressure unexpectedly went through the roof
    i stopped !
    what was the cause ?
    unrelated ?, co-incidental ? don’t know
    impurities in the softgel tablets ? don’t know
    no easy way of telling
    maybe i’ll call the fda and offer to send them some tablets.
    do you think they’d be interested ?
    if anything was proven would anyone from the pharmaceutical industry be sent to the slammer for 20 years, or so ?
    they’ll never get prison
    the association between the fda and big pharma is a well known revolving door, corrupt on both sides
    the fda as an alleged regulator is totally compromised and corrupted
    totally corrupt ?
    yep !
    similar to the well known fact that a woman can’t be a little bit pregnant

    industry shills don’t waste your time here with your bs

    usatoday, had an article by kim painter, nutritional supplements, which is an annual $50 billion industry, referenced a jama study showing “Vitamin D pills sold in stores contained 9% to 140% of dose on label”

    samsclub would only be a minor villain in this deliberately unregulated wild west pharmaceutical industry, which is the outgrowth of a deformed politcal system owned by the lawless corporate oligarchs ie who’re totally outside the rule of law
    the political system adamantly resists legislating in this field, and whatever weak regulations exist, are seldom enforced, and never criminally
    our latest president and his enforcement sidekick, obama and holder, never see any evil by their masters
    obama fatuously asserted he wants to look forward
    how convenient, and sychophantic, because as you all know crimes are an assessment of past behavior,
    he clearly images what a clever boy he was in sidestepping offending his masters

    as you all know this is not an isolated instance
    it’s the same with the banksters,wall street, the war machine, big pharma, big oil, etc which owns the US including the political system

    it’s a lot to hang on a couple of tablets, which may or may not be responsible
    but anytime such events occur it inevitably brings up the question of the integrity of the political system

    i’ve read that only seven or eight percent of the population have onfidence in the ruling class’s politicians

    if that’s an honest result, then those seven or eight percent must be total morons.

  11. says

    Very interesting read. My husband and I both developed rash on our hands after starting a CoQ10 supplementation course. Eczema-like peeling cracked sore fingertips and web. Cleared up almost completely a couple of days after we stopped the supplement … Coincidence? hmmm …

  12. Denise says

    Hi Sesame, I started on the Q10 supplements 3 weeks ago to see if it could help with energy levels, along with the other supplements I always take. I am known to be severely hypersensitive to medication, but had not expected this with Q10. i started at a dose of 200mg daglig (recommended by a doctor) and now I am down to 100mg the last two days. The side affects I discovered to be related to Q10 are photosensibility and increasing headaches :-(. When I did some research on the supplements I could see that these are very rare sideeffects. However I often get the rare side effects to medications.

    But now after reading your article I can see that it must also be the reason for the sudden outbreak in my eczema the last couple of weeks. i have it on my eyelid and on my hands and elbows. The headaches have improved after the reduction in dosage, but i am still feeling photosensitive. I will stick it out for a couple of weeks more, to see if it improves when my system gets use to the supplement.

  13. anne says

    I love how coq10 speeds up my metabolism and helps me lose weight, BUT I have also developed blotchy, painful, itchy skin rashes in my elbow, between my legs, and on my rear! I hate to give up. Do you know of an alternative?

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