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What is Idebenone Cream?

By Lynndee Molyneaux
Updated May 21, 2024
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While studying Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) — an antioxidant that naturally occurs in all aerobic organisms and plays an important role in cellular energy production — during the 1970s and '80s, researchers began to synthesize analogs and derivatives of CoQ10 to study as well. Idebenone is one of the synthetic derivatives that researchers produced during this time. Like CoQ10, idebenone is an antioxidant and is quite similar in structure — in fact, it can replace CoQ10 in cellular energy production — but it differs in that it is more water soluble. Since a few small studies have determined CoQ10 to improve wrinkles, some skincare product companies assume that its derivatives, such as idebenone, will also improve wrinkles. This has led to the production of idebenone cream — a skincare cream that is purported to have anti-wrinkle properties.

Although idebenone is quite similar in structure to CoQ10, there are some important differences. Idebenone is better at neutralizing certain types of free radical damage while CoQ10 is better at neutralizing other types. For example, idebenone is better than CoQ10 at fighting the free-radical damage caused by reduced blood flow but it may be more likely to allow free radicals to leak into cell mitochondria. Since differences between these two antioxidants do exist, one cannot assume that idebenone cream will effectively treat wrinkles based only on the fact that CoQ10 has been found to improve wrinkles in some cases.

Few studies have been done comparing idebenone cream with CoQ10 cream as a topical wrinkle treatment. Until more studies are done, it is unclear whether idebenone cream is truly an effective wrinkle fighter or not. There likely is, however, no harm in trying idebenone cream. Since it was first used clinically in the 1980s, idebenone has had a good safety record.

People who have had no luck with the proven treatments for improving wrinkles, such as vitamin C and tretinoin, may want to continue their search for an effective anti-wrinkle product and try idebenone cream. Though it is a risk and is relatively expensive, idebenone has potential as an antioxidant. It may or may not be worth a try. Users can conduct their own experiments and compare idebenone cream to other anti-aging skincare treatments that they have used. Since studies have not yet determined the efficacy of idebenone as a wrinkle fighter, adventurous consumers may want to try it for themselves and see whether it works on an individual basis.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By sunshined — On Dec 04, 2011

I have always used high quality skin care products on my face hoping to delay wrinkles and the signs of aging.

I performed a test on one of the anti-aging products I was using years ago to see if it really was doing any good.

Before applying the cream to my face, I would consistently apply a few drops to the top of my left hand.

After using this on my face, I would rub in whatever cream was left on this hand. After a few weeks, I could tell a noticeable difference between my left and right hand.

The left hand looked and felt much smoother. This way I felt confident that the money I was spending on this product was worth it.

I was pretty excited when they came out with idebenone cream since I always like to try out new things.

I didn't have a chance to see if this little test would work with this cream or not, as I ended up having idebenone side effects. My face became red and itchy after using if for a few days.

This was disappointing to me, but at least I know the product I had been using all along was doing a good job.

By SarahSon — On Dec 04, 2011

@burcinc - I paid around $80 for a jar of idebenone serum. This was about $25 more than I paid for other similar wrinkle creams.

It took me several months to use up the whole bottle, but I honestly couldn't tell a difference after that long.

I didn't have any side effects of any kind while using it, but just didn't have any noticeable results.

I wouldn't mind paying a little bit extra if I felt it worked better. In the end, I went back to the other anti-aging cream I had been using for several years.

It's too bad there isn't an easier and less expensive way to get rid of these wrinkles. I don't really want to do any kind of surgery, so will just continue using the moisturizers and creams.

By Mae82 — On Dec 03, 2011

@Sara007 - I absolutely love the Youth Cream Anti-wrinkle with 4% Idebenome Coq10, as I find it does wonders for my fine lines and also helps with skin puffiness. Plus, you don't have to buy a vitamin cream too, as it is loaded with things like vitamin A, C, D, E and B12.

It isn't that expensive though, as I only pay $34.95 for a 50ml bottle, which usually lasts me about 3 months. I use it sparingly and do my best to make sure that only my worst spots are touched with it. I don't understand why some people slather their whole faces with cream when it isn't necessary.

Just be care of idebenone side effects though. I tried a different brand and I got a nasty rash from it. I suppose it depends on what the idebenone is mixed with.

By Sara007 — On Dec 03, 2011

Can anyone recommend a brand of anti-aging cream with idebenone in it?

I have been looking for different skin night creams that will help with my newfound wrinkles. I want something that works, but at the same time I don't want to break the bank.

I have seen a few idebenone products on the shelves but some of them were very expensive. I think that I will need a brand that falls in the under $50 mark for a package that will last a few months. Also, are there places where I can buy idebenone cream cheaper than in the stores? I am always up for shopping around for the best price.

By burcinc — On Dec 02, 2011

@turquoise-- I'm so glad to hear that there is something really similar to CoQ10 on the market. How does the price of idebenone cream compare to creams with CoQ10?

I actually like CoQ10 creams, but the brand I used caused an allergic reaction. My skin became very irritated and red so I had to stop using it. The other downside to CoQ10 is that it's pretty expensive.

I can't wait to try idebenone cream, I hope that I won't be allergic to it. And if it is more affordable, it might just be the anti-wrinkle cream I'm looking for.

Has anyone else tried idebenone skin cream? What has been your experience? I would love to hear about it!

By ysmina — On Dec 01, 2011

I didn't know that there is a cream version of idebenone. I know about idebenone supplement, I read about it for my grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I know that idebenone supplement is claimed to be beneficial for degenerative diseases and as an antioxidant.

But it's pretty similar to the cream in that there is not enough research on it. After doing some reading about it, I felt that it was better for my grandfather to use Q10 because it is better known about and it's been shown to benefit Alzheimer's patients.

I don't know anything about the cream, but I personally wouldn't want to use it if there is almost no research done on it and no one can even guarantee that it's going to help. Plus, there could be side effects that we don't know about.

By turquoise — On Nov 30, 2011

I've tried Coenzyme Q10 creams before and didn't see much of a difference with them. I heard about idebenone face cream from my friend who said that it really reduced her wrinkles. I decided to try it and after several months, I really do see improvement of my skin. Especially the crow's feet around my eyes are looking much better.

One thing I want to mention though is that the idebenone cream I'm using has other ingredients in addition to idebenone like emu oil and vitamin C. So I'm not sure if the other ingredients are responsible for these results or if it's the idebenone. It might just be both.

I definitely think that idebenone cream is worth a try if other creams aren't working for you. Just give it some time, you won't see results until after several months.

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