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The next frontier in Skin Health!

exosome therapy skin regeneration stem cell therapy Jun 16, 2024

Who hasn’t heard about stem cell therapies curing disease, organs being grown in petri dishes, and 3D printing of crucial body parts? It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? These new therapies promise to cure diseases and help us live longer, healthier lives. But how do you know what’s real and what’s just hype?

What is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine is a cutting edge and rapidly growing field of medicine with a focus on repairing, replacing, or regenerating damaged tissues and organs. When it comes to skin health, regenerative medicine shows a lot of promise. It could help reverse hair loss, heal burns and scars, improve wound healing, and even slow down aging! What’s amazing about regenerative therapies is that they aim to fix the root causes of damage and aging by boosting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. While it might seem like these treatments are far off in the future, we actually have some regenerative medicine options available right now!

How Does Regenerative Medicine Benefit Skin Health?

 As we age, our skin changes: it gets thinner, loses elasticity, and develops fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. These changes happen because our bodies produce less collagen, our cells renew more slowly, and our skin becomes less hydrated. Regenerative medicine offers some great ways to tackle these issues:

1) Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

PRP therapy uses your own blood to rejuvenate your skin. Here's how it works: we draw a small amount of your blood and spin it in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These platelets are packed with growth factors, peptides, and exosomes, and when injected back into your skin, stimulate collagen production, improve cell turnover, and enhance overall skin texture and tone!

I love using PRP after microneedling, for rejuvenating the under-eye area, and even for encouraging hair regrowth on the scalp. Many of my patients have seen amazing improvements in their hair thickness and the glow and texture of their skin after PRP treatments. However, keep in mind that platelet quality can vary, so results might differ from one treatment to the next!

2) Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells have the unique ability to develop into virtually any cell type in our bodies, including skin cells. By harnessing stem cells, we can ideally promote the regeneration of healthy tissue, including skin. Currently, in the U.S., stem cell therapy is mainly approved for treating blood-related diseases. But it's a growing area of medicine that we'll likely hear more about in the future. Where the stem cells come from matters a lot. Our own bodies have them in places like skin and fat, but younger stem cells from sources like the placenta and umbilical cord are often preferred. There are ethical concerns about using embryonic stem cells, so they're not commonly used.

Stem cells have a lot of potential for treating different medical problems by replacing damaged cells. But we're still learning, so it's important to be cautious if someone offers you a 'stem cell' treatment for anything other than blood cancers in a medical setting.

3) Exosome Therapy

Stem cell therapy is a complex process that involves sourcing, harvesting, and extracting cells. Exosomes, on the other hand, are tiny vesicles that carry messages between cells. These messages can promote tissue repair and regeneration or they can carry harmful messages to cause cell death or even cancer! Exosomes in and of themselves are not good or bad, it's the message inside that matters.

In skincare today, exosome therapy involves using exosomes to boost collagen, improve skin hydration, and make skin healthier. Studies are ongoing to prove that these exosomes can really help the skin, which is very exciting! This can give you smoother, younger-looking skin and better overall skin health.

But exosomes are still new and only approved for use on intact skin, not injections. It's important to be careful, like with stem cell treatments. Not all exosome products are created equally though, it matters how they are sourced, extracted, and making sure that the product actually contains the message it says it does. An exciting study from Mayo Clinic did show that exosomes applied topically can penetrate the skin, attach to collagen, and promote collagen building. The science is here, but we now need studies testing different exosome therapies to ensure they work as intended!

In the future, we'll likely hear more about other types of regenerative medicine therapies. One example is Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T) is an innovative form of cancer treatment that harnesses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Another exciting area of regenerative medicine is gene editing therapies, where we can fix faulty genes and promote healthy ones. Lastly, there's 3D printing and tissue engineering, which can create new body parts and tissues. The future is certainly looking bright for these therapies!

Right now, a lot of these treatments are still being tested in labs, so before we jump into spending money on injections and IV treatments, we need to wait for more solid evidence. We're learning more every day, but there's still work to do to make sure these treatments really work well and are available for everyone. Keep an eye out because regenerative medicine is on its way to making a big difference in how we stay healthy and fight off aging!

Listen to this week's podcast episode where Dr. Saranya Wyles and I discuss what regenerative medicine is, current available treatments, and the future of regenerative medicine in improving skin health.

Reference:

Efficacy and Tolerability of Topical Platelet Exosomes for Skin Rejuvenation: Six-Week Results

Find Dr. Wyles here:

https://www.instagram.com/drwyles.derm/

https://x.com/drwyles_derm

 A new podcast episode drops every Monday!

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