Exosomes are quickly becoming a popular clinical therapy and topical ingredient in the medical esthetics market. But, what are they and how do they work? Join Ella and Maggie in this edition of ASCP Esty Talk as they discuss these efficient messenger cells and investigate where they come from and how they are incorporated in esthetic treatments.
ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman
Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.
About Ella Cressman:
Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.
She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.
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About Maggie Staszcuk:
Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist.
Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:
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0:00:08.0 Ella Cressman: Hello and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I am Ella Cressman, licensed aesthetician, certified organic skin care formulator, and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals.
0:00:19.5 Maggie Staszcuk: I am Maggie Staszcuk, licensed aesthetician and as ASCP's Education Program Manager.
0:00:25.3 EC: So Maggie, remember the other day when you ask me what are exosomes, and I had no idea?
0:00:28.8 MS: Mm-hmm, yeah.
0:00:30.0 EC: I know now. [chuckle]
0:00:30.8 MS: Oh, well, I'm excited that you're gonna share with us.
0:00:32.6 EC: Not only do I know, but I have a song, I'm gonna share it for the end because it's awesome.
0:00:37.4 MS: Cool.
0:00:38.2 EC: So, exosomes. And the reason I know now is because all of a sudden I see them everywhere.
0:00:43.4 MS: Yeah, they are trending.
0:00:44.1 EC: Trending big time. So I'm like, "What are these? They sound so scientific." So I looked it up. And what I found out is they're best defined as, "Extracellular vesicles that are released from cells upon fusion of an intermediate endocytic compartment." Hmm, that's easy.
0:01:02.4 MS: Wow...
0:01:09.7 EC: [laughter] Ah, noted. There it goes on, "These multi-vesicular bodies, MVPs, they bond with the plasma membrane." That sounds like a lot. So I had to dig deeper 'cause I get it kind of. Basically, they're this tiny little structure that is formed inside of a cell and contain some of the sales proteins like DNA and RNA. So, of course, we've heard a lot about RNA in the past few years, and exosomes, they get released into the blood or any other areas, and then they travel all around sharing messages, so what those messages are are different for different types of cells. They're in well intended cells, blood cells, and so on, and even in malicious cells like cancer cells. They are generated by every single type, and they carry nucleic acid, proteins, lipids and metabolites. What they do? They communicate long and far distances different things, they are attracted to areas of inflammation.
0:02:10.5 MS: And thrust in.
0:02:11.2 EC: Mm-hmm. So it's important to note that when we are looking at where these are used in the aesthetic industry, or in aesthetic treatments, or in aesthetic products. Basically, they're well-informed messengers and they're released from stem cells. So stem cells are something that we've heard a lot, and we're talking about human or a mammalian stem cells, not plant stem cells, just to clarify. And because they're attracted naturally to areas of inflammation, this is where they go and basically carry messages of growth factors and other anti-inflammatory or immune supportive antioxidants to where they need to be. So it's very important when we have wound, injury or perceived entry. And so when you're thinking about this, where would we see wounding, injury, perceived injury or inflammation?
0:03:03.8 MS: Well, it's like almost every treatment we do.
0:03:05.2 EC: Absolutely. Almost every condition that we have as well. Specifically when we're looking at rosacea, there has been some amazing advancements for exosomes and rosacea, amazing advancements for even keloiding, because if you look at the mechanism of repair in a keloid, it's basically off because it didn't get the right messages and it continues to not get the right reparative messages, so exosomes, they're using for that. We'll get into that a little bit more, but it sounds very, very, very similar to PRP.
0:03:38.3 MS: Yes.
0:03:39.9 EC: So PRP is Platelet-Rich Protein. What's the biggest difference between PRP and exosomes? Besides new technology [chuckle] is the exosomes are a more potent and reliable treatment therapy than PRP or PRFM, which is Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix. And those are used, both of them, all three of them are used to expedite wound healing process in order to create new skin cells, collagen and blood vessels. So this is why we've seen this quite often, PRP combined with micro-needling. The downside of PRP and PRFM is that those cells are unpredictable. So let's first talk about PRP. We know that that is drawn from our own blood, so I would come in, get a service, I'd have my blood drawn, it would be spun, separated, my PRP would be then applied, injected, whatever the therapy was. This is proven to be very beneficial or effective for knee pain, for example, but the mode is that these cells are going in and initiating repair, but they're the concentrated cells, so they're not carrying all the baggage of the years before. The problem with that is that they are also unpredictable and they would depend on my age, my health, and how many growth factors I have.
0:05:04.4 MS: Okay, interesting. And my perception always has been too that they're intended truly to heal and rebuild.
0:05:16.2 EC: To start anew. The stem cells would be the very basic building block of a cell. Exosomes, they come from stem cells, they come from fat, from bone marrow or from an umbilical cord and they contain many growth factors that signal regeneration, so it's an even more concentrated version of PRP.
0:05:36.3 EC: Hold that thought. We'll be right back.
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0:07:04.0 EC: Okay, here we go. Let's get back to the podcast.
0:07:07.4 EC: This is the part that I think is kind of interesting is where they come from, this is going to be controversial as far as exosomes. They come many times from embryonic cells, because those cells have the most regenerative potential, so platelet-rich protein would be the old, most unpredictable than stem cells, and then exosomes would be the most. They still have some dependency on agent health, but that's because the code that's written into them is going to be responsible for the quality of the message that comes out.
0:07:41.4 MS: I think that's really fascinating, and that whole concept of skin care ingredients coming from an embryonic source, if you will, is not new. That's been around for a really long time and definitely very controversial, but to get the most benefit, to your point, that's where they're sourced, right? You have one donated fetus and then they're synthesizing all those ingredients in a petri dish.
