Dr. Laila Hassan is an Aesthetic Physician. She’s also a laser therapist and an anti‐aging expert for the last ten years.
Exosomes are being called the next big breakthrough for our skin and hair. Stem cells has been used by doctors for years to help treat everything from multiple sclerosis to COPD. However, when it comes to aesthetics, PRP treatments for hair restoration and skin rejuvenation haven’t been as reliable, and the results aren’t consistent, as the quality of patients’ platelets varies based on age, health, and other factors. As such, the scientists return to the lab in search of the next best thing: Meet exosomes, the next generation of stem cell therapy. Exosomes are simply messengers. They are membrane-bound vesicles—or small bubbles—that are released from stem cells and naturally attracted to areas of inflammation. They carry growth factors and other anti-inflammatory, immune-supportive, and antioxidant elements to places that need them. An exosome is essentially a message from one cell to another. There are billions of types of exosomes in our bodies, and depending on which cells secrete those exosomes, and what state those cells are in—healthy, stressed, or dying—you can get dramatically different signals. There are established ways to derive exosomes from human platelets as a resource for tissue regeneration, including for use in aesthetic applications, such as hair loss and facial wrinkles.
The Difference Between Exosomes & PRP
Exosomes are more potent and reliable than PRP and PRFM (platelet-rich fibrin matrix). Both PRP and PRFM help speed up the wound-healing process by creating new skin cells, collagen, and blood but they are inconsistent, dependent on the patient’s age and condition, and contain only a few key growth factors. Exosomes are 100 percent consistent and contain 10 to 100 times more growth factors than PRP and PRFM. Moreover, exosomes are immediately available and do not necessitate drawing and processing any blood from the patient. The biggest difference between PRP and exosomes is that PRP is extracted from our own platelets taken from our own blood, but exosomes come from stem cells—from sources like fat, umbilical cord, or bone marrow and now multiple new advanced technologies.
Ways Exosomes Are Being Used in Aesthetics
Exosomes may have a big role to play in skincare, as they can employ their signal molecules to stimulate cell regeneration and boost collagen production. The advantage of using exosomes in skin care over stem cells is that they have extremely low immunogenicity with high hemocompatibility, meaning anyone can benefit from them.
I n recent years, PRP and PRFM have been a go-to for treating hair loss and thinning hair in-office, but exosomes are carving their path in this category, too. As we age, the cells in our scalp and hair begin working less and less, producing thinner hair until they give up completely. We call this slowing-down process senescence, and what we want to do is basically give the cells an energy boost by injecting exosomes and signaling them to perk up a little bit and start working harder. That’s the whole idea behind both PRP and exosome regeneration
Exosomes cause more hairs to be in the growth phase than the resting phase. Exosomes also increase dermal papilla cells in the hair follicle—the area of the largest growth in the follicle. Therefore, exosomes act as ‘nuclear PRP’ because they have much better results, and are quicker than PRP or PRFM. The earlier patients address their hair loss issues, the better chance they have of improvement and slower hair loss. There are excellent results when they’re injected. Exosomes are preferred over PRP for patients who have autoimmune diseases or autoimmune hair loss because they eliminate even the theoretical risk of worsening the condition.