Allow us to introduce you to the latest skin-care ingredient that’s blowing up in the beauty world: exosomes. If recent skin-care launches are any indication, exosomes are about to be the next big thing, so we consulted with three board-certified dermatologists to share what you need to know about the buzzword.
Unlike other skin-care ingredients that are derived from plants and nature, exosomes are actually taken directly from human stem cells. Below, we break down everything, from what exosomes actually are to who should use them, how to use them, and even the best skin-care products that utilize them.
What Are Exosomes?
“Exosomes are nanosized small membrane vesicles that are secreted by many cells in the body and can carry information from one cell to another,” says dermatologist Dustin Portela, DO, FAAD. They are derived from human stem cells and can be used in skin-care products or applied directly into the skin via an injection. They’re made up of many different components including “peptides, amino acids, lipids, growth factors, and more,” according to dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD.
Essentially, exosomes are transmitters, sending “genetic information and proteins to other cells,” says dermatologist Julie E. Russak, MD, FAAD. They target healing and repair and use cell-to-cell communication, resulting in regeneration from the inside out. In layman’s terms, exosomes communicate with other cells in the body, looking for areas that need help and mending and send signals to “unhealthy” cells.
Benefits of Exosomes in Skin Care
So how exactly do exosomes work for the skin? While exosomes are still in the early stages of being studied and applied to over-the-counter skin-care products, there are already tons of advantages to incorporating them into your everyday routine. A study by Biomaterials Research called “Overcome the barriers of the skin: exosome therapy” states, “The key benefits [in skin care] of exosomes are the high stability, nonimmune rejection, and direct stimulation of target cells.”
Targeting signs of aging, pigmentation, and even rosacea, exosomes can treat multiple concerns. Dr. Portela says, “Exosomes in the skin may also help enhance wound healing, fight pigmentation, and increase protection of the skin against free radicals. In many cases, exosomes are applied to the skin by a dermatologist or aesthetician after a procedure like microneedling or laser treatments.” Exosomes are applied both topically and via injection. Injections are typically for patients seeking help with hair loss, while topical applications can be done after microneedling appointments in an office or from the comfort of your own home.
Again, these are taken from human stem cells, which are extracted directly from bone marrow. Dr. Russak says, “They are small vesicles secreted from stem cells that contain signaling molecules that are rich in proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates to send signals to surrounding cells and stimulate regeneration. Most of the initial studies on exosomes come from wound healing, where exosomes have been shown to help improve cellular proliferation, re-epithelialization, and collagen remodeling.” It’s pretty clear that exosomes have vital regenerative properties, so if you have any skin-care concerns regarding regeneration, whether that be signs of aging, hair loss, or discoloration, they can be of major help.
There’s also exosome therapy to take into consideration, which is not topical, but rather, applied via injection, typically at a dermatologist’s office. This type of therapy is usually reserved for patients experiencing major hair loss or thinning, which is further described in the “Overcome the barriers of the skin: exosome therapy” study.
Who Should Use Exosomes?
Virtually anybody is a candidate for using exosomes, but people experiencing aging (who want to stop, or at least slow the process) will appreciate the benefits of exosomes and exosome therapy. According to Dr. Portela, “Exosome technology is still in its infancy for skin care. There are few high-quality exosome formulas, and those that are available are likely to be more expensive.” So if you’re willing to spend the money on your moneymaker (aka, your skin), it just might be worth it.
Dr. Russak further explains instances where exosomes can be used: “Exosomes have been shown to stimulate cellular proliferation, re-epithelialization, collagen remodeling, and hair regrowth.” If hair loss is something you’re experiencing, exosomes could be a good place to start. From hair thinning to complete hair loss, exosomes can stimulate hair growth.
How to Use Exosomes in Your Skin-Care Routine
In the past, exosome therapy has been used in conjunction with in-office treatments, but, with recent advancements, there are now at-home options that have been proven not only to be safe, but effective, too. And if you want to see real, successful results, take Dr. Graf’s advice into consideration: “These skin-care products have to be used regularly to see results, although the exact regularity of products depends on each one, so it’s important to follow your exact product’s instructions. But most will require daily use to peak results.”
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some skin-care products that utilize exosomes from home, just continue below for some recommendations.
Best Products With Exosomes
Stripes The Power Move ($85)
Naomi Watts’s skin-care line, Stripes, is a cost-effective option when it comes to products that utilize exosomes. The Power Move is a plumping and hydrating facial serum loaded with hyaluronic acid, ectoine, and squalane, which work together to treat concerns of dull, dry, and aging skin. This is perfect for anyone with mature skin looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Plated Skin Science Daily Serum ($267)
Ideal for daily use and all skin types, this serum from Plated Skin uses exosomes to target skin tone and texture. Free of gluten and parabens, this product says you can expect younger-looking skin with continued use.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Exoso-Metic Face Serum ($510)
This serum is expensive, yes, but the results from real patients listed on Dr. Sturm’s website speak for themselves. Gisela E. said in a review, “Already, a week from start, I feel and see a huge difference. Skin around mouth and jawline are tightening up, my skin has a new glow. Together with exoso-metic eye serum, it has made such an improvement on my skin. [I’ve] been using Sturm products since 2018, and I can promise you I will never stop.” This serum uses active ingredients, including exosomes, vitamin E, and bergamot fruit oil, all of which work together to reduce hyperpigmentation, firm, and smooth the skin.
DP Derm Exo-Skin Exosome Therapy ($299)
Skin regeneration is core to this product from DP Derm and has been used by dermatologists often following microneedling appointments. It can also be used from the comfort of your own home to reduce the signs of aging and rosacea.