0:08:10.2 EC: Like plant stem cell.
0:08:11.1 MS: Yeah.
0:08:14.4 EC: So one donor, not requiring multiple donors. That donor is tested for quality of whatever their markers are, and then it goes forth from there. Would you use an embryonic exosome facial product?
0:08:30.7 MS: Yeah.
0:08:31.8 EC: You would?
0:08:32.2 MS: Yeah.
0:08:33.8 EC: I don't know if I would.
0:08:34.8 MS: Why not?
0:08:35.7 EC: That's a great question. [chuckle] I don't know, it just feels...
0:08:36.9 MS: Because of the source of those exosomes?
0:08:42.2 EC: Yeah, to be honest, because I would have to think about it and where did it come from. If I didn't know and it was just an exosome serum, yes, if it worked.
0:08:51.7 MS: But those exosomes are coming from a lab.
0:08:56.1 EC: Yeah, it's not... I'm not saying it's rational, I'm saying that's just my train of thought. And I don't know that I would be alone, and I don't know that you would be alone. I think there's probably... I also think if I was... Let's say I had a condition where I had bad scarring, a really bad burn, and I needed regeneration in a basal layer, I would not turn that down in a treatment, but in a daily thing, I think I would struggle back and forth with that.
0:09:23.0 MS: Yeah, I totally get that.
0:09:25.3 EC: And I think part of this was brought up when my dad had broke his hip, really, really bad, and he had to get donor graft bone, and I thought of all the things. And this is going off in a totally different tangent, but you have to... I guess for me to think about putting it on willingly everyday, I don't know, but...
0:09:41.9 MS: I think that it's one thing to say you need to have bone grafted and you're getting that bone from a donor, that's different from, "I'm gonna apply this cream for beauty purposes, and it is containing whatever that ingredient is, they came from the lab... Not the lab... " But in your mind, you're thinking, "Wow, the ingredients for this beauty cream came from an embryonic source, or it came from... " I don't know what, but some other human. It feels...
0:10:22.5 EC: Controversial?
0:10:24.1 MS: Sure. It feels controversial.
0:10:26.0 EC: I would think so too. So I'm gonna have to sit with that and think because I also think if it works, I would have to think really [chuckle] hard. And the way that they're using them now, they do have topical... There is topical skin care available with exosomes, and I imagine we're gonna see more and more and more of that, and maybe my position would change too, maybe. But basically, for topical skin care, there is like a few companies, most of these we're seeing in the medical market and then in clinic skin rejuvenation, like post deep peels or post micro-needling, similar to how they're using PRP. The other place that they're using this a lot is in hair restoration.
0:11:02.6 MS: Oh. Yeah, and I think I've actually heard that.
0:11:05.4 EC: And they're very successfully from what I hear, and I know you know that I struggle... I'm so afraid to lose my hair that this is something I would consider, for sure. So when we're talking about procedure versus daily use, I would absolutely consider a daily use hair product.
0:11:21.8 MS: Yeah. The keloid scar revision thing, that blows my mind. Because my perception has always been, if you're prone to keloids or if you have a keloid, kind of it is what it is. If you are attempting to remove that keloid, that's a wound and your skin is just going to re-grow more keloids, right?
0:11:40.0 EC: I think that is a great point. There's prone, and then there's people who get them. Some people have gotten them. This question came up when I was training overseas, and they were asking for certain contraindications, somebody had an appendix surgery and they're scar-keloided, but nothing else, there's no history of keloiding, there's no other presentation of keloids, and so they were worried about giving her a chemical peel, a mandelic acid chemical peel.
0:12:10.0 MS: Yeah.
0:12:11.0 EC: Fair enough. But when you were talking on our previous podcast about European standards, they're heightened, they're worried about everything, even like different conditions and such, so I had to do some research and I found that there are acquired keloids and susceptible keloids. I'm curious if this keloid scar revision is done for both, but if you think about keloid formation and that potential, hereditary potential, it's because there's a bad message being sent, "Grow a mountain," instead of, "Plant a field."
0:12:47.2 MS: Oh, I love that.
0:12:48.2 EC: And so growing of that mountain, that signal, that instruction, "Because we're under attack, we need it," the theory is, if we remove this and apply exosomes whose message is plant the field, then that's how it would come back.
0:13:05.3 MS: That is so cool, Ella.
0:13:08.1 EC: Yeah. Yeah, and they're having success with it. And I think they did a study with 64 different patients, and had success with all of them.
0:13:17.8 MS: Wow.
0:13:18.1 EC: Yeah. At any rate, you can research and research and research these and you can get down a rabbit hole, but let me tell you an easy, easy way to remember what exosomes do. Do you know I like reggae? It's like my favorite thing. One of my favorite things, after skin care. So there's a Bob Marley song, Exodus. And so in my head as I'm researching, I'm thinking of that song, I'm like, "Exosomes, messengers of the skin cells." So now you are welcome listeners, Maggie, you're welcome. Every time you hear that song, you will remember what exosomes do, and basically that is to enhance communication of proper function, whatever that may be. And the other part of exosomes that's cool is they help fill in for all skin cells, so healthy production of melanocytes, for dermal cells, and for keratinocytes. You are welcome.
0:14:17.4 MS: I love it.
0:14:18.7 EC: Now, listeners, we really wanna hear from you, what are your thoughts on exosomes? Be sure to let us know, slide into our DMs, comment on our social media posts, or send us an email at email@example.com. We want to know all the details. In the meantime, thank you for listening to ASCP Esty Talk. For more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Maggie or myself, or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes. And stay tuned for the next episode of ASCP Esty Talk.