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Understanding How Exosomes Tells Skin Cells How To React

An exosome is a nano (30-200nm), extracellular vesicle (a fluid filled structure enclosed by a lipid bilayer) found in fluid secreting cells. They can be thought of as tiny fluid-filled bubbles which are released by a cell. They are incredibly small and are approximately 1/100th – 1/1000th of the cell size they are secreted from.*1

What Are Exosomes?

Exosomes contain biomolecules including proteins, lipids and nucleic acids (naturally occurring chemical compounds that serve as the primary information-carrying molecules in cells). These include elements of ribonucleic acid (RNA). They act as shuttles or messengers from stem cells to other cells for certain genetic information and proteins.*2 The biomolecules found in exosomes harvested from mesenchymal stem cells, play significant roles in intercellular communication and promote tissue healing, regeneration and repair.*3  The cell-to-cell communication can be facilitated between near and distant cells.

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The factors found in exosomes are more important than the stem cell they are harvested from. It is these factors and growth factors which are responsible for regenerative and healing cascades.

How Exosomes Work

As a superior extracellular vesicle, exosomes can eliminate unnecessary, negative, and pro-inflammatory growth factors.

The carried information within exosomes promotes different functions and purposes that tell cells how and when to react.

mRNA, micro-RNA and growth factors are found in exosomes (as well as other agents including proteins)

The exosome penetrates into a cell

The cell readily accepts the exosome (mRNA and micro-RNA are naturally found in cell cytoplasm, so are not treated like invaders)

The ribosome recognises human RNA sequences

The ribosome translates RNA into an instructing protein

The message is converted and actioned

As an example:

An exosome contains mRNA for collagen production

The exosome penetrates into a cell

The ribosome recognises the human RNA sequence

The ribosome translates the RNA into a protein instruction for increased collagen production

The cell produces collagen

Contribution by Dr. Andrew R. Christie-Schwarz PhD, Paris (France)

Clinical Director, Equipmed Aesthetics
Global MedicalTrainer, DermapenWorld

Andrew is a skin-needling specialist with over 25 years’ experience in aesthetics. He has lectured in over 70 countries and has been invited as a key speaker at over 60 major congresses across the world. Andrew is an award-winning educator, KOL and author who has written multiple training manuals and material on micro-needling procedures, including “Advanced Innovations With Dermapen”. He trains over 50,000 medical practitioners each year and is considered a world authority on skin-needling and regenerative treatments. Andrew recently celebrated his 10th year as an ambassador for DermapenWorld and was featured in Neo Beauty Media’s (China) “People Of The Year”.

While we as Dp Derm do not work with him directly, he heads up the educational division and is the Global Medical Director for Dermapenworld. He hosts advanced training sessions all over the world on the DP4 and Dp Dermaceuticals products. Due to covid and lack of FDA on the DP4, he hasn’t completed any training events in the US in a few years, but he will be here in June for sessions in LA, NYC, and Miami.

Deeper Understanding Of Exosomes Function

In the skin, MSC-derived exosomes have been shown to enhance collagen synthesis, angiogenesis, cellular proliferation and to support wound recovery,*4

Umbilical cord-derived, Wharton’s Jelly-derived, MSCs and exosomes promote wound healing by speeding up wound closure, reducing cicatricial healing / scar formation, regulating collagen fiber distribution and supporting the regeneration of adnexa (skin appendages, including hair and sebaceous glands, nerves and blood vessels) via TGF- β receptor inhibition.*5  It is argued that only human MSCs-derived exosomes have been shown to activate the regenerative factors required to promote effective wound healing, rejuvenation and repair.*6 

The exosomes released by younger stem cells (such as umbilical cord blood derived), carry youth and health have been proven to be very powerful in regulating regenerative processes in the body. Subsequent rejuvenation, particularly of the skin can be activated and enhanced for maximized repair and correction.*7

Exosomes do not change the DNA of a cell. They are not gene therapy. Exosomes neither contain any active DNA or possess significant surface markers. This is why they can be easily used from patient to patient.

Exosomes may contain around 1,008 peptides, some 800 or more growth factors, 373 different types of lipids, proteins and cytokines. These include*8:

–  growth factors

–  cytoskeleton proteins (essential proteins for cellular processes)

–  heat shock proteins (stabilizing proteins produced in response to stress or  trauma)


–  miRNAs (microRNAs, a short segment of RNA that suppresses gene expression)

–  angiogenic factor (molecules which play a vital role in blood vessel formation)

–  targeting molecules (key molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids involved in metabolic pathways)

–  proton transporters (membrane proteins)

–  antigens (a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it)

–  transmembrane protein (proteins involved in cellular processes including signaling and transport

–  integrins (receptors that regulate cell growth, proliferation, migration, signaling, cytokine activation and cytokine release).*9

The new Dp Dermaceuticals MG-EXO-SKIN and EXO-SKIN revolutionize exosome therapy with in-clinic and patient homecare products. As exosomes are not cells, it is noted that their signaling lasts around 12hrs when applied to the skin topically. It is therefore paramount that patients apply the product twice daily for at least 3 months to support in-clinic procedures.

1 Tiryaki, Tunc, Research And Clinical Data On Exosomes In Aesthetic Surgery: Update, IMCAS Academy, recorded 08/07/21

2 Tiryaki, Tunc, Research And Clinical Data On Exosomes In Aesthetic Surgery: Update, IMCAS Academy, recorded 08/07/21

3 Cha, H., et al., Stem Cell-Derived Exosomes and Nanovesicles: Promotion of Cell Proliferation, Migration, and Anti-Senescence for Treatment of Wound Damage and Skin Ageing. Pharmaceutics, 2020. 12(12).

4 Hu, L., et al., Exosomes derived from human adipose mensenchymal stem cells accelerates cutaneous wound healing via optimizing the characteristics of fibroblasts. Sci Rep, 2016. 6: p. 32993. : Zhang, J., et al., Exosomes released from human induced pluripotent stem cells-derived MSCs facilitate cutaneous wound healing by promoting collagen synthesis and angiogenesis. J Transl Med, 2015. 13: p. 49. :Kim, S., et al., Exosomes Secreted from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Accelerate Skin Cell Proliferation. Int J Mol Sci, 2018. 19(10). : Han, C., et al., Mesenchymal Stem Cell Engineered Nanovesicles for Accelerated Skin Wound Closure. ACS Biomater Sci Eng, 2019. 5(3): p. 1534-1543.

5 Zhang, Y., et al., Exosomes derived from human umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stem cells stimulate regenerative wound healing via transforming growth factor-beta receptor inhibition. Stem Cell Res Ther, 2021. 12(1): p. 434.

6 Reactive Medical Labs, Youth Redefined – Leveraging Innovation In Stem Cell Exosome Research For Optimal Skin Health & Repair, Self-published, USA, 2021

7 Tiryaki, Tunc, Research And Clinical Data On Exosomes In Aesthetic Surgery: Update, IMCAS Academy, recorded 08/07/21

8 Felipe y Garate, Iñigo de; Exosomes In Treatment, IMCAS Academy, recorded 08/07/21. Irvine Duncan, Diane, Application Of Lyophilised Exosomes (Derived from Adipose Stem Cell) In Aesthetic Medicine, IMCAS Academy, recorded 08/07/21

9 Mezu-Ndubuisi, Olachi J., Maheshwari, Akhil, The Role Of Integrins In Inflammation & Angiogenesis, Pediatr Res. 2021 May;89(7):1619-1626. doi: 10.1038/s41390-020-01177-9. Epub 2020 Oct 7. PMID: 33027803; PMCID: PMC8249239.

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