They’re called exosomes and aesthetic experts are using them for a myriad of skin and hair-related concerns and seeing impressive results in cell regeneration, especially related to hair loss. This potent form of stem cell therapy includes growth factors that promote wound healing by activating a patient’s own regenerative cell response, enabling new blood vessels to form, helping to feed the cells. “In general, regenerative therapy is very, very new,” explains New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. “Even though we are trying to raise awareness in a lot of different levels, in terms of how they’re changing cosmetic medicine and how we’re treating the body, regeneration is really what we’re focusing on.”
For thinning hair, Dr. Russak says her patients are seeing new hair growing in areas they thought were gone for good and many say they wish they’d tried this approach sooner. “By the time you notice thinning, you’ve already lost 30 percent of your hair,” she explains. Here, Dr. Russak breaks down how she delivers these active ingredients into the scalp to awaken the follicle and stimulate hair growth when hair follicles “quit.”
What is the difference between platelet-rich plasma and exosomes?
“The biggest difference in terms of understanding the parallel between PRP and exosomes is that PRP is comprised of our own platelets taken from our own blood. We activate those platelets when we open them up and we extract growth factors and signaling molecules from them. Growth factors are the molecules that stimulate our bodies to regenerate. However, those growth factors may be weaker depending on our age and health status. Exosomes also contain growth factors and other signals for healing and regeneration, extracted from inside the cell, except that it’s from embryonic stem cells. Those cells are brand new and have the most regenerative potential possible.”
How can exosomes help with hair loss?
“Exosomes have signal molecules in them that stimulate regeneration. When we age, it’s not only the cells in the skin that age, but also the cells in the scalp and hair follicle cells that age. As the scalp ages, the hair follicles that produce the hair also age. Basically, as they start working less and less, they produce thinner hair until they give up completely. We call this slowing-down process senescence, and what we want to do is basically give them the energy or the boost by signaling them to perk up a little bit and start working harder. That’s the whole idea behind both PRP and exosomes regeneration.”
Does hair restoration therapy involve a series of exosome injections into the scalp?
“Yes, along with much more. Thinning hair can result from many different factors, which is why we firmly believe in a comprehensive approach to treating aging hair. We start by completing a wellness analysis for hair-restoration patients because the answer is not just injections of exosomes or PRP. We want to make sure that your body is in prime potential to receive the signal and begin regeneration. It’s extremely important to understand that the whole aging process doesn’t only happen on the outside but starts on the inside. If your body has slowed down metabolically and it doesn’t really work at the best of its capacity, what can we really do from the outside? We want you to be in the best condition to maximize results.”
What other treatments do you combine with exosome therapy?
“Our unique protocol, backed by clinical studies, combines platelet-rich plasma and exosome injections, diffuse microneedling, and topical and oral supplements. We also employ red LED light at a very low level as it has shown to be extremely useful in regenerative potential in wound healing. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach. We have a nutritionist and wellness coach on staff, so we really put together the whole regimen for patients because the reasons hair is not growing or falling out is different for everyone.”